How Will The Thomson-East Coast Line Increase Resilience of Singapore’s Rail Network

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Announced by Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2014, the Thomson-East Coast Line is Singapore’s sixth Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line. The full 43km long TEL will open progressively in 5 phases – with Stage 1 (from Woodlands North to Woodlands South stations) started operations in 2020, Stage 2 (from Springleaf to Caldecott) will start operations in 2021, and significant works will start on Stage 3 and Stage 4 soon. Stage 5 (from Bedok South to Sungei Bedok stations) is slated to open in 2026. The TEL1 and TEL2 lines will be operated by SMRT Trains Ltd.

TEL to Strengthen Resilience of the MRT Network
When fully operational, the TEL line will serve about 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, which will increase to more than 1 million commuters in the longer term. It will strengthen the resilience of Singapore’s rail network. By improving connectivity to different parts of Singapore, the TEL rail line will provide commuters with more alternative travel options.

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The construction of the Thomson-East Coast Line will contribute towards the subsequent growth of the rail network to 360km. The TEL line runs parallel to the North-South Line (NSL). It will increase the rail network’s resiliency in Singapore. Commuters will also experience travel time savings of up to 50 percent with the TEL. Along with the TEL, other new rail lines like the Circle Line and the Jurong Region Line will enable 80% of Singaporeans to live within 10min walking distance of a train station by 2030.

More Details about the TEL Line
The Thomson East Coast Line will have 31 stations, with 22 on the Thomson Line, and nine on the East Coastline. Three contractors working on the construction of stations on the Thomson Line are Penta-Ocean Construction, Gammon Construction, Taisei Corporation, KTC Civil Engineering Construction, Bachy Soletanche Singapore, Sinohydro Corporation, Sembcorp Design, and Construction, Nishimatsu Construction, Samsung CT Corporation, and a joint venture of Tiong Seng Contractor and Dongah Geological Engineering. The four-car trains to be used in the TEL will be delivered by a consortium comprising Kawasaki Heavy Industries, CSR Qingdao Sifang, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Singapore.

The Thomson-East Coast Line is being managed by transport operator – SMRT Trains. The company started operations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) when the first stage opened on 31 January 2020. Six more stations that will open in the second stage of TEL in 2021 will also be managed by SMRT. Commenting on the company’s efforts to improve TEL train services, SMRT CEO Neo Kian Hong said, “SMRT intends to extend Adopt-A-Station (AAS) and Adopt-An-Interchange (AAI) activities to the new TEL. The company will continue to roll out new services to provide a more enjoyable commuting experience for our commuters.”

Conclusion
The LTA of Singapore aims to improve land transport connectivity in the country by 2030. The Thomson-East Coast Line is a part of that vision. It will improve rail connectivity in the north-south corridors of Singapore as well as in the Central Business District (CBD) and the Marina Bay area. It is sure to enhance the resilience of the rail network by adding 31 stations and more travel options for people.

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