KTM Railway

In 2011, the railway tracks that ran from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar were dismantled. I was one of the thousands of people who flocked down to walk the trail after train services stopped, before the tracks were removed. Most of the land along the tracks has not been developed yet though, and most of the structures are still standing.

KTM Railway Track 01
KTM Railway

KTM Railway
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2011

Construction for the main railway line in Singapore started at the end of the 19th century, and officially opened in 1903. The first section, running from Bukit Timah to Tank Road and passing by stations at Newton and Cluny Road, was opened on the first day of that year, and the Woodlands extension connecting Bukit Timah to Woodlands was completed 3 months later. Another extension from Tank Road to Pasir Panjang was completed in 1907. The line was then connected to Johore in 1923 when the Singapore-Johore Causeway was completed.

In 1932, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was completed, together with the West Coast line extension, while the Tank Road branch was officially closed on the same day. It was dismantled 4 years later. The Pasir Panjang branch was also closed around that period. The resulting railway line was similar to what we were familiar with prior to the closure in 2011.

There was also a Jurong branch line which opened in 1965 and closed in the 1990s.

King Albert Park Railway Bridge
Status: Found

KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Road Bridge 01
Railway Bridge at King Albert Park

I started my journey at King Albert Park, where one of the few iron truss bridges can be found. Similar bridges can be found at HIllview and Sunset Way.

KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Road Bridge 02
The iron truss bridge spans across Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road

From the bridge, the Bukit Timah Railway Station was just a short walk southwards.

KTM Railway Track 02
KTM Railway Track 04
KTM Railway

Bukit Timah Railway Station
Constructed: 1932
Status: Found
Conserved: Since 2011

KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Railway Station 02
Bukit Timah Railway Station

The original Bukit Timah Railway Station was opened in 1903 with the commencement of the first railway service in Singapore. It was located approximately at the currently vacant land along Upper Bukit Timah Road, across Pei Wah Avenue. The current brick building was constructed in 1932.

KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Railway Station 01
Bukit Timah Railway Station

The station became a passing station in 1940, and became an interchange station with the completion of the Jurong branch line. It reverted into a passing station after the branch line was closed, but a station master would still be on duty at the station to exchange tokens with passing trains.

KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Railway Station 04
The stand used for key token exchange
KTM Railway Track - Bukit Timah Railway Station 03
Bukit Timah station, located between Singapura Station (Tanjong Pagar?) and Woodlands Station

The building was gazetted a conserved building in 2011.

KTM Railway Track 03
KTM Railway

After the station, the line continued southwards through a forested area.

KTM Railway Track 05
KTM Railway Track 06
KTM Railway

Along the whole stretch of railway tracks were signs like this that indicate the distance between that particular location and Butterworth, Penang – the start of the railway line. The distance is recorded in km.

KTM Railway Track 07
773.25km away from Butterworth

Somewhere along this straight stretch of tracks was the original branch-off to Jurong branch line. It was somewhere near a pile of wooden sleepers.

KTM Railway Track - Jurong Branch Line 01
The pile of wooden sleepers, approximately where the Jurong Line branches off
KTM Railway Track 08
Meanwhile, the main line continues southwards

Holland Road “Bridges”
Status: Found

The railway track crossed under Holland Road twice. The first was under the stretch of Holland Road that leads to Holland Plain.

KTM Railway Track - Holland Road 1st Bridge 01
KTM Railway Track - Holland Road 1st Bridge 02
Holland Road, near Ewart Park

The track then passed by some private residential buildings before crossing under Holland Road again, near the junction with Bukit Sedap Road.

KTM Railway Track 09
Holland Road private residences
KTM Railway Track - Holland Road 2nd Bridge 01
KTM Railway Track - Holland Road 2nd Bridge 02
Holland Road, near Bukit Sedap Road

After Holland Road, the track went past buildings along Mount Sinai Lane and Jalan Jelita.

KTM Railway Track 10
The HDB flats at Ghim Moh can be seen at the far end
KTM Railway Track 12
KTM Railway Track 11
KTM Railway along Jalan Jelita

Former RJC Campus
Constructed: 1984
Status: Found

KTM Railway Track - Former RJC & DHS Campus 01
Former RJC Campus

Raffles Junior College was established in 1982, and moved from its temporary campus in Paterson Road to this campus along Mount Sinai Road two years later. At the end of 2004, the school moved to its current location in Bishan, next to its secondary school counterpart, Raffles Insitution, to pave the way for merger in 2009.

In December 2006, Dunman High School moved into this campus temporary while its campus at Tanjong Rhu was upgraded in lieu of its Dunman High Programme, its version of the Integrated Programme. The school moved back in December 2008. The campus is subsequently occupied by Raffles Girls Primary School, and will be the holding site for the new JC for IP students from Catholic High School, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School while their permanent campus at Sin Ming Avenue is being completed.

After passing by the campus, the railway tracks continued southeast. Private housings along Tan Boon Chong Avenue and East Sussex Lane stood alongside this stretch.

KTM Railway Track 13
KTM Railway Track 14
Private residences

I stopped my journey at Ghim Moh, near the Buona Vista MRT Station.

In addition to the above map of the stretch that I visited, I attempted to trace out all the major railway lines that used to run in Singapore. The trails are by no means exact or accurate, and are based on various sources that I have found.

File Last Updated: July 17, 2015

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5 responses to “KTM Railway

  1. From post: “In addition to the above map of the stretch that I visited, I attempted to trace out all the major railway lines that used to run in Singapore.”

    I would like to highlight a largely-forgotten railway line that is not traced out in your map. There was a KTM sideline that branched off from the main line near Jalan Kilang Barat (off Jalan Bukit Merah).

    If you zoom into Google Earth map, this expunged railway sideline corresponds to the (now formerly) green corridor branching northwards from behind the Cainhill Metrology building, crossing Jalan Bukit Merah, & extending along Alexandra Road (behind IKEA-Mercedes Benz stretch) towards Leng Kee Road & Rumah Tinggi.

    This railway sideline was constructed during the 1930s for military usage, but later served the Archipelago Brewery Company (ABC) from around 1950 onwards. Apparently, customs was conveniently located within the ABC bottling warehouse (ie. the spot where IKEA now stands) opposite the ABC brewing factory (ie. where AnchorPoint now is).

    Incidentally, this KTM-Alexandra line was involved in a train crash during peak-hour morning on 08 Mar 1979. An empty train heading towards Archipelago Brewery (aka Anchor Brewery after one of its beer brews) to pick up beer cargo crashed through the southern set of the railway barrier, & stopped in the middle of Jalan Bukit Merah. See: ‘Train Crash in Middle of Road’ (ST – 08 Mar 1979).

    The KTM-Alexandra line was expunged in 1983 during the construction of AYE, but the northern set of the railway barrier at the Jalan Bukit Merah entrance to the green corridor behind IKEA survived until July 2011.

    Unfortunately though, within 1 week of the KTM land handover to S’pore on 01 Jul 2011, bulldozers moved into the green corridor behind IKEA. The railway barrier separating the track from Jalan Bt Merah was demolished, followed by the removal of the trees & shrubs in the green corridor.

    By Sep/Oct 2011, Surbana has completed converting the bulldozed land into a parking lot, which stretches alongside Blk 3 to Blk 14 of the Jalan Bt Merah estate. This was reported several months later: ‘Old railway land converted into car park’ (CNA – 08 May 2012). As can be seen from the article’s photo, the parking lot is not well-utilized.

    Since Oct 2011, the remaining northern stretch of this KTM-Alexandra green corridor had been hoarded up for a new NParks development called Rumah Tinggi Neighbourhood Park. See: ‘Queenstown gets park on former KTM railway land’ (ST – 30 Oct 2011)full text.

    • Hi, thanks for the great info! I believe this is the railway barrier that you were referring to?
      https://maps.google.com.sg/?ll=1.286427,103.806054&spn=0.001456,0.002642&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=1.286523,103.806067&panoid=rci46ZqkK8Z_CFmY8YrdQg&cbp=12,22.65,,0,4
      (a part of me is glad that Google doesn’t update its street view regularly)

      A pity I didn’t get to explore that stretch before the car park was built. I even missed visiting the adjacent SAFRA building one last time before it got demolished.

      I’ve updated the Google map to include this railway line. Cheers!

      • @ Cardelo — Yep, your Google Map/ Street View link shows how one of the (now-removed & extinct) railway barriers along Jalan Bukit Merah looked like in 2009, with the old red signage.

        Subsequently, SLA replaced the red signage with the blue “State Land – No Trespassing, No Dumping. By Order” signage — as seen in this 26 Mar 2011 photo.

        I guess the railway barrier on the other side of the road was missing from the site, because it was never replaced after it was damaged in the 1979 train crash accident.

        Incidentally, the KTM-Alexandra line was in the news recently:

        Bid to save 18 grand old ladies (ST – 10 Jul 2013)
        Excerpt: {{{ The former Archipelago Brewery Company Brewmaster House at 368 Alexandra Road was established in the early 1930s by German businessmen and was one of the first commercial breweries in Singapore.

        It was located next to the Malayan Railway, which made it convenient to export the beer it produced. A two-storey bungalow – which served as the brewmaster’s office – is all that is left of the building today. }}}

  2. Hi Cardelo,

    I read your post, and I found that your knowledge about this is really wide, and really benefit me, and gain my insights.

    I would like to ask if you would like to let more audience to know more about the railway in Singapore. Currently, we are working on a MediaCorp Channel 5 series.

    My colleague is currently working on the research, and she would like to touch base with you to discuss more.

    Please contact my colleague at deborahchoo@tmvc.sg .

    Thank you.

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