Many people have explored the Singapore’s ‘Green corridor’ however few have ventured slightly further West to follow the route of the Jurong Railway line. The now defunct line was a freight route which used to connect the coastal warehouses at the Jurong Industrial Estate back to the mainline at Bukit Timah along a 9 mile route. It was opened in early 1966 and finished operating during the mid-1990s.
The railway proved to be a vital cog in the wheel that drove Singapore’s economic development following its separation from Malaysia in 1965. Regular cargo services brought raw materials form Peninsular Malaysia into Jurong. It was also responsible for the transportation of products to export to the rest of the world. A Straits Times article from 195 projected that two to three million tons of cargo could be moved a year, and train frequency was expected to be seven to ten trains a day.
I had read that the majority of the railway had been removed or had rusted away over the years, however I was keen to investigate (as ever with the temptations of subterranean delight.) Having sourced an old map of the route, I made a short trek from Pandan Gardens to the join the route as it headed Eastwards.
Within the overgrown vegetation the tunnel portal was barely visible. A small stream was flowing from within the tunnel and one had to dodge large puddles in order to move inside.
A sudden tropical downpour occurred just as we started the trip, which made things slightly wet and muddy.. but atmospheric and a little cooler!
The tunnel is perhaps 300 meters in length, with a corrugated steel lining and was constructed by Hong Guan Construction Engineering Co. Ltd. It remains pitch black inside except for the minimal amount of light entering through the overgrown portals at either end.
The other end of the tunnel was so overgrown that it was impossible to head out in that direction, thus we retreated back the way we came
We continued the journey along the line overground and a short while later found a section where the train tracks had been left in their place, the wooden sleepers slowly disintegrating the in the waterlogged terrain. This section passes through Kampung Sungai Pandan where community allotments lie next to the tracks.
An elegant steel truss bridge allows the railway to pass over the Ulu-Pandan canal, which is barricaded with signs warning people to keep off due to its rusty and structurally unsafe composure.
From here East, the route is met with overgrown vegetation that was impossible to pass, thus ending our journey short. In the future this will no doubt be opened up again by the government as a linear parkway and one will be able to complete the journey back to the rail corridor at Bukit Timah.
UPDATE: As of 2018, another tunnel along the line which runs beneath Clementi Road has been restored in conjunction with the newly replaced road above.
This tunnel is a lot shorter than the other one, and is completely blocked off by jungle at each end.