2017-10-29 05:00:00 2017-10-30 04:59:00 SPH The last station along the former KTM railway line - the Bukit Timah Railway Station - has been standing in a state of disrepair and in need of restoration since it fell into disuse in 2011.

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The last station along the former KTM railway line - the Bukit Timah Railway Station - has been standing in a state of disrepair and in need of restoration since it fell into disuse in 2011.

From May to August this year, students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) came together to document, analyse and propose ways to return the 1932 station, with its country cottage appearance, to its former glory.

It was done in collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which is transforming the conserved building into a heritage gallery. URA said the gallery, alongside other works along a 4km stretch of the Rail Corridor, may be completed in 2021. The URA said it will incorporate feasible suggestions from the students.

Some SUTD students will also get to work with the appointed contractor to restore selected finishing features and elements of the old railway station.

The students used drones and 3D scanning, among other tools, to piece together their reports.

SUTD Master of Architecture student Mok Jun Wei, 25, was part of one team which documented the station's walls and columns and studied how the building was assembled in the past. A total of 31 students, broken up into six groups, participated.

He said: "Hopefully, our work will contribute to the future restoration process in terms of how it is understood as a 1930s structure. We believe that the building should be left intact as far as possible since it is structurally sound."

Some other ideas that the students floated included turning the station into an art gallery like Hong Kong's PMQ creative zone, and transforming it into a cafe.

The station is a key community node along the Rail Corridor which starts at the Woodlands Checkpoint and ends at the national monument Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

SUTD's Assistant Professor Yeo Kang Shua, who led the students in their projects as part of his Conservation Theories and Approaches of Built Heritage course, said practicality prevailed.

He said: "For instance, the cafe might not have been sustainable economically as it is might only be busy during weekends. The students decided that minimal intervention to the space would be best suited to maintain its rustic environment."

He added that the collaboration gave students a chance to understand the needs and complexity of heritage building projects.

After gathering community feedback, the URA decided to turn the station into a heritage gallery which will detail the history of the Rail Corridor and the railway station itself.

Meanwhile, the nearby Station Master's Quarters will provide refreshments and amenities such as toilets for Rail Corridor users.

The URA will also add landscaping to the area and two community lawns to the corridor. Salvaged railway tracks will be reinstated between the steel truss bridge across Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road, and the old railway station "to recapture" the route that trains used to run along, said the URA.

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