Sep 30, 2009

A Secret Tunnel under Orchard Road?

Pedestrain Underpass Notice

I was at Orchard Road doing heritage research when I came across the notice. It was a total surprise as I did not know of a "pedestrian underpass connecting Specialist Shopping Centre to Centrepoint Shopping Centre".

The people I asked (on MSN Messenger) did not know of its existence either. In fact when I asked the question, "how do you get to Centrepoint from Somerset MRT Station", the answer was invariably, "use the traffic light lor". They mean the pedestrian crossing in front of Orchard Emerald.

This is disturbing because people my generation are supposed to be "shopping queens". How can we not know about a tunnel under Orchard Road unless it is a secret?

It gets even more disturbing when I found what appears to be contradictory information. In Serving Singapore: A Hundred Years of Cold Storage, 1903-2003,

Another "first" that Cold Storage contributed to the construction industry was the escalators which serviced the 24-metre long pedestrian subway under Orchard Road which connected Centrepoint to the Somerset Mass Rapid Transit station in Killiney Road. Construction first started in October 1982 and the Company invested $5 million to provide easy access for shoppers, occupants and pedestrians to Centrepoint from Killiney Road.

Where was one end of the underpass/subway? Somerset MRT Station or Specialist Shopping Centre? How can the underpass be only 24 meters when the MRT station is 2 roads away from Centrepoint? If Specialist Shopping Centre is correct, then the underpass would cut across Orchard Road diagonally, unlike others along the shopping district.

Orchard Road Underpass
Mighty Minds 2005 Edition Map. An underpass is visible, connecting Centrepoint to the car park opposite.

Thanks to the map, we now have three different exits for the underpass - car park, Specialist Shopping Centre and MRT Station.

Help! Can somebody shed some light on this??

The mysterious underpass may resurface as a new underground linkway connecting Orchard Central and Centrepoint. It is slated to open early next year, according to this source.

Update on Oct 3, 2009:

Thanks to all who commented, the mystery is solved. There was indeed a secret tunnel connecting Centrepoint to the car park opposite. Goodness me, what have I been doing in Orchard all those years?

Orchard Road 1992
From Ray Tyers' Singapore : then and now. I can see an entrance and staircase on the right - my secret tunnel.


pinto said...

This tunnel is not a secret, I've used it before. It is something like the one linking Lucky Plaza to Takashimaya, just that this one doesn't link between two building.

The Mighty Minds map is correct. One end of the tunnel was at Centrepoint, the other was at the car park. It's not a direct tunnel from Centrepoint to Specialist Shopping Centre or to Somerset MRT - which is why no one really used it.

The signboard and the book are not mistaken in saying that the tunnel connected Centrepoint to Specialist Shopping Centre and Somerset MRT respectively. From Centrepoint, you could use the tunnel to get to either place.

Icemoon said...

Oh! That means the other exit was at Glutton Square?

Where was its exit in Centrepoint? Beside Cold Storage on the basement? I tried to find but couldn't. I found the car park instead, haha.

pinto said...

I can't recall exactly. I think it was next to the McDonalds, before they created the extension.

Lam Chun See said...

As far as I can recall, long before the MRT came along, there was already an underpass connecting Centrepoint to the other side of Orchard Road. I haven't been to Orchard Rd for ages so won't know if it is still there.

Anonymous said...

Based on my memory, the tunnel was located at basement 1 next to the stairs leading up to the main road. It was a very short tunnel which lead to the opposite carpark which is now Orchard Central. The exit at the carpark was just a normal exit similiar to the one you would find at the Istana park from Plaza Singapura.

The last time I saw the tunnel was pre renovation when the old Macdonalds stretched out into the walkway.

Icemoon said...

Thanks to pinto, Chun See and Anon.

Now I have an idea where the tunnel used to be located. Next time I go centrepoint, will look for the old and new tunnel.

Lam Chun See said...

I remember the entrance was near to the McDonalds beside the road leading to Centre Point carpark. Did you know that in the old days, this road connects to Cuppage Centre where our office (NPB) was? Reminds me, I should blog about the old Cuppage Centre.

Icemoon said...

Dear all, I have updated the post with a photo.

Chun See, I look forward to your Cuppage Centre post. :)

Lam Chun See said...

I have a video clip of this part of Orchard Rd taken when my kids were young. Brought them there to see the X'mas lights. I will check to see if can see the tunnel entrance or not.

yg said...

i have used the tunnel before. it was not well used like the one connecting tang's to the orchard station and isetan. it reminded me of one of those tunnels at east coast park. it did not link the two shopping complexes directly. i remember getting into the tunnel from the car-park, to the right of the former specialist shopping centre, and diagonally opposite centrepoint.

Anonymous said...

Icemoon, I happened to pass by Centrepoint the day before and decided to see if the tunnel was still around. Guess what? It was still there but the section was closed. Hopefully they decide to renovate the tunnel and link it to Orchard Central in future.

Icemoon said...

I guess the tunnel would be used by car owners not able to find parking space in Centrepoint.

Hey Anon, where is that section? Near which shop? Any photo??

Anonymous said...

Hi Icemoon, if you are walking down to B1 Centrepoint from the main road, do not walk through the glass door. Instead turn right and walk into a hidden passage where you would see both a laundry services and money changer shop. In the middle of these two shop, the tunnel is ahead but it's sealed up. If my memories server me right, the money changer shop name was City something :P

Icemoon said...

Thanks Anon. I will remember your description. Next time go Centrepoint will take photo.

By the way, if any of you has done so, do share.