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Rail corridor to offer recreation nodes, connectivity

SINGAPORE — Under the concept plan for the Rail Corridor, a 16ha site in Choa Chu Kang will be transformed into a housing site, with up to 3,000 units in a forest-type environment. The former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will turn into a community building for the next two decades.

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SINGAPORE — From community farms and fishing ponds near Stagmont Ring and Pang Sua Canal, to a yoga spot and climbing wall near a Pan Island Expressway viaduct near Mayfair Park, the future Rail Corridor will offer a variety of recreation options to the estimated one million people living nearby, as well as other leisure seekers.

As for a 16ha site in Choa Chu Kang that falls along the stretch of former Keretapi Tanah Melayu railway line, it will be the testbed for a future housing concept — providing 3,000 units — that is integrated with a forest-type environment. The former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, meanwhile, will be a multi-functional community building for the next 20 years.

These are the winning ideas of the two design teams that were awarded the Rail Corridor Request for Proposals today (Nov 9), as Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong also announced the proposed conservation of two steel bridges along the Rail Corridor.

Stagmont Ring - Before


Mayfair Park PIE Viaduct - Before


Queensway Viaduct - Before


The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) awarded the overall concept master plan to the team comprising Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei and local landscape firm Tierra Design for its ability to strengthen the Rail Corridor’s identity, connectivity, landscape and heritage. Another design team, from MKPL Architects and Turenscape International, is behind the concept designs for the Choa Chu Kang site and the former railway station.

URA chief executive Ng Lang, who chaired the panel evaluating design proposals, said the winning teams collectively presented a “compelling vision” and captured what the community wants for the Rail Corridor — an inclusive space providing seamless connectivity, offering a range of creatively designed nodes for recreation. They also offered ideas on sensitively integrating future developments with the Rail Corridor.

The winning overall concept master plan proposed creating 122 access points along the Rail Corridor that are within a five-minute walk from the nearest housing estate or workplace. 

To create a comfortable experience for users, the team proposed 21 “platforms” along the corridor that will house amenities, such as toilets, water points, shower facilities and bicycle-rental vending machines. These spots will resemble train platforms, in a nod to the corridor’s history.

The team also proposed eight distinctively-themed stretches, with design strategies aiming to integrate existing water bodies and greenery to create an ecologically richer environment.

Four of these will be community nodes, located near Stagmont Ring, Mayfair Park, Queensway Viaduct and a brick drain about 650m from the Bukit Timah Railway Station, near the defunct Jurong Railway Line.

The other four, which will be key activity nodes, are at Kranji (near the canal opposite Kranji MRT station), the former Bukit Timah Fire Station, the Bukit Timah Railway Station and Buona Vista.

A gathering space is envisioned at Buona Vista, for instance, catering to one-north workers and the Queenstown community. The former Bukit Timah Fire Station could feature a “forest walk” and offer activities such as camping.

(click on image to expand)

Mr Shoji Kaneko, an urban designer and landscape architect from Nikken Sekkei, said they wanted to keep the “very peaceful and quiet” nature of the Rail Corridor, which is very different from the surrounding urban environment.

As part of its plans for the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, the MKPL Architects and Turenscape International team proposed an additional entrance and exit for the future Circle Line MRT station that is located between the former railway platforms, to create a “distinctive sense of arrival” for commuters. The carpark near the station could become a community green space that will allow more people to appreciate the station’s architecture. Within the station building, heritage galleries and an auditorium could be found.

MKPL Architects director Siew Man Kok said his team advocated a “light touch” approach in developing the site, so as to retain the place’s original charm. Its proposed intervention for Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is “very subtle” and strove to bring back memories of the train platforms, and of travelling and arrival, he added.

The awarded proposals will be exhibited at the URA Centre Atrium until Nov 28, and the exhibition will travel to various neighbourhoods in the first quarter of next year, until which the public may provide feedback.

The URA said plans presented in the Request for Proposals exhibition are not finalised plans for the Rail Corridor. It will seek views of the community and stakeholders on the awarded proposals before refining them. The refinement of the master plan and concept designs will be refined in the second quarter of next year, and preliminary design and feasibility studies will be done in the third quarter of next year.

Implementation on various stretches of the corridor will be studied carefully and could be paced. “Implementation could be timed with other future developments on the Rail Corridor and its adjacent land parcels,” said a URA spokesperson. “We will also work with the community to look into whether certain basic elements of the Rail Corridor may be implemented first to improve the Corridor’s user-friendliness and connectivity. The implementation of certain stretches can also be dovetailed with future infrastructural works along the Rail Corridor, such as after the laying of PUB’s Murnane pipeline under the southern-half of the Corridor.”

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