Out in the ocean, when a whale dies and its body falls to the floor of the deep blue, the carcass or Whalefall, represents a sudden concentrated food source, which gives rise to a myriad community of undersea organisms which will feed on the carcass for decades.
The Jurong extension line of the old Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Railway in Singapore, can be likened to a Whalefall.
Built in 1965, the extension line provided a direct rail link to carry goods and raw materials between Singapore’s fledging Jurong Industrial estate and its Malaysian hinterland. The railway line branched out from Bukit Timah Railway Station and ended at Jurong Port. Unfortunately, it failed to generate satisfactory traffic and fell into disuse in the nineties.
In the two decades that have followed, strange and wondrous landscapes shaped by the tussle between nature and cultivation have sprung up on the fertile carcass of the abandoned railway line.
Unlike the rail corridor, much loved by Singaporeans and easily accessible from a number of locations, the Jurong Line is more obscure. It is best accessed from two locations; Sunset Way and Teban Gardens.
The main attraction at Sunset Way is the beautiful steel truss bridge which spans the Sungei Ulu Pandan River.
At Teban Gardens, be prepared to bash through knee deep vegetation but if you are willing to go the distance, you will get to experience the adventure of exploring a long and dark railway tunnel whilst wading in ankle deep mud – not something you get to do every day in modern Singapore!