Second golf club to make way for high-speed rail

The Raffles Country Club plot (above) is more than twice the size of Jurong Country Club, which will make way for the HSR terminus. The Raffles site will also hold a depot for the Cross Island MRT line.
The Raffles Country Club plot (above) is more than twice the size of Jurong Country Club, which will make way for the HSR terminus. The Raffles site will also hold a depot for the Cross Island MRT line.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Raffles Country Club land will also be used for MRT; site to be handed over by July 31, 2018

Raffles Country Club, a 36-hole golfing venue in the west of Singapore, will make way for a massive depot and stable for the upcoming Cross Island MRT line and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project.

The plot - the single largest to be acquired by the Government in recent years - is more than twice the size of Jurong Country Club, which will make way for the HSR terminus.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) served the 143ha club an acquisition notice yesterday.

The club will have to hand over the site owned by JTC Corp by July 31 next year.

The SLA and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) described the club site as "the most suitable location".

LTA deputy chief executive Chua Chong Kheng said: "Given its size and location, there really isn't any other option for us."

The HSR link between Malaysia and Singapore will take the form of a high bridge to be built west of the Tuas Second Link - a stone's throw from Raffles Country Club. The bridge will run 25m above the water for 3km across the Strait of Johor.

 

From there, the tracks will continue on a flyover across the Ayer Rajah Expressway onto Raffles Country Club, a plot measuring 2km end to end.

Within the existing club grounds, the tracks will go underground towards a passenger terminus on the site of Jurong Country Club.

The Raffles Country Club site will be able to house a spare HSR train, and will allow trains to cross from one track to the other when operations commence by the end of 2026.

To optimise land use, the LTA said a western depot for the upcoming Cross Island MRT line - slated to open in 2030 - will be built on the Raffles Country Club site too.

In addition, there are plans for a train-testing facility to be located there. Mr Chua said that such a facility will allow new trains to be tested more thoroughly before they are put into service.

Current testing is limited by the short time available between operational hours, track maintenance requirements and space constraints within existing depots.

The SLA said Raffles Country Club will be offered "compensation... based on market value".

The club's 30-year lease on the land expires on Oct 31, 2028. It has two 18-hole courses and about 2,600 members.

Some of them were taken aback by the news that the club would have to surrender its entire plot of land. "I was expecting only a portion of the land to be used for this development," said Ms Maria Teo, a retiree in her 40s who plays at the club four times a week.

The HSR spans 350km between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Express service trains will cruise at 300kmh, shortening land commutes between the two cities to 90 minutes, from four hours by car.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak sealed an agreement on Dec 13 to build the line, which is targeted to open by Dec 31, 2026.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Second golf club to make way for high-speed rail'. Print Edition | Subscribe