SINGAPORE - A stretch of the Rail Corridor, spanning about 4km, has been reopened after about two years of enhancement works. Called the Rail Corridor (Central), it features two aspects that Singaporeans have come to love about the trail - nature and heritage. The stretch now has eight designated access points for the public, including two which are wheelchair-accessible.
Here are some of the improvements.
1. Restored truss bridges
Laser scanning technology was used to map the position of various track parts, to ensure each part would return to the correct position after drainage works were completed. A bed of stones around the track was also relaid and bound to form a continuous and relatively flat path to make the bridges safer to walk on.
2. New access points
To make the trail accessible to the public, eight access points have been opened, including a flight of steps right next to the Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge. Where possible, the access points were also made wheelchair- and pram-friendly, such as at Hindhede Drive and Mayfair Estate. Previously, visitors had to make their way across uneven slopes and overgrown vegetation to access the corridor.
3. Singapore Quarry Bridge
The bridge once linked the quarry to old Ford Factory area. Today, it allows visitors to enter the Rail Corridor from Dairy Farm Nature Park. It was left unpainted to retain a weathered look.
4. Hindhede Bridge and Underpass
A new underpass for pedestrians was built at Hindhede Drive after feedback from the public. The 3.6m-wide underpass, under an old rail bridge, was built parallel to Hindhede Drive so that pedestrians accessing Bukit Timah Nature Reserve would not have to walk along the road, which has no pavement.
Some non-native plants, which include albizia trees, were removed, while more than 1,500 native trees and shrubs like the red tree shrub and common senduduk were planted. The native species will attract insects and birds, and allow the corridor to serve as a passageway for fauna.
6. Strengthened trail
The 4.5m-wide trail has been strengthened and sloped to allow rainwater to drain to its sides. Previously, the trail would become muddy and water logged after a downpour.
Porous materials that allow rainwater to seep into the ground quickly were used at points closer to urban areas, thus minimising the need for new drains to be built, while retaining the natural look of the area.
7. Freshwater stream
A freshwater stream was retained and is home to aquatic species like the black-eyed litter frog and lowland freshwater crab.
8. Reflector poles
Night lighting was minimised along the trail to avoid disturbing animals, and reflector poles are used to guide visitors instead.