Take a peek at plans for Rail Corridor by 2021

Enhancement works along the corridor between the Hillview area and Bukit Timah Railway Station will start next year, said NParks.
Enhancement works along the corridor between the Hillview area and Bukit Timah Railway Station will start next year, said NParks.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

By 2021, visitors trekking a stretch of the Rail Corridor will have a walk down memory lane when a 4km portion of it is spruced up.

Enhancement works along the corridor between the Hillview area and Bukit Timah Railway Station will start next year and be done in phases, the National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said.

The stretch, named Rail Corridor (Central), will retain its rustic vibe, based on preliminary plans unveiled yesterday by NParks and URA.

Visitors will be able to soak in nature and take in sights of former railway structures, such as the old steel truss railway bridges.

The plans include amenities such as a heritage gallery-cum-visitor centre and community lawns, as well as a stopover point with some refreshments.

Visitors will also be able to spot wildlife, including birds like laced woodpeckers or striped tit-babblers, from viewing decks. The trail will be also be planted with understorey vegetation such as ferns and shrubs.

The preliminary plans for Rail Corridor (Central) are on display at an exhibition at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre till next Sunday. People can give their feedback on the plans online on the NParks website from now until Dec 21.

The plans were drawn up following consultations between the Government and residents, trail users, and nature as well as heritage groups last year.

VAST POTENTIAL

These spaces do not serve merely as a respite from our urban landscape; there is immense potential for these spaces to be a repository of shared memories and experiences, and to connect communities.

MR DESMOND LEE, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development.

The agencies said yesterday that they will study the comments and improve the proposal before commencing works.

The 24km-long Rail Corridor stretches from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. It was formerly a railway line used for commuting and transporting goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay peninsula.

It belonged to Malaysia but was returned to Singapore in 2011 - providing an opportunity for the authorities to turn it into a space for the community.

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, was guest of honour at the launch of the preliminary plans for Rail Corridor (Central).

"Singapore is a city in a garden that is committed to integrating greenery with our urban landscapes through careful, intentional planning," he said.

"These spaces do not serve merely as a respite from our urban landscape; there is immense potential for these spaces to be a repository of shared memories and experiences, and to connect communities."

Mr Wong Yuen Lik, a resident of Fuyong Estate, which borders the stretch of the Rail Corridor, welcomed efforts to spruce up the area.

"People should be able to visit the place for more than just the greenery," said the 46-year-old adventure consultant.

He hopes a heritage trail can be added within the Fuyong neighbourhood to showcase its history.

"Other than heritage structures, they should also be able to have a look at living history - the Fuyong Estate is the only residential estate located nearby," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 22, 2017, with the headline 'Take a peek at plans for Rail Corridor by 2021'. Print Edition | Subscribe