Saturday, November 26, 2011

Passing of an era - The Hillview Railway Bridge

So it has finally come to pass. The day that I thought I would never see the light of.
After more than 80 years, the Malaysian railway line has been dismantled and with it the freeing up of the bottleneck at Hillview Road.

I wrote a blog back in Nov 2010 about this bottleneck just after Singapore and Malaysia came to an agreement to remove the KTM railway line from Singapore.   (Link here)

The traffic bottleneck at Hillview Road.

Yesterday, while online with another ex-resident of the now demolished Princess Elizabeth Estate,  SK Yum, I learnt that the railway bridge pictured above was dismantled that very day we were chatting.  So I missed the opportunity to document a historic moment when the bridge was taken down.

The bottleneck will soon be a thing of the past, much to the joy of all the residents of Hillview and Bukit Batok, as well as for motorists who use that stretch.

I am not sure when the bridge was built but when my parents moved into Princess Elizabeth Estate in 1953,  it was already there. So it must be at least 60 years. (postscript: it was built in 1923)

Back in 1953, when Princess Elizabeth Estate was built, the road was the only access from Upper Bukit Timah Road to the estate. It remained the only access road in, until the early 1970s when Hillview Avenue was extended and connected to Jurong Road at the other end.

The road was originally called Princess Elizabeth Estate Drive.
As the Hillview area developed, it was renamed Hillview Avenue.
But as Hillview Avenue extended and branched off with more developments, that short stretch from the Hillview Circus to Upper Bukit Timah Road was hived off and renamed Hillview Road.

Here are some photos I took today, a day after the dismantling. 
Soon this will also just be a part of people's memory, when they remember that there used to be a bridge at Hillview Road.

The Hillview Bridge with the railway line on top.
This was taken in July during the 'open' period for visitors after the train services ended.

Hillview Road with the bridge dismantled. 26 Nov 2011.

The concrete beam still across is a height warning and collision barrier. Soon to be dismantled as well.  

Watch in high definition. Select 720p ---------------------------------------------------^

The collision barrier has been removed. Photo taken on 12 Dec 2011.

All that's remaining is the height warning gantry, which ironically has become the obstruction itself!

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  1. During my last photo taking trip, I took photos of the PEES former site, but I think I did not take any of this bridge. I was going use the photos for Chuck's article in my blog. What a waste!

  2. Hope I can find some photos at Flickr to download.

  3. Whoa...another landmark gone..anyone remembers the indian food stall at the junction?

  4. Yes I do. I was just thinking of the same thing this morning when I stood on the old Indian shop site to video the bridge.
    There were actually 2 shops beside each other and the Green Bus #5 (later SBS173) bus stop was directly in front of it.

  5. Actually there was also a motorbike shop at the corner. I always remember looking into the shop whenever the bus stops at the traffic light.

    The son of one of the Indian Food Stall owner is actually a student of PEES. His name if I'm not mistaken is Chandran and he was a long distance runner. If I recall correctly, there was a newspaper article on him running barefooted at the district level competition. This particular food stall subsequently shifted to one of 'new' HDB shops not far from the roundabout. This time around the owner manned the drinks stall while other individuals, I think, sublet from him.

    PEES Old Boy

  6. Oh, if only I can trace that newspaper article!
    His name was Kunasegaran, he was my classmate. We called him K because we found it had to pronounce his long name.
    Yes, he was our best long distance runner who ran barefooted.

  7. That being the case then PEES has another long distance champion. Chandran or Chandra. He is my senior and my stay at PEES was from 1969-1974.

    PEES Old Boy

  8. James, This is peter chan. What's your email?

    You mentioned about Thomas See. He was my junior at BOys Town and I know him. In fact he was in my class of 1st batch of OCS trainees under the new scheme. I got to find the pic somewhere I kept. I did my mention about him in Chun See's b;pg article about BOys Town.

  9. Hello Peter

    I have a picture of Thomas in my other blog under the article "Princess Elizabeth Estate"

    Click on the link on the right side "MY ongoing phot project"

  10. Chandra was the long distance runner in PM session in PEES till 1972, then study at Jln Teck Whye sec sch and became an idol of the school in long distance runner.