October 19, 2011

The Pipeline Trail

The Pipeline Trail
The trail is the result of the passage of several pipelines that bring in water from Johor in Malaysia to Singapore. Three pipelines can be seen on the causeway joining the two countries continuing all the way to the Dempsey Road area. Most of the pipelines are buried with the ground above kept free from trees but covered with grass. Some sections are exposed when crossing streams/drains. These exposed sections can be seen in Google Earth.

The trail begins at Marsiling in a southerly direction to Farrer Road. Our walk took us from Marsiling to Rifle Range Road where we would divert through the Durian Loop (a former durian plantation) to check for durians. The length of the walk would be 12km.

We started our walk on the trail next to Woodlands St 41. As this street turned south we could see the trail as we walked along it. To access the trail we followed the well-trodden footpath next to the fence that was opposite block 413A. About 250m away we came across the first exposed pipes. One of these allowed us to walk on it to cross over the low lying area.

Start of the trail at Woodlands St 41
We stepped around a fenced-up area protecting control valves just before walking under the SLE heading south. After this, we noticed durian trees on our left. Again there was a slight delay to search for durians. We met a guy who had been waiting and was rewarded with three fruits which he claimed tasted good. He suggested we go further south near the highway crossing where there were plenty of fruits. We left him and continued southward. We believed that this guy was just trying to get rid of us.

First set of exposed pipes
The next set of pipeline crossing was about 400m from the SLE and were about 170m long. It was exciting walking across these. There was no danger walking on these as they were about 5 feet in diameter but a fall could be nasty.

Mandai Road
The approach to Mandai Road was steep but manageable. We crossed this road at the traffic light and proceeded back to the trail, but were blocked by fences. So we skirted along the access road to the BKE and spotted a footpath in the undergrowth. At the end of the path was the trail again but the area here being low-lying was muddy. There were bamboo poles lying on the ground. These helped prevent us from getting too dirty.

Up the slope of the trail we proceeded and were rewarded with a breath-taking view at the top of the hill. This spot overlooked the army transport base and the BKE ahead of us. We took a short rest here.

About 400m further, the pipeline crossed under the BKE, resuming its southward heading on the right side of the highway, as we looked south.

Looking towards KJE
There was a dirt road immediately after this with lorries carrying soil moving along it. I accidentally stepped into a drain that was overgrown with wild grass but except for some dirt and minor scratches was okay. About 1km further south we crossed under the KJE. Immediately after this was the Segar Road Estate. We had a break at a coffee-shop that was situated in the newly-built Zhenghua Community Club at the east junction of Segar Road and Bt Panjang Ring Rd.

Zhenghua Park
After the break, we proceeded south along the Ring Rd and rejoined the trail at the fence on the north side of Greenridge Sec School. The drop to the trail was steep so we relied on the fencing to support us as we climbed down the slope. There was the Bukit Panjang Park Connector parallel to the trail so we followed it instead as it was paved. The Park Connector Network is a series of track for hikers and cyclists usually along canals/parks linking parks in different parts of the island. After about 500m we arrived at the Zhenghua Park. There was a track that went under the BKE on the left leading to the Gangsa Bike Trail. We continued southwards along the track crossing the Bt Panjang Rd. Since leaving the school, we had been following the shaded paved track that parallel the exposed pipeline trail. 300m away we crossed Chestnut Ave. This is an access road for the pumping station at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Another 300m we crossed Dairy Farm Rd using a path that went under the road.

Zhenghua Park
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The track became the Belukar Track of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, part of the bike trail that ran along the border of the reserve. After 1km the bike trail turned right. This is where we left the bike trail and rejoined the pipeline trail that headed for Rifle Range Road. After crossing Rifle Range Road the trail followed the boundary of the Murnane Reservoir and on to Kg Chantek Road. We explored the Durian Loop to check for durians but we were too late in the season as there were no more fruits on the trees. We continued on to Kg Chantek Road and took a rest at the coffee shop at Binjai Park, then to Bt Timah Road where we took the bus for home.

Near Rifle Range Road

The Route
Map data ©2017 Google

See Also:
Pipeline Trail from Bukit Panjang to Woodlands
Admiralty Park to Sembawang
Woodcutter Trail
Woodlands Town to Bukit Panjang via Ulu Sembawang Park Connector 

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