Apparently there was more news than I initially thought. There will be 2 more lines and 2 more extensions by 2020, which I figured that I should still be able to witness and try in my life time. By then, I’d be quite old and it’s probably a good thing for me anyway. One of the new lines will run through Thomson while the other is the Eastern Line. As I am not an east person, I’m not sure if it’s really good. Or not.

Ed: Contrary to Sheylara, I’m not a lazy blogger, but this post is rather short because… I have to rush off soon. =P

A new 27 km underground rail line will be built from Woodlands in the north, through Ang Mo Kio and down the Thomson corridor to the city centre.

It will be one of four more rail systems to be built by 2020, with the other lines bringing high speech access to areas like Marine Parade in the east and Tuas in the West.

Together, the four will extend the rail network from the current 138km of track to 278km by 2020.

When completed, moving within the city centre will be a breeze, with a train station every 400m, or a five minute walk away, said Transport Minister Raymond Lim on Friday morning when he unveiled part-two of the changes to the land transport system.

ST: New SMRT Lines

Thomson Line (see attached map)

From the heart of Marina Bay, the Thomson Line (or TSL) will travel northwards, through the Central Business District and up through Ang Mo Kio all the way to Woodlands connecting estates such as Sin Ming, Kebun Baru, Thomson and Kim Seng which do not now have a direct MRT link.

Easten Region Line (see attached map)

The Eastern Region Line (or ERL), from Marina Bay, will serve the residential estates of Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade, Siglap, Bedok South and Upper East Coast, and link them to Changi in the east.

The TSL and the ERL together will add 48km to the rail network. The Government has given the go-ahead for the TSL to be built by 2018, and the ERL by 2020.

Mr Lim said the TSL and ERL will shorten journey times and significantly enhance the connectivity of the rail network. Commuters staying in Sin Ming, for example, can save 20 minutes out of their current 45-minute journey to the city, whereas a trip from Marine Parade to Marina Bay on the ERL would take about 20 minutes, almost as fast as travelling by car.

New extensions to North-South and East-West Lines (see attached maps)

The North-South and East-West Lines will also be extended and should be completed around 2015.

The North-South Line, which now ends at the Marina Bay station in the south, will be extended 1-km southwards to serve upcoming developments in the southern Marina Bay area, such as the new cruise terminal in Marina South. The East-West Line will be extended by another 14km into Tuas.

Presently, a commuter who lives in Clementi and takes the MRT to work in Tuas has to alight at Boon Lay station and then take a 35-minute bus ride to get to his workplace. With the new Tuas Extension that brings the East-West line right into the heart of Tuas, more of the journey will be on the high speed MRT, reducing his journey time by 20 minutes.

Doubling of rail network by 2020 (see attached map)

Mr Lim said the new rail lines will cost some $20 billion to build, over and above the $20 billion that government has already committed for the on-going Boon Lay Extension (BLE), the Circle Line (CCL) and the Downtown Line (DTL).

‘The government has decided that all these rail projects are a necessary investment to ensure that our transport infrastructure meets the needs of a growing population and an expanding economy,’ he said.

‘Together with the rail lines now under construction, the new rail lines will double our network from today’s 138km to 278km in 2020. We expect our rail network to carry 3 times as many journeys, rising from today’s 1.4 million a day to 4.6 million in 2020.’

He added that many more people will be served by the MRT, and they will be able to use it to get to many more places.

The density of the rail network will increase by 60 per cent, from 31 to 51 km per million population by 2020, comparable to cities like New York and London, and surpassing Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Turning to the existing rail lines, Mr Lim said train ridership is increasing steadily and commuters have said that they are feeling the squeeze, especially on the North-South and East-West lines.

‘Now, we are far from the crowded conditions of Tokyo trains, which Mr Norman Chong, a Singaporean who has lived in Tokyo for 10 years, describes as being ‘so packed that bodies are crushed against one another.’ He calls it his ‘regular morning massage’,’ said the Minister. ‘Other MRT users have likened the average peak period loading on our trains to an off-peak crowd in Shanghai.’

He said LTA is closely monitoring the passenger loading on trains.

To ensure a more comfortable ride for commuters, LTA has worked with the train operators to run 93 additional train trips per week during the morning and evening periods from February 2008 on the North-South East-West and the North-East lines. For commuters, this will mean less crowded trains and a reduction in waiting time by about 10 to 15 per cent during peak hours.

Additionally, the carrying capacity of the North-South and East-West Lines will be expended, with more trains to be added.

When completed in about four years’ time, their carrying capacity will be increased by a further 15 per cent, and commuters can look forward to shorter peak waiting times of two minutes, compared to the current 2.5 to 4.5 minutes at stretches that experience heavy loading, and an even more comfortable ride, assured Mr Lim.

DTL 3 to be brought forward by 2 years

The Minister also announced that Stage 3 of the Downtown Line (DTL) will now be completed two years earlier – from 2018 to 2016 – to benefit residents of Bedok Reservoir and Tampines.

It will be ready just one year after that of DTL Stage 2 serving the Bukit Timah corridor.

Earlier opening of Circle Line in 2009

He also have another piece of good news.

The Circle Line (CCL), which was due to open from 2010 onwards, will now open its Stage 3 segment in mid-2009 to benefit residents in the north and north-east.

This CCL segment connects Bishan station on the North-South Line and Serangoon station on NEL and opens up multiple new connections for residents in the north and north-east.

With the CCL 3, Serangoon residents will take only 25 minutes to get to Yishun by transferring to the North-South line at Bishan station, compared to 45 minutes by bus or by taking the NEL all the way to Dhoby Ghaut before transferring to the North-South line.

As for residents staying in Marymount, Lorong Chuan and Bartley, they will enjoy more seamless and direct travel to the city and other parts once CCL 3 commences operation.

More Circle Line stations will be opened

Commuters can also look forward to more stations on the Circle Line. This will enhance the reach and connectivity of the Circle Line, and allow many more people to benefit from the MRT.

‘We had earlier decided to build the Thomson and West Coast stations as shell stations and fit them out only when there are sufficient developments around them. As the pace of development around these stations is picking up, LTA will now fit out these stations and open them together with the other CCL stations,’ said Mr Lim.

‘To enhance the accessibility of the Marina Bay area to the rest of the island, LTA will also build and open the Marina Bay station as part of the CCL extension beyond Bayfront station in 2012.’

‘With all these developments that I have highlighted, commuters can look forward to new extensions or stages of new lines opening almost every other year until 2020.’

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 25th Jaunary 2008



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