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The Wilder Side of The Rail Corridor

I have fond memories of the Green Corridor.  The first ever running event I joined was that eponymous run in 2014 that turned into a glorious mudfest all the way to the finish at the old Bukit Timah Railway Station.

Northern Rail Corridor – Bukit Timah Railway Station

I ran the route a few times more on later editions, on other events, at times on my own weekend long runs, until it closed in 2016 for the Murmane Project.

Northern Rail Corridor – Sharing the trail with riders

Via other trail events, I ran and saw parts of the upper half of this entire Rail Corridor, but it always veered out before Rail Mall, never beyond.  Wanting to explore, I covered this remaining part of the former KTM line that I had not seen yet.

(Full route run video below – Click Play button) 

The main reason why the lower portion (lets call it “lower RC” and the other “upper RC” ) is more popular, its a continuous stretch of 10K.  No road crossing so its safer, which made it the ideal place to hold events, and making it even more popular.

The location also lends to its popularity.  A part goes downtown.  The entire route is almost  surrounded by housing estates with easy access to the trails.  Its a place to escape for people living nearby.  For visitors, its easy to bail out to an HDB void deck, some nearby bus stop, or petrol station w/ a convenience store when things get too warm or challenging.

Northern Rail Corridor – Bukit Panjang road crossing

In contrast, upper RC have a few level crossings, so after the train tracks were removed you have to be careful crossing the road. In the case of Hillview, as the tracks were elevated and now gone, you have to go down one side, cross the road, climb back up the other side.  Then at Bukit Panjang, you need to go around Junction 10 and restart the trail via the lorry carpark.

Then further north, its the industrial areas Sungei Kadut and Kranji.  Not the most glamorous place of Singapore.

Northern Rail Corridor – Entering the forest

For me, upper RC got its charm.  There are the 2 railway bridge crossing over Dunearn and Upper Bukit Timah Roads, a favourite of Instagrammers.  Unlike lower RC which at times feel sunken and enclosed, upper RC is more open feels wider, yet still quiet and sheltered from the noise of cars from the main road nearby.  Feels greener, especially the part past Sungei Kadut Ave.

Wilder even as I encountered red junglefowls and hens before Sungei Kadut Ave, and 2 large wild boars after the creepy bridge near Kranji (kept a very safe distance).  Well, they’re actually getting more common around Singapore now.  I’d still rather see them than macaques anytime.

Northern Rail Corridor – 20km mark, past Mandai Avenue

We can only speculate how the Green Corridor will come out after the project completes.  We can only trust NParks to do their best to give us back an improved trail yet retaining its original charm as much as possible.

While waiting, spare some love for the northern half.

Northern Rail Corridor – Nature blighted by abandoned bike


This post first appeared on JustRunLah! - Running, Sports & Fitness In Asia, please read the originial post: here

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The Wilder Side of The Rail Corridor

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