SINGAPORE: By 2021, part of the 24km Rail Corridor from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands will be enhanced to give trail users a better experience.
This was announced by the government agencies spearheading the project, the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), on Saturday (Oct 21).
Landmarks along the 4km stretch from Bukit Timah to Hillview will be restored. For example, the conserved Bukit Timah Railway Station will be converted into a heritage gallery and visitor centre, while the public can rest and refill their hungry stomachs at an F&B outlet at the nearby station master’s quarters.
NParks and URA said this is in response to feedback from the public, who noted there are currently no such amenities along the stretch.
Following the handover of the railway land from Malaysia-owned Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad to Singapore authorities in 2011, URA has been consulting the community to find out how the area could be improved to meet their needs.
In 2015, a Request for Proposal was awarded to a Japanese company Nikken Sekkei to develop a masterplan from the ideas. And last year, the community, again, was sought out to refine those ideas.
Some feedback include making the Rail Corridor more accessible for people with disabilities, as well as more bite-sized activities for those who only want to experience part of the long trail.
One proposal is to restore the Hillview bridge, which was removed in 2011, so the public can experience the entire corridor without having to get off the trail and cross the road to continue their journey. Infrastructure like bridges and steel tracks will also be strengthened and protected.
There will also be lookout points along the stretch, as well as biodiversity enhancements. Guided walks will also be organised to familiarise people with the trail. Enhancement works will commence next year, and will be completed in phases by 2021.
This stretch of the Rail Corridor will also be part of a new islandwide curated trail. The Coast-to-Coast Trail spans 36km, connecting Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast through a series of parks and via the Park Connector Network.
The Coast-to-Coast trail will intersect another new NParks initiative – the Nature Park Network.
It is a 48km trail that links up nature areas in central Singapore, like the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. This aims to ease visitor pressure on nature reserves which are rich in biodiversity, while still allowing people to enjoy nature.
Channel NewsAsia understands that additional trails and connectors will be built to link up all the parks in the network.
From end 2018, visitors can explore the trail on their own using an app.
The public can share their thoughts at roving exhibitions, or online at nparks.gov.sg/railcorridor/share-your-thoughts until Dec 21.