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Tour: Singapore’s KTM Railway Line: A Journey Along History a heritage walk with Dr Lai Chee Kien
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meeting point Dempsey Road Public Car Park
date | time Saturday 22 Jan 2011 | 7.15 am
cost $30.00 (Members) | $40.00 (Others)
reservations (Wendy).
This tour is limited to 40 persons.


The history of railways in Singapore may be understood as three periods of development: The Singapore-Kranji-Railway ran a service from Singapore Town (Tank Road) to Woodlands at the turn of the 20th century to connect “town” to the “hinterland”. The second phase saw the transfer of its management to the Federal Malay States Railway when the Causeway was built in 1923 and the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station constructed a decade later. This inter-war phase connected the island to the social and economic milieus of British Malaya and the peninsula, but also heightened the importance of the Keppel area with its docks and harbour development.


The 24km Jurong Branch line, conceived before merger with Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah to form the geobody of Malaysia, was intended in the third phase to imagine an economy of industrial production that was connected to the main line, but also to markets in the peninsula and in South Thailand, despite Singapore’s subsequent separation from it in 1965. In May 2010, the two governments in Singapore and Malaysia announced plans to redevelop the 180 hectares of railway land, while conserving the two stations in Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar. This tour will attempt to revisit some of the stations and locations of interest in Singapore, including treks along certain stretches of the railways. We hope to capture some of the aspects of this everyday heritage before it winds down and cease operations come July 2011.


Dr Lai Chee Kien is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. He graduated with an M.Arch. by research from NUS in 1996, and from University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in History of Architecture and Urban Design, in 2005. He is a registered architect in Singapore. He researches on the histories of art, architecture, landscapes and urban environments in Southeast Asia. His publications include A Brief History of Malayan Art (1999), Building Merdeka: Independence Architecture in Kuala Lumpur, 1957-1966 (2007) and Singapore: Towards Another Botanical Age (2008).

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