The future of the rail network in Singapore is bright with major investments by Singapore’s Government into expanding and improving the rail network. Singapore’s economy is growing fast and the city-state is planning to build world-class roads, buildings and other infrastructure in its region. One of these major investments is the creation of the Jurong Subdivision in Singapore. Located to the east of the Singapore River, the Jurong region has a unique geographical make up with steep cliffs, low marshlands and green rice fields. To the south lie the Botanical Gardens and Jorong, while to the north lies the Penang Peninsula and thenown regions of Sandok and Banyan Bay.
The growth and development of the rail network in Singapore is seen best in the Jurong Subdivision. The hills and mountains here are ideal for small and large scale farmers. These areas also have a lot of natural beauty. These areas were originally part of the British penal Colony of Singapore before it became a free country in 1957.
Today, there are two major train stations in this area: the South Link (for the northern section) and the North East Rail Link. The new South Link train station, which covers the entire width and length of the division, connects the Bukit Timah Resort to the nearby airport and the shopping malls along the way. The train station is served by six new stations including the bypass tunnel that connects the train to the Malindi Road Junction. The North East Rail Link station is also located here.
The Bukit Timah Resort & Spa have four new stations: New Owners’ Park, Bukit Timah Resort and Business Bay. Apart from the train station, the Resort has two hotels: the New Owners’ Park and the Business Bay. Both of them have modern amenities and state of the art facilities.
The Jurong Waterfront and the Entertainment Centre, both located within the vicinity, have modern shops, restaurants and seating. Apart from these, there are also several parks, cinemas, hotels, restaurants and other commercial establishments here. The rail link has brought convenience to travelers to access the airport as well as the places of interest within the area. You can now get in and out of the area easily.
Another area that benefits greatly from the rail link is the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. This reserve was once a reserve of the Periyar National Park. But as part of the development of Jurong Town, the authorities allowed the extension of the park to include the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. This is located in the northern part of the town, next to the Bukit Timah Resort.
Bukit Timah is home to the Bukit Timah Environmental Study Centre. It is one of the best environmental institutions in the whole of South Singapore. And the rail connectivity has enabled people to access this institution easily, without any hassle. This has made it possible for researchers to conduct various projects in this area.
In addition to this, the growth in the economy in the Jurong Region has helped the residents to reap benefits by way of employment opportunities. Apart from the regular jobs in the town, people working in the region’s industries receive higher salaries and benefit packages. There are numerous small businesses in the region, operating both from and within the borders of the rail network. These businesses help in improving the lifestyle of the residents of the region by providing jobs and earning decent incomes.
But there is a drawback in the lives of the residents of this town. They do not have access to the rail network due to the presence of the underground train station. And this has forced them to travel by air. However, this problem can be sorted out if the whole concept of MRT, wherein stations are placed along the rail network, and where the train departs from, is adopted.
This will provide the residents with better connectivity. People residing in the far flung areas of Jurong would be able to reach the main urban centre more easily. Apart from this, frequent transfers between the train stations by road is expected to reduce traffic jams and reduce the fuel expenses of the residents of the town. Thus the entire concept should be made compatible with the already existing urban structures and infrastructure in the town. This should also ensure the convenience of the people in commuting between their homes and work places.
However, the major hindrance in the implementation of the rail link in this region is political. The main political party in Singapore, the ruling party, has always been against the development of rail networks in regions outside the country. They prefer to have roads as the alternate for the development of the rail system. The planners of the rail link cannot ignore this fact because of the strong support of the residents of the area. Thus there is no chance of overcoming this barrier in the foreseeable future.