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Bukit Timah Railway Station

On 11 June 2011, the Nature Society of Singapore organised a walk along the proposed Green Corridor which aims to preserve the historic significance as well as the nature surrounding it after the KTM railway line ceases operation come 30 June 2011.

Being avid photographers interested in historic/old places, a friend Gilbert and I decided to join the walk and take some photos as the fate of the place will be unknown when it’s decommissioned.

Organised by Eugene and led by Margie Hall of the NSS, the walk takes us through the Bukit Timah Railway Station, Clementi Woodlands and ending at Old Holland Road. More than 80 people joined the walk.

At the start of the walk, Margie explained to us the brief history of the station and the railway line.

Margie Hall from the Nature Society of Singapore (in white T-shirt and vest) briefing the participants of the walk.

Soon after, a train pulls over at the station to exchange tokens. The KTM still uses the old token system at this station whereby the train driver will receive a token from the station to give them the authority to travel along the track. Unfortunately we are not near enough to the station to photograph the process, hopefully we get to have another go before it closes. The train moves on after the token exchange towards Woodlands.

After exchanging tokens, a KTM train continues its journey northwards to Woodlands.
A train worker waves a green flag on the way to Woodlands after leaving the Bukit Timah Railway Station.

Walking along, we were soon greeted by this old sign for the station nestled among the plants.

Bukit Timah Railway Station Signboard

Opened in 1915, the station itself is a quaint little red-brick building. It’s now gazetted as a conserved building on 27 May 2011.

Bukit Timah Railway Station Building

Here’s another view of the station building and railway tracks towards the north.

View of the Bukit Timah Railway Station and tracks towards the north.

Opposite the station building, across the tracks lie the workers’ quarters, where the railway works rest/sleep at the end of the day.

Railway workers' quarters

Within the station building is the manually operated signalling room consisting of many levers which controls the routing of the train tracks as well as the signalling to the trains.

The signal room of the Bukit Timah Station contains many levers and a status board.
Rows and rows of control levers. The ones marked with the tags will be transferred to a museum in Malaysia when the station stops its operations on 30 July 2011.
The very friendly station master Hashim explaining the usage of the levers and how they work.

One of the participants of the walk asked if she could try her hands on operating a lever and to our surprise, she can. It looks very easy but actually takes a lot of strength to operate it.

A lady tries her hands at operating one of the signalling levers while another takes a photograph.

Interestingly, while most of the building looks quite alright, the north wall of the building looks quite dilapidated and in need of restoration. I’ve rendered this shot as B&W to bring out the old look.

North wall of the Bukit Timah Railway Station

Hashim also explained to us the token system and showed us how the token machines inside the office work. Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside. Before we left, we asked Hashim’s permission to take a portrait of him.

Hashim, the station master

After thanking Hashim, we moved along, following the track southwards. By then, the group has moved very far ahead. Along the way, we took more pictures.

A rail signboard which has stood the test of time.
Abandoned pieces of wood which were probably used as part of the railway tracks.
Railway Track

Along the way the track has to cross a canal, and we saw that a nice little brick culvert was built for this to happen. It was almost covered in undergrowth.

A culvert lets the train pass over a canal.

We eventually caught up with the rest of the group near the end of the walk, where there is a bend in the  railway track.

A curved section of the railway track near Holland Road.

The walk ended along Old Holland Road which is across a bridge overlooking the railway track.

View of the railway track from a bridge along Holland Road.

The walk has been quite an eye opener for both of us. We hope to come back for a few more shots before it’s officially decommissioned. Thanks to Eugene and Margie for organising the walk.

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