Jun 25, 2011

Countdown to 30 June - My Last Affair at Choa Chu Kang

26106 at CCK

The light lunch at Rail Mall before I chiong the crossings was a deliberate decision on my part. After Hillview Bridge where the race would start, there was the crossing at Gombak before reaching Ten Mile Junction. That I would have another affair at Ten Mile, two years after the previous one, was no coincidence, for at 1300 hrs Ekspres Sinaran Selatan was scheduled to depart from Tanjong Pagar Station. Before long the train would cross Choa Chu Kang Road at Ten Mile Junction on its journey up north.

The rendezvous point was fixed at behind Prince's Garden Centre, a nursery where there would be no short of flowers and ... romance. Surely this was more secluded than the main road at Ten Mile, where I had engaged in my previous affair.

I was early for the appointment though strictly speaking, it wasn't one. A hit or miss affair, I was not promised she would turn up. I was glad that the waiting took place behind the nursery where the soil had just been tilled and where wild shrubs and lalang did not thrive. Good, I would not have mosquitoes and other insects for company. Footpaths intersected land plots that were growing with grass or plants looking like grass; it was a welcoming sign. Overall it was a great place to wait; the sun was not too scorching and I spent my time checking out the surrounding.

Behind Prince's Garden Centre
The open space behind Prince's Garden Centre was a good place to spot ... her. Why is the telegraph post planted at the centre of the field?

Once in a while, I would look up from the ground and checked my six; or simply stole a glance at the barrier in the distance. The barrier was still up, should I be happy or sad? Nevertheless, adrenalin was pumping and I could not resist thinking about the affair to happen.

Slowly I made my way to the barrier. A guardhouse stood not far away and there was another one across the road but the guard was not in sight. This was not the safest place to have an affair and so the barrier would be very critical, as it would give the first warning of an impending danger. A barrier that is down is like a flashing red alarm; I remember there is a siren too.

Behind Prince's Garden Centre
Be safe not sorry. Do check on the position of the barrier regularly. Accidents do happen and it is our responsibility to take preventive measures.

I did not hear any siren and the barrier did not go down before my eyes. What I vaguely remember and could be corroborated with the time-stamp of my photos was that I was examining this cute little house beside me with interest, the next time I looked at the barrier ... it was down!

She is coming! My heart screamed.

I ran back as fast as I could, to the spot I thought was the best place to have my affair. Time was running out by the seconds and - hopefully no staff of the nursery is reading this - I cut a straight path that included trampling over those plants that looked like grass. I hope those are grass.

I reached the rendezvous spot before her, thankfully. The sign from the ground where two metal rails sat was now unmistakable. There was this soft screeching sound reverberating from the metal and I'm quite sure they did not come from road vehicles. I whipped out my weapon, ready to shoot.

Slowly but surely, she began her approach. From the bend in the distance she appeared, growing bigger by the seconds. I saw smoke. She was hot.

The Blue Tiger roared and brushed past me, hauling the coaches of Ekspres Sinaran Selatan on their way to Woodlands. In a moment, it was over.

Trainspotting at Prince's Garden Centre
I had intended to show the video of 26106 'Tanjung Jara' roaring past me but to my horror I realized there was no video editor installed in my computer to do the editing before uploading. I hope these thumbnails of the video frames give you a good idea of my affair.

It is much easier to predict the timing for a "up" (northbound) train than a "down" one due to a bigger delay margin for the latter. In extreme cases, a "down" train can cause subsequent "up" trains to be delayed, like in the case of derailment. Come July 1, all train services between Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands would be terminated so if you'd like a scenic place for trainspotting, Bukit Panjang Crossing at Ten Mile would be a good place.

Railway Land No Trespassing
If you prefer a secret rendezvous, one that does not have the guard's blessing, take the backdoor of Prince's Garden Centre. If you take the front door by the guardhouse, you see this. Certainly you can't feign ignorance, could you?


nateniale said...

Happy that you caught her! =) Went to the Tanjong Pagar railway station yesterday for a visit, and it was filled with people wanting to have one last look of the station before it closes. Another chapter closed in Singapore to make way to new ones.

Icemoon said...

nateniale, thanks!

You have a nice blog too. Am adding it to my feed.

Taco Recipes said...

Good rreading your post