It’s common knowledge that the government has quite a number of rail expansion plans prepared.
In fact, many of these plans had been announced more than a decade ago.
Waiting for said plans to finally, finally be completed has been torturous—especially when COVID-19 keeps on being a wet blanket.
Now, some of the wait is finally coming to an end.
2nd Stage of the Thomson-East Coast to Open in End of August
On Wednesday (30 Jun), Transport Minister S. Iswaran announced that the second stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will begin operations on 28 August.
The second stage comprises of a new six-station stretch which will connect Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson, and Caldecott stations. Of these six stations, there will be two interchanges at Bright Hill and Caldecott stations, with the future Cross Island Line (CRL) and the Circle Line (CCL) respectively.
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According to Mr Iswaran, this six-station stretch “would not have been possible without the hard work, adaptability and personal sacrifices of our technicians, engineers and ground staff.”
The TEL will enhance the resilience of the rail network, said Mr Iswaran. The TEL, when it fully opens in the latter half of the decade around 2025, will interchange with five exiting MRT lines (North-South, East-West, North-East, Circle, and Downtown), as well as the future CRL.
Mr Iswaran said that with the completion of the TEL, more than 240,000 current and future households will be within a ten-minute walk from a station along the line. From just the opening of the first and second stage of the TEL alone, more than 100,000 households will benefit, added Ms Iswaran.
The first stage of the TEL, which opened in January 2020, consists of a three station stretch connecting Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South.
New Stations Designed With Greater Inclusivity
Speaking with regard to Caldecott station, Mr Iswaran pointed out that the station is located near the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Lighthouse School.
“To better support visually impaired commuters, TEL’s lift buttons, platform seats and signages will have greater colour contrasts,” said Mr Iswaran.
He added that lighting would also be installed into the handrails of staircases, to enhance the visibility of the steps.
There would also be backrests and handrails on seats at the station platform for seniors and commuters with mobility difficulties.
According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the TEL is expected to have an average ridership of 500,000 initially, rising to one million in the longer term. The TEL will span 43km across 32 stations, running from Woodlands to Bedok.
The line will also connect to the upcoming cross-border rapid transit line to Johor Bahru.
Delayed Due to COVID-19
The second stage of the TEL was originally scheduled to open after July 2020. However, its completion date was delayed by three months due to the impact of COVID-19.
Instead, it was then set to open only in the first quarter of 2021. However, it was again announced in December last year that the opening date would be pushed back by another six months, till the third quarter of 2021.
Feature Image: Facebook (Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving)
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