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Development plans for railway under review

URA and SLA's Reply

Development plans for railway under review

29 Jul 2011, TODAY

We refer to the letter from Mr Liew Kai Khiun, "A temporary park connector?" (July 21)

As agreed with Malaysia, Singapore has to remove the railway tracks and ancillary structures along the former KTM railway line, and hand them over to Malaysia by Dec 31.

This is a very tight timeline, given the extensive work required: The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has to remove 26km of railway tracks in five months. The SLA started removal works on July 18.

During the removal work period, as far as possible, existing tracks are used as access routes for heavy vehicles to move in to disassemble and remove the railway tracks and ancillary structures.

Where this is not practical, the SLA has identified, in consultation with NParks, additional access routes that have minimal impact on existing vegetation and undergrowth.

After the completion of removal works, the contractors will reinstate and turf the terrain.

For safety reasons, we have to restrict public access to areas affected by ongoing work. The rail corridor will be reopened to the public after removal works have been completed and the area ascertained to be safe for public access. More information on the reopening will be provided later.

As for the development plans for the former railway lands, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is carrying out a comprehensive review which will also take into account the plans for the surrounding areas.

As part of its review, the URA will study the possibility of marrying development and greenery, such as applying innovative strategies to maintain a continuous green link along the rail corridor without affecting the development potential of the land.

The URA welcomes feedback and ideas from the community in shaping the future development plans for the railway land, and we thank Mr Liew for his suggestions.

Members of the public are invited to visit and provide their ideas at

Lee Seng Lai
Director Land Operations (Private) Division
Singapore Land Authority

Tan See Nin
Director (Physical Planning)
Urban Redevelopment Authority




A temporary park connector?

21 Jul 2011, TODAY

For the last fortnight, Singaporeans from all walks of life have been enthusiastically walking along the now defunct section of the Malayan Railway (KTM) route.

Among them have been ministers such as Brigadier-General (NS) Tan Chuan-Jin and Mr Khaw Boon Wan, who impressed with the possibility of conserving the route as a promising "Green Spine" and have urged the public to come forward with feedback.

However, even as many would like to contribute their ideas towards this concept - which may take years to evolve, according to BG (NS) Tan - several concerns have been raised about public access to this route as well as to the existing historical and natural features along it after the end of this month.

At the moment, the Tanjong Pagar station and its surrounding lands have been closed to the public by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), disappointing many walkers who thought they could start their journey from the southern tip of the route.

The SLA has also kept silent about whether any construction and redevelopment work would be undertaken that may potentially threaten the existing natural environment and compromise the heritage around the premises.

While we from the Heritage Society and the Nature Society understand the issue of public safety and that of protection against scrap metal thieves and souvenir hunters, we believe the authorities can still make arrangements to keep the entire route open for the public to enjoy the place while discussions are in progress.

In addition, we hope that any temporary and makeshift construction and demolition work will be minimised, especially on thick natural vegetation along stretches from Holland Road to Bukit Timah Station as well as at the religious shrines and gardens that people around the vicinity have built and planted over the years.

It would be a waste if the entire stretch of the route gets boarded up from next month and Singaporeans return possibly to an altered and damaged landscape when these barriers are lifted.

With perhaps minimal improvement work to facilitate public access and some accommodation for safety considerations, we believe the former railway line can be an instant and temporary park connector for Singaporeans for the next few years while plans for its use are being finalised.

Letter from Liew Kai Khiun