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From Plans to Reality - Commencement of works for first Rail Corridor stretch, featuring biodiversity, heritage and recreation

  Published: 21 October 2017

The National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced today that enhancement works along a stretch of the Rail Corridor will begin in 2018. At the opening of an exhibition showcasing the preliminary design for Rail Corridor (Central), Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee also launched the Friends of Rail Corridor, and announced plans for new islandwide recreational trails curated by NParks – the Coast-to-Coast Trail and Nature Park Network.

Transforming the community’s aspirations into reality along Rail Corridor (Central)

Since 2011, URA has consulted the community widely on their aspirations for the Rail Corridor, and worked with design teams in a Request for Proposal exercise to develop the Concept Master Plan based on the community’s contributions. In 2016, URA organised a series of community exhibitions and workshops and reached out to residents and stakeholders in neighbourhoods near the entire Rail Corridor to seek their views on how the proposals can best meet their needs. The community’s feedback has been taken on board to refine the concept ideas for Rail Corridor (Central), and develop the preliminary design for this stretch. 

Rail Corridor (Central) is a 4 km stretch between the Hillview area and the conserved Bukit Timah Railway Station. It is a popular stretch known for its natural surroundings, railway heritage structures, and proximity to several nature and recreational attractions. The latest exhibition highlights how the community’s contributions have shaped its preliminary design. This includes the transformation of the former railway station area into a major community node of the Rail Corridor with a strong sense of history, distinctive landscapes and ample spaces for visitors to enjoy. 

The preliminary design for Rail Corridor (Central) has three key themes, which will guide enhancement works along this stretch:

  • Heritage and Culture: Sensitive enhancements to railway heritage structures and improved public access to these sites. 
  • Biodiversity and Greenery: Distinctive landscape experiences for visitors, and strengthened ecological connection between green spaces.
  • Recreation: An inclusive hub with open spaces that cater to a range of recreational activities and needs of different users.
    (See Factsheet A [PDF, 1.9MB] for more information on the preliminary design for Rail Corridor (Central).)

The public exhibition will be held at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre until 29 October 2017, and will rove to the neighbouring constituencies thereafter. The public can share their views on the preliminary design at the exhibition or online at https://www.nparks.gov.sg/railcorridor/share-your-thoughts from today to 21 December 2017. NParks will also be organising a series of volunteer-led guided walks along Rail Corridor (Central) in conjunction with the exhibition for the public to learn more about its biodiversity and greenery, heritage and preliminary design. (See Annex [PDF, 185kb] for more details on the exhibition and guided walks.)

Agencies will study the comments and further improve the proposal before commencing works. Enhancement works for Rail Corridor (Central) are expected to start in 2018, and will be completed in phases by 2021, with trail enhancements to be completed first by end-2019. At the same time, there will be track improvements along the 24-km Corridor, so that visitors can look forward to experiencing continuous connectivity along the entire Rail Corridor by 2021 (except Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, which will only be re-opened in 2025 with the new Cantonment MRT station).

Friends of Rail Corridor to drive active community stewardship

Minister Lee also announced the formation of the Friends of Rail Corridor, a new group that will collectively shape the Rail Corridor, and cultivate stewardship for it as a shared community space. 

As part of NParks’ Friends of the Parks scheme, the Friends of Rail Corridor community will comprise members from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about the Rail Corridor, such as nature, heritage and recreational groups, as well as academics, students and residents staying near the Corridor. This will be a platform for them to drive ground-up initiatives and community-organised activities to activate spaces along the Rail Corridor, and work closely with agencies in community infrastructure and landscaping works. Members of the public who are interested in contributing towards the transformation of the Rail Corridor can sign up online at https://www.nparks.gov.sg/railcorridor/be-our-friend. (See Factsheet B [PDF, 315kb] for more information on the Friends of the Parks scheme.)

New islandwide trails by NParks

NParks also announced new islandwide curated trails which intersect with Rail Corridor (Central) to provide even more recreational options for visitors. 

The Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Trail is a 36-km trail that spans across Singapore. Stretching from Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast, it will take users through a variety of parks, park connectors, nature areas, places of interests and urban spaces. From end-2018, visitors can choose to explore the trail on their own using a DIY trail guide or mobile app, or participate in activities and programmes organised along the trail that engage visitors through experiential and interactive features, such as interesting wayfinding signs, fun game stations, and viewing areas to spot wildlife. 

Rail Corridor (Central), together with part of the C2C Trail, completes the Nature Park Network (NPN). The NPN comprises 48 km of trails and links up the central nature parks. It will help ease visitorship pressure on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by providing the public convenient recreational access to a large number of nature parks around the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Visitors can follow curated trails of varying difficulty to explore green spaces in the heart of Singapore. A DIY Trail Guide for the NPN will also be available by end-2018, together with the C2C Trail Guide. (See Factsheet C [PDF, 1.8MB] for more information on the new NParks trails.)