Singapore

Three Thomson-East Coast Line stations to open in January

The first stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) - with three stations in Woodlands - will commence service before Chinese New Year in late January next year.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced this yesterday during a visit to the line's Mandai Depot.

There will be a few days of free travel for commuters before the opening so they can familiarise themselves with the new stations - Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South - and the connection to the North-South Line, he said.

"TEL's construction started in 2013, when the transport minister was Mr Lui Tuck Yew. When completed around 2024... it will be different transport minister," he said yesterday. "I will be using it as a passenger".

Singapore's sixth MRT line will be 43km long with 32 stations. Eight of these are interchange stations. The line links neighbourhoods such as Thomson, Toa Payoh, Marine Parade and Bedok to the Central Business District.

Mr Khaw said the TEL "will make our rail network more interconnected and resilient".

The line is being built and opened over a few stages.

"This way, commuters can benefit sooner - they need not wait for the entire line to be done first," he added.

TESTING

The nine trains for Stage 1 are already at the Mandai Depot, being tested and commissioned.

Full testing of the entire system will be done during the December school holidays.

Mr Khaw said: "The TEL is an example of how we plan long term and invest in infrastructure for future generations. Even as I speak, we have already started work for our seventh line - the Jurong Region Line - and the eighth - the Cross Island Line."

He noted in 2013, then transport minister Lui committed to bringing 80 per cent of households within a 10-minute walk of a train station by 2030.

Mr Khaw said: "We are now at 64 per cent. I am confident this 2030 target can be achieved."

He also thanked rail operator SMRT and its staff yesterday.

"When your friends are sound asleep, you are inspecting the tracks to ensure safe and reliable journeys for our commuters," he said.

Their efforts are paying off, with the North-South Line now at 1.4 million train-km between delays, the East-West Line at 800,000km and the Circle Line at 808,000km.

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Transport