These “Train-Themed Houses” Are Near The Restored Bukit Timah Railway Corridor, Looks Straight Out Of Ghibli

12 August 2022 | BY

Near the Bukit Timah Railway Corridor are a set of train-themed houses that look like they came straight out of a Studio Ghibli film.

train themed houses

Before the MRT came along and gave us 6 lines crisscrossing Singapore, there was the Singapore-Kranji Railway. The railway was completed in 1903 and took passengers from downtown Singapore all the way to Malaysia with stops in neighbourhoods like Bukit Timah, Cluny Road, and Holland Village. 

Only the Bukit Timah Railway Station in the King Albert Park enclave stands today, and it’s now the de facto landmark of the Green Corridor hiking trail. In a homage to the storied history of the estate, one property developer built 4 homes that look like locomotives straight out of a Studio Ghibli animated film.

train themed houses in bukit timahImage credit: Google Maps

Located literally next to where the old train tracks used to be – it’s now a dirt path, unfortunately – the homes on Rifle Range Road have a facade that makes them look like larger-than-life trains waiting to depart the depot.

The circular portholes of the home are a nod to the round smokeboxes of vintage steam locomotives, while the copper balcony additions are reminiscent of the smokestacks. The second-floor balcony with the “steering wheel” completes the aesthetic of the train. If only there was a barbeque going on so the smoke can really add to the “choo choo” vibes.

train themed houses near the bukit timah railway corridorImage credit: Google Maps

While we don’t know who designed these homes, it’s pretty clear that they were heavily inspired by the former railway that passed through the area. The locomotive elements on the house’s exterior also remind us of the 2013 Ghibli film The Wind Rises

the wind rises steam locomotive studio ghibliImage credit: Studio Ghibli

While the movie is about an aircraft engineer, there are still plenty of vintage steam locomotives featured. The epic proportions when compared to a standard locomotive also evoke the whimsical aesthetics of Ghibli’s classic Howl’s Moving Castle.

howl's moving castle studio ghibliImage credit: Studio Ghibli

We’re not saying that the Rifle Range homes look like the castle, but they definitely look like they could belong in the architectural beast.

my neighbour totoro home studio ghibliImage credit: Studio Ghibli

And if we’re talking about homes within the Ghibli universe, the train-themed houses could definitely fit into the neighbourhood where Satsuki and Mei lived in 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro.

Train-themed houses near Bukit Timah Railway Corridor

It’s hard to imagine that Singapore once had vintage steam locomotives traversing from Tank Road all the way up to Woodlands and into Malaysia. While they’ve since given way to modern driverless MRTs, there are still fans of that steampunk aesthetic that aren’t ready to let it stay hidden. Case in point: these train-themed houses near the Bukit Timah Railway Corridor.

Not only are they in an amazing location that gives meaning to their design, but they also fuel our never-ending obsession with all things that bear Studio Ghibli’s iconic animations. Just take a look at other Singaporean locales that look delightfully similar to sets in the studio’s filmography.

The next time you’re hiking the Railway Corridor, be sure to keep an eye out for these homes. Just remember to respect the privacy of the homeowners!

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Cover image credit: Google Maps, Studio Ghibli

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