6 months to remove rail tracks
New Straits Times
Sat, Jul 02, 2011
SINGAPORE - Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad will strip the entire stretch of its railway track between Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands in Singapore and bring them home within the next six months.
That is the time frame KTMB has been given by the Singapore authorities to undertake the mammoth job of removing the tracks.
The track removal will pave the way for the republic's authorities to commence with either development projects that have been intended along the stretch, or maintain it as a heritage site or green corridor as suggested by environmentalists.
KTMB will release a tender notice soon to get a contractor to handle the job. The track spans over 23km from Tanjong Pagar in southern Singapore to Woodlands in the north.
KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan told the New Straits Times that the job to remove the tracks was expected to be completed in several months, adding that the contractor could either be from Singapore or Malaysia, depending on who submitted the best bid.
He said part of the track would be showcased in KTMB museums as a historical exhibit while others would be kept for future use on KTMB tracks throughout the country.
"The first museum to display part of the track is the former Johor Baru railway station, which will be transformed into a museum soon.
"Other stations with plans to set up a museum will also be given part of the track as exhibits."
The Tanjong Pagar station became part of KTMB's history following the departure of the last train piloted by the Sultan of Johor at 11.03pm on Thursday.
As the bells sounded, followed by the heavy sound of the locomotive, the train slowly left Platform 1 of the station, with the sight and sound of well-wishers at the platform slowly fading away as the train disappeared into the dark.
The KL-bound train ride was by invitation only, and passengers comprised of KTMB staff and their family members, and newsmen from both sides of the Johor Straits.
As the train snaked its way towards the Woodlands checkpoint just before the Causeway, well-wishers lined up at both sides of the track at Bukit Timah and Bukit Panjang, among other locations, waved, and shouted "bye-bye".
Onboard the train, a host of activities was held, such as the singing of Auld Lang Syne, photo-shoots and press interviews.
The train transported home 16 carriages of passengers, who arrived in Johor Baru at 12.15am with sweet memories.
While the neo-classical style Tanjong Pagar railway station had been gazetted by Singapore as a heritage building, it remains unclear about the fate of the rail land stretching from the station to Woodlands, although environmentalists had called the republic's government to turn it into a green corridor.
Checks yesterday showed that the compound of the station including the parking area had been fenced off yesterday, and security guards were manning the building.