August 24, 2013

Walking the Green Corridor Former KTM Railway Track

Near Jalan Jelita
KTM Railway Track
We witnessed the last afternoon run of the KTM train from Singapore to Johor Sentral in 2011. That was a nostalgic ride. The cabins were full and passengers were hanging out to wave to passersby like us who were walking the track. One of us almost got knocked down as he underestimated the width of the carriage vis-a-vis the track. It was time to revisit the former KTM railway track now called the Green Corridor or the Rail Corridor.

Near Biopolis
So what has changed. The metal tracks and sleepers are gone except those at the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah Stations and the iron bridges near Rifle Range Road and The Rail Mall. The bridge across Hillview Road was removed and also those at Junction 10 and the Mandai River.

Now the former railway track is more a grass covered trail for hikers and cyclists to travel along as they enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

We walked the Green Corridor in two stages. The first one was from Bukit Timah Station southward to Tanjong Pagar Station and the second from Bukit Timah Station northward to the Mandai River. At the Tanjong Pagar Station a fence just after the Kg Bahru Flyover prevented us from reaching the station.

Cyclists on the trail
Bukit Timah Station to Tanjong Pagar Station
The day we walked this trail was Hari Raya, a public holiday. We expected and saw more hikers, runners and cyclists then usual but it was still generally quiet. The trail condition was dry except for a few wet patches but nothing to complain about. The obstruction by vehicles reported in the news forum were now cleared. There was planting of some young trees along the side to hide the road traffic so there were some construction vehicles around.

Because of the overcast sky providing cool weather, we were motivated to walk all the way from Bukit Timah Station (near the iron bridge across Bukit Timah Road) to Alexandra Village Food Centre without a break. We left the trail near Block 1002 to get to the food centre. After that we continued on to the end of the trail just before the Tanjong Pagar Station. Access to the station was blocked by a fence to prevent vandalism. We left the trail at a path just next to the Kg Bahru Flyover and headed for the New Bridge Road Bus Terminal to take the bus home.

Bukit Timah Bridge
Bukit Timah Station to Kranji
Again we started off from the iron bridge across Bukit Timah Road and walked along the trail that borders the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. This is the most 'close to nature' part of the trail due to its nearness to the reserve and wildlife knows no boundaries. As we walked along we could hear the calls of the birds and see the flitting of the butterflies and the foliage growing closer to us.

Very soon we passed the bridge near the Rail Mall and had to descend to road level at Hillview Road as the bridge over this road was removed. We found a path on the left that led us down (see GPS track below) then we crossed the road and accessed the trail again on the other side. One could either climb up the steep slope from the road or walk around the slope to the right to get to a more gentle path to the trail.

Cut Lallang
The lallang had grown taller to man-height and resembled a corn field. Luckily we came after they did some pruning so our path was unobstructed.

At Junction 10 we had a break then proceeded to walk the rest of the trail. We returned to the trail through the heavy-vehicle park north of Junction 10. The heavy-vehicle park is separated from the trail by a drain and vegetation but there are several places where one can get through.

Mandai River Bridge
We were stopped at the Mandai River. Here they built a dormitory for foreign workers on the bank of the river and there is a brightly coloured bridge that allowed workers to access Woodlands Road. We made use of this to get to Woodlands Road, then turned right toward Kranji station from where we took the train home.

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