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Rail Corridor
Photograph: NParks

The ultimate guide to the Rail Corridor in Singapore

The central stretch of the Rail Corridor is the most accessible and walkable part – here are some of the best things to do and see there

Cam Khalid
Written by
Cam Khalid
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Beyond the skyscraper-filled concrete jungle, there’s a plethora of flora and fauna thriving in Singapore. With many parks and nature reserves dotted around the Garden City, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to exploring the great outdoors.

If you’re looking for more trails and ways, great news: the central stretch of the 24-kilometre-long Rail Corridor (aka the Green Corridor) has officially reopened after two years of enhancement works. The four-kilometre stretch features restored landmark bridges and elements such as new entry points including two that are wheelchair-accessible and a pedestrian underpass. 

Besides its lush natural landscapes, the Rail Corridor is also known for its rich heritage. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway line was used for commuting and transporting goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay peninsula. But in 2011, Malaysia returned it to Singapore, and another form of travelling takes place – hiking.

Before the enhancement works, hikers had to brave the uneven slopes, overgrown vegetation, muddy puddles to get through the Rail Corridor. Now, the trail has been enhanced for easy access. Other highlights to look forward to include the sensitive restoration of landmarks like the Bukit Timah Railway Station and two steel truss railway bridges, lookout decks to soak up nature’s beauty, and paths to immerse in the rainforest experience.

To make the most of your journey through the Rail Corridor, we’ve mapped out the best bits to see and do along the way.

RECOMMENDED: The best hiking trails in Singapore and the best outdoor spots in Singapore to admire nature from above

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Panjang

Start Hillview MRT Station

Located next to the Rail Mall, the Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge dates back to 1932, and remains the only Pratt truss bridge in Singapore. The Pratt truss design features a single tension diagonal in each panel and a compression vertical with parallel chords and an inclined end post. 

As part of the restoration, rotten timber sleepers were replaced, gaps were sealed, and new protective layers and railings were added to make it extra safe. Ballast stones around the track were also relaid. Instead of trains chugging by, expect to see pedestrians and cyclists crossing it. Plus, the bridge also makes for an industrial-style Instagram backdrop.

Coming soon The 9 Mile platform next to the bridge will be sheltered and fitted with toilets by 2022. It’s set to be a spot where visitors can meet up – or take that much-needed toilet break.

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Panjang

From Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge

Head towards the south of the Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge before making your way to a foot bridge better known as Singapore Quarry Bridge which traverses above the main pathway. The bridge then takes you to a forest path which leads to Dairy Farm Nature Park. 

The 63-hectare park is set in a rustic environment with multiple trails for hiking and biking. The main trail is paved, so you don't have to rough it out Bear Grylls-style. Make your way to the Wallace Education Centre for hands-on activities and exhibits that tell the story of Dairy Farm’s changing landscapes. Keep a lookout for the striking red and yellow heliconias as well as the monkeys, pangolins, and butterflies along the way. 

For a chance to spot rare species of dragonflies and the critically endangered birds known as Little Grebe, head towards the scenic Singapore Quarry at the park’s south-western end.

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  • Things to do
  • Bukit Panjang

From Dairy Farm Nature Park

Another way to access Singapore Quarry is via the paved road from Singapore Quarry Bridge. A popular spot for birdwatchers and nature photographers, the quarry is now a huge lake where you can spot rare birds, fishes, turtles and even monitor lizards if you're sharp. There’s also a spacious viewing deck at the side of the lake where you can observe dragonflies flitting over the water, and admire the cliff walls from a distance.

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Panjang

From Singapore Quarry

This nature reserve is renowned for having one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world. Besides housing hundreds of animal and insect species, it also contains more tree species than the whole of North America. Weekends are busy with walkers, nature lovers, and mountain bikers, so come on a weekday if you prefer a quiet trek. 

There are four walking trails. A steep paved path takes you directly to the peak, but more interesting are the unpaved trails; Route 3 (green) follows a winding forest path, past caves used by Japanese soldiers in World War II. After the hike, head to the adjacent Hindhede Nature Park to look at the quarry lake.

Coming soon Located south of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the 67-hectare Rifle Range Nature Park will serve as an alternative spot to connect with nature, as well as a buffer to reduce edge effects on the nature reserve. Aerial rope bridges and underground culverts will be installed to help animals make their way to neighbouring parks safely.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Bukit Panjang

From Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

For a leisurely hike with the family, Hindhede Nature Park located next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has easy trails and well-defined footpaths perfect for families, children and hiking beginners. Scenic and serene, it is also an excellent spot for wildlife watching as it is home to inhabitants like the banded woodpecker, clouded monitor lizard and plantain squirrel – so it pays to keep your eyes open when taking a walk. The main highlight, of course, is the picturesque Hindhede Quarry which is located at the end of the park.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Bukit Panjang

From Hindhede Nature Park

Jump back to the Rail Corridor via the new underpass built at Hindhede Drive. Located under an old rail bridge, the 3.6-metre-wide underpass is set up parallel to Hindhede Drive so that pedestrians can access Bukit Timah Nature Reserve without having to walk along the road which has no pavement.

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  • Things to do
  • Bukit Timah

From Hindhede Drive

The 45-metre-long steel bridge first opened in 1932, and together with Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge, it was gazetted for conservation in 2015. The Bukit Timah Truss Bridge is the only Baltimore truss bridge in Singapore, and similar to the Pratt truss, it has additional bracing in the lower section of the truss.

Both truss bridges have been restored, refurbished, and reopened with new safety features installed. A good thing too as it’s also one of the most popular spots for taking photos and catching the stunning sunset or sunrise.

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Timah

From Bukit Timah Truss Bridge

While we love the modernity of MRT trains and stations, there’s nothing quite like the charm of an old-school railway station. Despite being in Singapore, the Bukit Timah Railway Station was owned by Malaysia from 1903 to 2011 when it was returned to Singapore and gazetted as a conserved building. 

While you can walk or sit on the tracks without worrying about any oncoming trains, the railway station itself is off-limits as it’s currently undergoing a facelift. It’s set to become a heritage gallery, with the Station Master’s Quarters turning into a F&B site. Railway artefacts will also be restored and adapted for reuse. In the meantime, you can strike a pose next to the weathered station sign or the building’s old-school facade.

Coming soon A heritage gallery and a F&B site.

Explore the neighbourhoods nearby

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