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Straits Times - All aboard! Decommissioned SMRT train to become co-living hotel in one-north

By Christie Chiu

UPDATED - APR 11, 2024, 05:16 PM

SINGAPORE – First came the buses. Now, you can choose to stay in a decommissioned SMRT train carriage.

Developed by local start-up Tiny Pod with the support of the JTC Corporation, Train Pod @ one-north is set to be Singapore’s first co-living train hotel and will launch in September.

In a co-living hotel, guests get to enjoy fully furnished private rooms but are also able to mingle with others in communal spaces.

Located at a carpark next to Block 69 Ayer Rajah Crescent, the train carriage will host eight 7.5 sq m rooms, each equipped with an attached bathroom. The hotel will also operate with a smart lock system by fellow start-up Igloo Home.

Hotel staff will not be physically stationed at the train hotel, but room turnovers will still be handled by a cleaning team.

To create a more immersive experience for guests, the carriage driver’s compartment will feature mounted liquid-crystal display panels showing real-life footage of the train’s earlier journey through a tunnel.

A public recreational green space will also be developed beside the co-living train hotel, decked out with food and beverage vending machines and bicycle racks.

Visitors can also bask in the sun while relaxing on train chairs, which will be repurposed into outdoor public benches.

Although renovation works started in March, Tiny Pod founder and chief executive officer Seah Liang Chiang said details such as room rates and when bookings will open have not been firmed up.

However, room rates will be lower than Singapore’s existing co-living spaces, he said, adding that pop-up hotels have gained popularity in recent years as consumers increasingly value eco-conscious choices.

“By transforming under-utilised spaces into unique accommodation experiences, we unlock new revenue streams and minimise our environmental footprint,” said Mr Seah.

The train-hotel project is also an extension to Tiny Pod’s existing pop-up shipping container hotel at LaunchPad @ one-north.

Launched in 2020, Tiny Pod’s shipping containers have since expanded to urban and public spaces at Gardens by the Bay and Haw Par Villa.

Ms Yap Eai-Sy, JTC director for new estates business development and marketing, said: “Building on the success of its shipping container hotel test bed, Tiny Pod’s co-living train is a natural progression for sustainable hospitality solutions through adaptive reuse.”

The project also comes after The Bus Collective, a resort hotel with rooms made from old public buses, opened for bookings in November 2023. Rates start at $398 per night for a room that can accommodate three with a king-sized bed, sofa bed and bathtub.

The hotel by travel agency WTS Travel features rooms made from 20 decommissioned Scania public buses that were previously operated by SBS Transit.

After being upcycled and repurposed as luxury suites, they now sit on the 8,600 sq m property next to the popular Changi Village Hawker Centre.

Original parts of the buses – including windows, driver seats and steering wheels – have been retained as features of the rooms.

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