Sunday 17 August 2014

Thomson-East Coast Line: New MRT Links in the East

$6.8 billion East Coast line by 2024
9-station extension of Thomson Line will provide access to East Coast Park
By Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 16 Aug 2014

A NEW addition to Singapore's expanding rail network was announced yesterday - a 13km, nine-station line tracing the east coast shoreline which, for the first time, will allow picnickers to get to East Coast Park by MRT.

Extending from the recently announced Thomson Line - which has now been renamed the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) - it is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew revealed the plans yesterday at the Marina South Pier station - an extension of the North-South Line which will open soon. He said the eastern leg of the TEL is expected to cost $6.8 billion.

Mr Lui said the line will "run almost parallel" to the East-West Line and the future Downtown Line 3, adding: "When completed, rail capacity along the East-West corridor will increase by about 45 per cent."

Travel pattern studies have shown that this corridor accounts for the bulk of morning peak period volume.

First announced by then Communications Minister Yeo Cheow Tong in 2001, the eastern leg of the TEL will go through areas such as Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade and Siglap. It will serve several residential estates, such as condos in Tanjong Rhu and Bayshore, Housing Board flats in Marine Parade and Bedok South, and low-rise developments in Amber and Tanjong Katong roads.

Schools near the line include St Patrick's, CHIJ Katong, Tao Nan, Victoria School and St Andrew's Autism School. The line will also serve commercial and recreational facilities, such as the Singapore Indoor Stadium and Parkway Parade shopping centre.

Land Transport Authority chief executive Chew Hock Yong said there will be an underground walkway from Parkway Parade to the Marine Parade Community Building two streets away.

Using existing pedestrian underpasses, commuters will be able to get to East Coast Park, which is currently not near any MRT line.

The line will be the first in Singapore to offer underground bicycle parks at stations in Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Bayshore and Sungei Bedok.

Stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore will be completed by 2023, while Bedok South and Sungei Bedok stations will be ready by 2024 - along with a massive depot to be built next to the existing East-West Line depot in Upper Changi.

The facility will hold 220 trains from the East-West, Downtown and Thomson-East Coast lines, as well as 550 buses.

At its eastern tip, the TEL will have an interchange with Downtown Line 3, which will extend by 2.2km and have a station in Xilin. This extension will be completed by 2024. The TEL may eventually be extended to join Changi Airport's planned Terminal 5.

Tenders are expected to be called next year with construction starting in 2016.

The project will require more than 24,000 sq m of land to be acquired. The Singapore Land Authority said residential and industrial properties account for only about a quarter of that. The rest will be from the Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

Mr Kevin Kwee, the club's executive director, said the groundskeeping building, nursery and service areas will have to be moved.

But overall, the development "should be highly positive" as the club will have access to two MRT stations - Xilin and Sungei Bedok.

TEL will cut travel time for residents in east
New MRT line will shorten commute to areas like Orchard and the CBD
By Priscilla Goy And Lester Hio, The Straits Times, 16 Aug 2014

COMMUTERS living in the east can expect significantly shorter travelling times to the city and north when the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) opens in 2024.

A trip from East Coast Park to Orchard should take just 45 minutes, down from the current 75 minutes by bus.

Those commuting from Marine Parade to the central business district (CBD) by bus and train will halve their travel time to 20 minutes.

Ms Hazwani Lee, 29, an accounts executive, who lives in Upper East Coast, said that she will be glad not to have to squeeze with other commuters on the way to work in Raffles Place.

"There's only the East-West line to Raffles Place from the east, and it's always crowded in the morning," she said.

Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan said that the new line is an exciting development for residents in his constituency, including those who own cars.

"There are hardly any buses in these areas and residents have told me that they'd be willing to switch to public transport if MRT stations are built nearby," he said.

Three stations of the TEL - the Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park and Amber stations - are in his constituency. "Even if they have cars, we should promote the use of public transport," he added.

Rail connectivity has been a bugbear of commuters in the area.

Currently, residents have to take a bus to their destination or find their way to an East-West Line station.

"It takes me about 20 minutes to take a bus to Tanah Merah MRT station but in the future I just need five minutes to walk to Bayshore station," said recent university graduate Adam He, 24. He lives across from the new Bayshore station and is starting work near one-north in Buona Vista.

Even some property owners affected by land acquisition welcomed the new line.

St Patrick's School principal Adolphus Tan said the new line would benefit staff and students.

The new Marine Terrace station will be sited in a corner of the school.

But his school will have to give up some of its land - about 411 sq m or the size of two tennis courts - for the new MRT line.

Mr Patrick Mowe, a member of the management committee at Laguna Park condominium in Marine Parade, also welcomed the development despite having to give up 744 sq m of land.

The condominium's main entrance will have to be relocated but no homes will be affected.

"With the convenience of having a station right at our doorstep, I think there'd be hardly any hesitation in giving up that small plot of land," he said.

Affected residents sad but resigned to moving out
By Lester Hio And Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 16 Aug 2014

EVERY morning for the last 50 years or so, Mr Sim Chiang Lee has walked down a flight of stairs from his apartment to the ground floor to lift the metal shutters of his provision shop.

The owner of Sin Aik Provision Store along Tanjong Katong Road has affectionately been known by residents in the area as "er ge" or second elder brother in Mandarin.

By February next year, however, the 79-year-old will have to find both a new home and a way to make a living.

His provision shop and apartment sit in a three-storey apartment block that will have to make way for the Amber station of the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

"Where do you want me to move to? I've been living and working here since 1957," he said.

"Everyone knows me here. I can't bear to just pack up and leave my store and home."

The apartment block, which has a total of nine units, is one of the seven properties that will be fully acquired for the new MRT line, which will open in 2024. A total of over 24,000 sq m will be acquired from 15 properties.

Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Cheng, shared Mr Sim's sentiments. Said the 66-year-old retiree: "I've lived here for over 40 years and watched all my children grow up here."

Six houses along Amber Road will also be fully acquired.

While residents declined to be quoted, the general sentiment was one of resignation, even from those who renovated their homes recently.

One resident, who has been living there for six years, said: "I just can't see myself living anywhere else."

Property owners affected by partial land acquisition, however, were more welcoming of the new MRT line.

Eight plots will be partially acquired, including 17,656 sq m - or about the size of two football fields - from Laguna National Golf & Country Club.

While their golf courses will not be affected, the club will have to move a maintenance shed.

When the line is completed, the club will have two stations nearby - Sungei Bedok of the new TEL line, and Xilin of the new Downtown Line extension.

"The land plot acquired is just 0.01 per cent of our total land area and the upsides outweigh the downsides," said Mr Patrick Bowers, the club's chief executive and managing director.

Sheltered bicycle parking at 4 stops on new MRT line
By Lester Hio, The Straits Times, 20 Aug 2014

COME rain or shine, cyclists can rest easy parking their bicycles at four stations on the new Thomson-East Coast Line.

Their bicycles will be sheltered from the elements in underground bicycle parking areas at stations in Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Bayshore and Sungei Bedok which will open by 2024.

These parking areas are a first for MRT stations in Singapore and will be located at the station's concourse level.

Lifts and ramps will be installed so that cyclists can push their bicycles to the parking areas before heading over to fare gates on the same level.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that building the underground bicycle parking areas would be more cost efficient.

Underground bicycle parks are are gaining popularity in crowded and urbanised cities.

In Tokyo, for example, cyclists can push their bikes into automated booths which store the bikes some 11m, or about four storeys, underground.

The underground bicycle parking is part of LTA's push to make cycling a more attractive first- and last-mile option.

In estates where cycling is popular - such as Pasir Ris and Yishun - MRT stations there have more than 700 spots for bicycles.

LTA added that it is looking to increase the number of bike stands at some stations, but did not say which ones.

Miss Lynette Wong, who works in advertising and cycles occasionally, welcomed the addition of more lots at MRT stations.

"At crowded stations such as Pasir Ris, there are bicycles everywhere, and sometimes people are not sure where they can or cannot park," said the 23-year- old.

Currently, LTA is installing racks for 3,000 bicycles at 32 stations.

This will be completed by the end of the year.

In March this year, the Government also announced an additional 500 racks to be installed across 11 MRT stations, including Joo Koon, Potong Pasir and Toa Payoh.

LTA says work on these racks is expected to start soon.

$6.2 billion four-in-one depot
By Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 16 Aug 2014

AN ARTIST'S impression of the "four-in-one" depot to be built next to the Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

It will hold 220 trains from three MRT lines - the East-West, Downtown and Thomson-East Coast - as well as 550 buses.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it is the first such facility in the world.

At 36ha, it is also three times the size of the underground Kim Chuan depot, for trains from the Circle Line.

The LTA pointed out that the new depot - which will have underground, surface and elevated levels - will save 44ha of land that would have been required if separate facilities were to be built.

Part of this space is a plot currently occupied by the East-West Line depot.

The new depot will cost $6.2 billion.

New MRT line may perk up home sales
TEL expected to boost property prospects on the East Coast
By Rennie Whang, The Straits Times, 23 Aug 2014

THE upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will ease transport woes for many thousands of commuters and help send home prices north, consultants said.

The 13km stretch could transform the area's prospects overnight by bringing the central business district and other parts of the island within striking distance.

"For a long time, residents in the East Coast have been relying on buses or private transport," noted OrangeTee research head Christine Li in a report yesterday.

"With better accessibility, existing and future properties in the area will benefit positively in the long run."

The line is set to pass through Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Amber, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap, Bayshore, Bedok South and Sungei Bedok, according to a Land Transport Authority announcement last week.

It will significantly cut travelling time to the central city and the northern part of Singapore.

A resident going from Marine Parade to Shenton Way will halve his journey time from 40 to 20 minutes, for example.

Colliers International research and advisory director Chia Siew Chuin said private residential areas from Tanjong Rhu through to Marine Parade and the boutique developments in Siglap and Bayshore will enjoy the most accessibility as they do not have MRT access now.

"Moving further east to Bedok South, the impact could be less, as residents there have had some access to the Bedok and Tanah Merah MRT stations," she added.

Ms Li said 99-year leasehold condominiums such as Casuarina Cove, Tanjong Ria Condominium and Water Place in Tanjong Rhu could be among the winners, while the freehold Meyer Residence and The Belvedere in Katong Park are near enough to benefit as well. At Amber Road, projects that may enjoy some lift are mostly small to medium-sized freehold apartments like Aalto, Amber Point and King's Mansion, she added.

Condominiums at Marine Parade like Cote D'Azur, The Palladium and The Seaview could enjoy price gains as could projects in Siglap and Bayshore such as Lagoon View, Laguna Park, Elliot at the East Coast, Bayshore Park, The Bayshore and Costa Del Sol.

Median prices of non-landed properties near the stations ranges from $905 at Sungei Bedok to $1,547 at Katong Park, noted SLP International research head Nicholas Mak.

He estimated that some property owners may increase their asking prices by 5 to 10 per cent over the next few months - as seen when the stations were announced for the North-East Line (NEL).

"People just wanted to capitalise on the news and they knew that their property would eventually appreciate. Granted, that was when the market was more buoyant," Mr Mak added.

But the full benefits would only be reaped when the line nears completion, he added, suggesting that the sweet spot would be a 24-month period, one year before and one after the service gets going. Mr Mak, who based his estimates on when the NEL came into operation, believes there could be a 10 to 12 per cent rise in prices over that two-year period.

Some upcoming projects in the area include CapitaLand's 124-unit Marine Blue at Marine Parade Road, which has not yet been launched, and 109-unit Amber Skye at Amber Road, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Amber Skye, a joint venture between China Sonangol Land and OKP Land, had launched 28 units as at the end of last month, with five selling.

Mr Ong said the MRT stations would help sales move faster but would probably not result in developers raising their selling prices.

"If developers peg prices competitively to attract buyers, especially investors, project sales will move faster. A convenient location will make it easier for investors or landlords to rent out their property."

But should the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework stick around, projects priced at $1,400 to $2,000 psf would not have much interest as that is the price range where buyers still need a loan - a far harder task these days, he added.

Four-car system optimal for Thomson-East Coast Line

WE THANK Mr Ong Hwee Eng for his letter ("New MRT line: Plan for six-car system"; Sept 3).

The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will serve public transport demand along the north-south and eastern corridors, linking housing estates like Sin Ming, Tanjong Rhu and Marine Parade, which were previously not served by the rail network, to the city.

In the planning of new rail lines, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) considers factors such as projected population growth and ridership figures, the role the line plays in an expanding rail network, and commuter travel patterns, taking into account the distribution of residential units and employment sectors across Singapore.

Compared to a four-car system, a six-car system would need substantially higher land-take for larger stations and depots, and potentially more land acquisitions with impact on homes and families.

The LTA must therefore weigh these considerations against the need for a higher-capacity system.

The north-south corridor is at present served by the North-South Line, which operates on a six-car system. The opening of the Thomson stretch of TEL from 2019 will bring about additional capacity along the same corridor.

Commuters in the east can currently take the East-West Line, a six-car system.

From 2017, they will have another option to take the Downtown Line 3, a three-car system; and from 2023, the East Coast stretch of TEL.

The TEL is therefore designed to build on existing and planned capacity.

The LTA has assessed that a four-car system is optimal for the TEL. At the same time, it is a significant expansion that enhances accessibility and connectivity for commuters.

Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority
ST Forum, 15 Sep 2014

Wait, what? There’s more #goodnews this Friday? Yes folks, we are now one step closer to constructing and completing the...
Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Easties rejoice! If you live near the East Coast stretch of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), here’s some good...
Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Monday, January 25, 2016

* Thomson-East Coast MRT line may be extended to airport
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 22 Jul 2016

The upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) could be lengthened to provide a direct train link between the city and Changi Airport.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed yesterday that the Government is studying the feasibility of extending the 43km MRT line, which is expected to open in stages from 2019 to 2024.

"It would provide a direct connection from the airport to the city," said Mr Khaw during a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of works for the TEL's East Coast stretch. MRT commuters currently have to transfer to an airport shuttle service at Tanah Merah station on the East-West Line.

Plans to extend the TEL were considered by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as far back as three years ago. If they materialise, the TEL will carry on from its last eastern stop at Sungei Bedok Station to the future Terminal 5 and to the existing Changi Airport MRT station that serves Terminals 1 to 3, and Terminal 4, which opens next year.

The LTA said that, if the extension is given the green light, it will come into operation "in tandem" with T5, which will be completed in the second half of the 2020s.

Studies will also look into linking the proposed 50km Cross-Island Line (CRL) with T5 and the new industrial zone serving the airport.

Mr Khaw said that this would complement the future high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as the CRL will be linked to the HSR's Jurong East terminus. A traveller could travel from KL Sentral all the way to Changi Airport using the HSR and MRT, and vice versa, he said.

On Tuesday, Singapore and Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding for the 350km HSR, which will take commuters to Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes when it is launched in 2026.

Mr Khaw, who also announced the start of construction for the East Coast Integrated Depot and the Downtown Line 3 extension to Sungei Bedok, said extending the TEL and CRL would allow commuters "to get from all parts of the island to the airport with no more than one transfer".

While construction of the 22-station, 30km Thomson stretch of the TEL is in full swing, yesterday's ground-breaking kicked off works for the East Coast segment, made up of nine stations.

The entire East Coast stretch is being built on reclaimed land, and this poses a challenge, said LTA group director for the TEL and CRL Ng Kee Nam. "Due to the extremely soft seabed underlying the reclaimed land", he explained, the earth-retaining walls will go underground to 60m - the height of 20 storeys - instead of the typical 25m.

Mr Ng said that a part of Tanjong Rhu station's tunnel will be built just 40cm above the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway tunnel. "We have to install steel sheet piles into the ground to retain the soil to ensure stability of both tunnels," he said.

** 3 stations on Thomson-East Coast Line to open in January 2020
Commuters to get a few days of free travel to familiarise themselves before opening: Khaw
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Sep 2019

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 that they can familiarise themselves with the new stations - Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South - and the connection to the North-South Line, he said.

In January, Mr Khaw had said the first stage would open before Christmas this year.

"TEL's construction started in 2013, when the transport minister was Mr Lui Tuck Yew. When completed around 2024... it will be a 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.

It was also supposed to have services from Woodlands to a northern extension that goes into Johor Baru. But after repeated delays, the project is on hold until the end of this month.

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

He noted that stations will have more entrances and exits than existing lines, enhancing connectivity.

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.

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.

The TEL project is complex, Mr Khaw said. The line is fully underground and requires tunnelling through different earth conditions.

The construction of Woodlands North station involved the excavation of more than 100,000 cubic m of granite - enough to fill up 40 Olympic-size swimming pools.

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 that 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 that this 2030 target can be achieved."

The minister 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.

The 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.

The Bukit Panjang LRT is also being renewed, and Mr Khaw said "it is now running more reliably than last year". "But we will only see its full potential when the trains and signalling system are fully renewed by 2022," he said. "I seek commuters' patience and understanding."

Retired lawyer Chia Quee Khee, 74, said: "I am waiting for Katong Park station to open. It is three minutes' walk from my house."

***  Tunnelling for Thomson-East Coast Line completed on time
It marks major milestone for 32-station line created in 2014; focus now shifts to building stations, interior fittings
By Wong Kai Yi, The Sunday Times, 24 Nov 2019

Tunnelling work for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) has been completed on schedule, with the focus now shifting to building the stations along the line and interior fittings.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Sunday Times that tunnelling had been expected to be completed "by the end of 2019".

The completion of tunnelling operations marks a major milestone for the 32-station line, which was created on Aug 15, 2014 with the merger of the Thomson Line and Eastern Region Line.

Around 32km of the 43km line was built using tunnel boring machines with the remaining 11km constructed using other methods.

"By adopting state-of-the-art techniques and adapting technologies where appropriate, we have safely tunnelled under varied ground and site conditions - from heavily built-up areas to localities where there are water bodies and varied soil conditions," said Dr Goh Kok Hun, director of civil design and land at the LTA.

Professor Yong Kwet Yew, the co-chairman of the international panel of advisers for the TEL, said construction faced the same challenging site and ground conditions as the Downtown and Circle lines.

"On top of these challenges, TEL has more frequent and more intricate over-crossing and under-crossing of existing structures," he said.

Some of the engineering solutions to those challenges, Prof Yong added, were "adapted and improved" from the methods used to overcome "significant" challenges in the construction of the Downtown and Circle lines.

Real-time monitoring methods were used to detect anomalies during construction to minimise the impact on the environment, the LTA said.

One of the more notable technologies was "ground freezing", which was used for the first time in building an MRT line.

Freezing the water-logged earth formed ice walls and enabled safe tunnelling, the LTA said.

The Woodlands, Caldecott, Stevens, Orchard, Outram Park, Marina Bay and Sungei Bedok stations will be interchanges.

The first stage - comprising Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South stations - is scheduled to open before Chinese New Year next year, having been pushed back a month.

Stage 2 will open later next year with the remaining stages opening progressively until 2024.

SMRT Trains will operate the line for an initial nine-year period on an Incentives-Disincentives framework piloted by the LTA.

The firm will have its fee pegged to its performance in the key areas of service reliability, customer satisfaction and operations and maintenance processes. It will receive an incentive payment for out-performance, and conversely, have its service fee deducted if it does not meet expectations.

****  Stage 2 of Thomson-East Coast MRT Line to open on 28 Aug 2021
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 1 Jul 2021

Transport Minister S. Iswaran said yesterday that the new six-station stretch - connecting Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations - "would not have been possible without the hard work, adaptability and personal sacrifices of our technicians, engineers and ground staff".

Delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, stage two of the line (TEL2) will have two interchanges - Caldecott, with the Circle Line; and Bright Hill, with the future Cross Island Line.

Mr Iswaran said the TEL will enhance the resilience of the rail network. When fully opened in the latter half of this decade, the TEL will have interchanges with five existing MRT lines (North-South, East-West, North East, Circle and Downtown) as well as the Cross Island Line.

When the TEL is completed, more than 240,000 current and future households will be within a 10-minute walk of a station along the line, Mr Iswaran said.

TEL1 and TEL2 alone will benefit about 100,000 households, he said.

TEL1 - the first stage of the line, a three-station stretch from Woodlands North to Woodlands South - opened in January last year.

Speaking at Caldecott station, Mr Iswaran pointed out that the station is near the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Lighthouse School, which has students with sensory impairments.

"To better support visually impaired commuters, TEL's lift buttons, platform seats and signs will have greater colour contrasts," he said.

Lighting will also be installed in the handrails of staircases, to enhance the visibility of the steps.

For seniors and commuters with mobility difficulties, there will be backrests and handrails on seats at the station platform.

Mr Iswaran pointed out that TEL stations have more entrances to provide better connectivity.

For instance, Mayflower station has seven entrances linking to places such as Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Mayflower primary and secondary schools and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School; Upper Thomson station has five entrances near places such as Soo Chow estate, Thomson Plaza and Church of the Holy Spirit.

The Land Transport Authority said construction of TEL2 posed several engineering challenges.

For example, no fewer than 15 traffic diversions had to be made for Mayflower station, and construction in parts was as close as 5m to Housing Board blocks.

At Bright Hill station, site conditions meant that some 1,500 secant bored piles - structures to prevent earth movement - were installed.

The LTA revealed that each pile, which goes into hard rock, could take more than a day to penetrate 10cm. Some of these piles were only 2m from HDB blocks.

Meanwhile, Caldecott station saw the excavation of Singapore's largest mined tunnels. Each measured 13m high by 23m wide by 62m long. The excavation involved removing 160,000 cubic m of rocks - enough to fill 64 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The 43km, 32-station TEL is expected to have an average ridership of 500,000 initially, rising to one million in the longer term. The line, which will run from Woodlands to Bedok, will also connect to the upcoming cross-border rapid transit line to Johor Baru.




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