Archive for August, 2013

Keppel Bus

August 28, 2013

When I was a kid, I never had the opportunity to take long bus rides. One of the family outings which involved long bus trip was when my dad took us to visit Haw Par Villa at Pasir Panjang Road. Keppel Bus route 1 starts from High Street in the city centre and terminates at Clementi Road/Pasir Panjang Road junction. On that trip, we took the bus at South Bridge Road. Upon leaving the city, the bus travelled along a narrow and winding road to 6ms Pasir Panjang Road. The bus was a Vulcan with standard single centre door layout of that time, similar to this one which incidently was photographed on the road outside Haw Par Villa (on the left) :
 photo keppelbus_zpsa2601edb.jpg
At that time, the seashore was just a stone throw away from the road (on the right hand side). The stone pillar with the number 6 marks the sixth mile stone or 6ms of Pasir Panjang Road.
Later while I was in secondary school, I had the opportunity to ride on these Vulcans, which by then, it became Amalgamated Bus Company’s fleet. These buses were under powered, took a long time to drag itself out of the bus stop whenever they were fully loaded. Most of them were rapidly replaced by ABC’s new Albion Vikings in the early 1972.
The entrance of Haw Par Villa remains more or less the same whilst there were some changes inside when it was upgraded :
 photo hawparvilla1_zpsee4d554e.jpg
Pasir Panjang Road used to ran close to the wall of Haw Par Villa. The carpark on the left and the driveway used to be the old road :
 photo hawparvilla2_zpsbfb23118.jpg
Here is another view of the old road (red arrow). The current road was diverted and shifted to the left to make way for a carpark. The shore line is roughly where the green railing was (on the left) :
 photo hawparvilla7_zps2640a7c9.jpg
View towards the city with the red line on the left marking the former seashore. West Coast Highway and all that is on the right is the sea :
 photo hawparvilla6_zpsead6dd7e.jpg
Instead of Keppel Bus Vulcans, we now have brand new SMRT Bus MAN A22 bus :
 photo hawparvilla8_zps90af9082.jpg
The other gate still around. It was never used for visitors :
 photo hawparvilla5_zpsd053178f.jpg
On my first visit, the view at the top of Haw Par Villa used to be very peaceful and quiet with only a few cargo ships and fishing boats visible on the horizon. The view now :
 photo hawparvilla3_zps85817244.jpg

Acknowledgement : Old bus photo from National Archives Singapore

Old bus terminus – St Michael

August 21, 2013

The first bus terminus serving St Michael Estate was located along Jalan Aman. There only two bus services STC 10A and 14A. Resident can also use bus services along Jalan Toa Payoh and Kim Keat Road, which is within walking distances.
After the 1971 bus re-organisation, the number of bus services increased to seven : ABC 122, STC 120, 120A, 121, 123, 124 and 125.
This is the map of the location :

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Jalan Aman no longer exists. The road and some of the old flats were demolished (road in front is Jalan Bahagia) :

 photo jlnaman2_zps39900638.jpg

What is left of Jalan Aman is a short stretch of driveway into a multi storey carpark :

 photo jlnaman1_zpsd77799eb.jpg

A proper terminus with parking bays was later constructed along Whampoa Drive. The same place as the current bus terminus location. However, the first terminus was basically a parking lot for buses and a bus stop shelter used for boarding of all services. The terminus was rebuilt to current one with proper bays for each service :

 photo stmichael_zps763a9ec0.jpg

Some of the original houses built by SIT are still around. Single story houses and a German built Mercedes Citaro bus Jalan Bahagia looks like a scene from Europe :

 photo jlnbahagia_zps51b92b63.jpg

Contrac Cobus 3000

August 14, 2013

Contrac Cobus is a German airport shuttle bus builder based at Wiesbaden. The company was founded in 1978. The Cobus 3000 is specially developed for the transportation of passengers between the airport terminal buildings and planes. This is a fourth generation Cobus 3000 :
 photo dnata02a_zps3d48b7e5.jpg
It can carries up to 112 passengers, which corresponds to more than double the capacity of a city bus. The bus is mainly a standee bus with a total of only 14 seats : 6 at the rear and 8 seats over the two wheel arches.
 photo dnata02b_zpsc08b806e.jpg
The COBUS 3000 is built on a special low floor chassis by Mercedes-Benz and has just one step from the ground to the bus floor. The bus uses all aluminium construction, is 3m wide and 13.9m long. It is powered by a Mercedes OM904LA engine mounted at the front of the bus next to the driver. It meets Euro 5 emission. Gearbox is Allison 2000 series.
This a view of the interior :
 photo dnata02c_zps5b76d63a.jpg
There are 3 oversized double doors at both side of the vehicle which allow quick and easy embarking and disembarking. The bus also has pneumatic kneeling system and two way exhaust system which automatically let the exhaust fumes out to the side of the bus opposite to the opened passenger doors.

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National Day Parade 1977

August 8, 2013

Tomorrow August 9 is National Day. The first National Day parade I took part in was in 1977 at Jurong Stadium. 1977 was the year the parade was decentralized. I was still at SAFTI attending the School of Infantry Section Leader course when we were hauled up and told that we will be taking part and we will be under the NCO Club contingent. We were still privates undergoing training to be NCOs and we represent NCO Club?
A search on the National Archives website showed up some surprises. These were my platoon mates with me somewhere in the middle of the contingent on the 5km route march at Taman Jurong :
 photo 1977ndp1_zps869b3c36.jpg
The caption in the NAS website states : “National Day Parade 1977 at Jurong Stadium — Contingent from Singapore Armed Forces Reservists Association (SAFRA) participating in the 5-km route march”. The contingent was from SAFRA? Wrong! At that time we still have a long way to go before we are qualified to be reservists!
This the view in the Jurong Stadium in 1977:
 photo 1977ndp2_zps0b77e567.jpg
Another photo of our contingent from NAS website :
 photo 1977ndp3_zpsc1c4ab2b.jpg
After this first parade, I took part in at least two other National Day Parades as reservists representing 2PDF, both at National Stadium.

Acknowledgement : Photos from National Archives Singapore