Retracing The Old Sentosa Monorail Stations In 2020
The old Sentosa Monorail was a leisure monorail system on the island operating in a uni-directional look around the western parts of the island, which were the only parts with attractions and facilities at that time. It operated for 23 years from 23 February 1982 to 16 March 2005. The line first operated in a clockwise direction, later changing to an anti-clockwise direction most likely some time after the opening of Underwater World station.
For the 1000th article on RailTravel Station, since I can’t travel to any other country to commemorate it, I decided to trace the stations on one of my most favourite train lines ever, with all the announcements that I still remember playing in my head while on the trip.
Station 1: Ferry Terminal Station
Despite being the main boarding station that most people would use, Ferry Terminal Station was actually opened 5 years later than the rest of the line due to its construction during that time. The monorail tracks ran through the middle of the building, making it the biggest Sentosa Monorail station on the line.
The Sentosa Ferry Terminal was seated at the front of the Fountain Gardens which linked back to Kiki’s home at the Musical Fountain and Merlion Walk, forming a central path for easy navigation. Today, the strip is still evident in Resorts World Sentosa, and the Sentosa Ferry Terminal was seated at the current Waterfront and Crane Dance.
This should be where the staircase up to the monorail platform was.
I used to take the ferry back to mainland Singapore to World Trade Centre from here.
The view out to Fountain Gardens, Merlion Walk and Merlion is hard to see today, but still identifiable.
The path still exists to Imbiah Station, though on different terrain levels now with Resorts World Sentosa being built on and around it.
Station 2: Underwater World Station
The original road network at the former Underwater World remains, now known as Siloso Point.
The site behind the Siloso Point bus stop is now, however, hoarded up.
When walking behind towards Fort Siloso, I found that not the entire site is hoarded up after all, but just the front part.
The rear part where Underwater World used to be has been turned into the Stacks Car Park.
The car park gives me a rather temporary feel as it has no structures as compared to Beach Station.
My gut feel says that this is where the tracks used to run over my head, facing the station building. The station building was redeveloped to house an interactive stingray feeding pool, a display of small marine reef species, and a fish reflexology spa following the closure of the monorail system.
What I think is the view of the monorail station and Underwater World itself.
The former Fort Siloso Tour tram stop opposite Underwater World still remains, functioning as a shelter.
Station 3: Fort Siloso Station
With no more Sentosa Monorail and Fort Siloso Tour tram, the only way to Fort Siloso is now only by foot via the usual access road or the new Fort Siloso Skywalk.
Fort Siloso Station was the first to close on the system to redevelop it into the Surrender Chambers exhibit, formerly located at Imbiah Lookout where Madame Tussauds Singapore is now housed.
Trains still bypassed the station at speed during the redevelopment. Subsequent monorail station numbers were then reduced by 1, which was shortlived anyway since the system was going to close down. For the purpose of clarity for this article, I will not include the renumbered station numbers for the subsequent stations.
Out of all the station buildings, Fort Siloso’s fittings seem to be the most in tact.
Fort Siloso was one of 3 stations on the network with only a single side platform. It also had perpetual queues that weren’t moving with tour groups mainly moving from Underwater World to Cable Car station, with no one alighting at Fort Siloso.
The tiles on the stairs up to the former platform (now Surrender Chambers) are still of the original tactile flooring.
Oops x 2.
The entrance is regulared by a staff member who checks your SafeEntry check-in and temperature, and limits the number of people inside.
Many have the misconception that the boardwalk is the monorail’s approach into the station, which is not true. Fort Siloso Station was on a balloon loop and trains approached the station on a left horseshoe curve.
I peeked my camera out to simulate looking out from the platform, and was very pleased with what I accidentally captured.
The original “PLEASE WAIT BEHIND YELLOW LINE” wordings on the platform remains till this day.
The Surrender Chambers at Fort Siloso focuses on two surrenders: the British to the Japanese in 1942 and the Japanese to the Allies in 1945. The first when you enter is the British surrender and the timeline leading to it.
The paths that the Japanese took to capture Singapore.
Wax sculptures depict the surrender of Singapore by Lieutenant-General Percival to General Yamashita at the Ford Factory at Bukit Timah.
The exhibit then transitions into an informative path on life in Singapore (Syonan-to) under the Japanese Occupation.
The exhibit then moves to wax sculptures depicting the Japanese surrender ceremony at the Municipal Building of Singapore (now known as City Hall / National Gallery Singapore), signed by Lord Louis Mountbatten and General Seishiro Itagaki. This signing also ended the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.
The exhibition ends with information on the post-WWII conflicts around Asia.
I was quite surprised that Sentosa took their monorail heritage pretty seriously and described it in the Fort Siloso development timeline.
Cards that flip to view the development of Fort Siloso also includes the Sentosa Monorail.
The Fort Siloso Tour trams were also not left out of history, though they only had shots of the new ones and not the classic black locomotive and 2 coaches. You can still find these “trams” in a refreshed livery operating on the Beach Tram.
The Sentosa Monorail at Fort Siloso Station when it first opened travelling a clockwise direction.
The Sentosa Monorail at Fort Siloso Station in the 1990s when it travelled an anti-clockwise direction.
How I miss this balloon loop with a speeding driver if lucky.
Heading down from the
platform Surrender Chambers.
Replicas of recruitment posters line the walls of the staircase heading down.
The Surrender Chambers is meant to function as a one-way walkthrough.
The rear of the monorail station blends well with the magazine storage just behind it.
Station 4: Cable Car Station
Cable Car Station, as the name implies, offers an interchange with the Singapore Cable Car. The whole area was also known more as Cable Car Station or Mount Imbiah before the rebranded name of Imbiah Lookout came about.
Today, Cable Car Station functions as the Sentosa Nature Discovery.
Do take note of the opening hours.
The elevated entrance to Sentosa Nature Discovery.
The entrance for the Sentosa Monorail used to be on the ground level.
The Sentosa Nature Discovery gallery introduces the natural habits around Sentosa, not only around this Imbiah area.
Standing on the former gap for the monorail tracks looking towards Fort Siloso Station.
The staircase to exit the station.
Standing on the former gap for the monorail tracks looking towards Palawan Beach Station.
The Imbiah Trail Boardwalk leads on after the Sentosa Nature Discovery gallery, built on top of the old Sentosa Monorail tracks.
Again, very pleased that Sentosa preserved the Sentosa Monorail history in the redeveloped attraction with an information board on it.
The view of the monorail tracks travelling through the forest.
The view out of Cable Car Station towards Palawan Beach Station as the monorail skirts around the Merlion with a view of Fountain Gardens.
Hmm, the years seem messed up though.
I miss this approach.
Heading on the boardwalk to Imbiah Trail.
A good directional map on the boardwalk featuring a walking duration radius.
The junction at the end has a shelter with some benches and another directional map.
The monorail tracks at the end through the forest has not been removed. Perfect.
Heading down the stairs from the boardwalk.
The shelter is supported by additional concrete and steel, working around the old monorail tracks.
The track can support the rest of the boardwalk normally though.
A part of the tracks have been cut off though I’m not sure of the reason since it’s just a bicycle track below.
The monorail tracks through the forest.
The part of the track that supports the boardwalk has been repainted grey, while the remainder remains originally green.
The ramp portion of the boardwalk splitting off from the monorail alignment is supported on its own new concrete and steel pillars.
Looking at the old monorail tracks / boardwalk across Imbiah Road.
The Imbiah Lookout bus stop and cable car station (Sentosa Line) is located near this end of the boardwalk.
Station 5: Palawan Beach Station
Palawan Beach Station was a breath of fresh air (literally sea breeze) after touring the forest ever since Ferry Terminal Station, where the line heads out to the sea side.
The station building was renovated and converted to shop lots and food outlets following the closure of the monorail line.
Unfortunately, the building has been hoarded up now, and it will probably be either demolished or developed again. Let’s hope it’s the latter, though I don’t have confidence with the many redevelopments on Palawan Beach.
Station 6: Ficus Station
Ficus, or SDC Office, didn’t really lead to key attractions during the Sentosa Monorail’s operation since it was way before the era of Sentosa Cove and those that go to Sentosa Golf Club or Beaufort Hotel wouldn’t be walking from here.
Today, it looks like it’s still in the middle of nowhere.
The bus stop at Ficus along Allanbrooke Road still features the classic Sentosa design of things back then.
The station building of Ficus Station.
The station functioned as a restaurant and bar before, but now sits idle with trees growing steadily around it.
The EtonHouse bus stop outside the former Ficus Station. Sentosa Pavilion, Opp Sentosa Pavilion, Opp So Spa, So Spa and EtonHouse form a cluster of interchange bus stops around major junctions. In theory, you might be able to save travel time by changing buses on the faster branch, but the low frequency of Bus B removes that opportunity.
The closed former station building of Ficus Station with no function for now.
Happy to see the peacocks still roaming freely here free from harassment by tourists just like everywhere in the old Sentosa.
Station 7: Visitor Arrival Centre Station
Finally, the last station on the loop, Visitor Arrival Centre Station.
Yes, this photo looks weird and not sequential because my trip wasn’t – I went for my “tour” based on logical and immediate connections rather than the actual loop in order to save overall time. I had actually took SBS Transit Bus Service 123 into Sentosa so that I would have an upper deck front view so I needn’t walk to the nothingness of the former site of Visitor Arrival Centre Station.
Most likely driving through the former Visitor Arrival Centre Station building with the realigned Sentosa Gateway and Gateway Avenue angled and towards the east.
The road on the former site of Visitor Arrival Centre Station building leads down to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
Overall, a good trip around Sentosa visiting both the old parts still extremely recognisable at Fort Siloso and Ficus, while useful new developments at Ferry Terminal makes the replacement worth it to me despite the closure of the monorail system. Progress like this is what makes sacrifice of train lines worth it in my opinion.
A picture paints a thousand words, but here’s a thousand articles filled with lots of words and pictures completed!
If you have stuck with me since the beginning, thank you for sticking for a thousand articles so far – not something I expected I could do when I first started this little website 6 years ago. To everyone, I hope you will enjoy the next thousand too.