A section of the Central Rail Corridor in Singapore is being upgraded to include "biodiversity, heritage and recreation", after which it will be opened to the public. The 4 km stretch between Hillview and the Bukit Timah Railway Station will be enhanced from 2018, announced the National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
The announcement, made on Saturday, October 21, stated that the Rail Corridor will be transformed into a "major community node with a strong sense of history, distinctive landscapes and ample spaces for visitors to enjoy."
The enhancement work is expected to be completed by 2021, giving birth to an exhibition showcasing railway heritage structures, like the steel truss railway bridge along Upper Bukit Timah Road and a steel girdle bridge across Hindhede Road. The Butik Timah Nature Reserve, which is near this stretch, houses exotic animals like the Sunda scops owl and laced woodpecker.
The URA and NParks conducted surveys in 2016 to understand what the public wants in the trail. After taking a few suggestions, they have come up with community spaces, viewing desks and exhibitions. The preliminary design is being showcased at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre until October 29. Then it will be moved to nearby constituencies like Cashew and Ulu Pandan, reports the Straits Times.
Stretching from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar, the Rail Corridor was originally a railway track used for transportation between Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia returned this region to Singapore in 2011.
Now, the track is being converted into a heritage gallery where guided walks will be organised for people. This conservatory will be a part of an islandwide curated trail of 36 km, which connects Jurong Lake Gardens to Coney Island Park via the Park Connector Network. The park can be accessed by a mobile app or a DIY guide from 2018.
Singapore's Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee was the guest of honour at the Rail Corridor's plan launch. He also kickstarted the 'Friends of Rail Corridor' organisation, along with "recreational trails curated by NParks – the Coast-to-Coast Trail and Nature Park Network."
Singapore is known for being an environment-friendly nation, with parks and natural reserves to satiate nature lovers' cravings. Apart from the Railway Corridor (Central), other places to visit are the Bukit Batok Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Windsor Nature Park, Kent Ridge Park, etc.