Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 starts operations serving commuters

Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 opening ceremony was held on 27 August

Thomson–East Coast Line Stage 2
image: Ministry of Transport

Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 (TEL2) opening ceremony was held on Friday, in the lead up to the commencement of passenger service from 28 August. Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean attended the ceremony held at Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 Mayflower station.

Minister for Transport S Iswaran, advisers such as Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat and representatives from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped were also present. Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Amy Khor and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng also joined the ceremony virtually from Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 Springleaf station, along with representatives from nearby businesses.

Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 spans 13km and comprises six stations, namely Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott.

With the opening of TEL2, 100,000 households will be within a 10-minute walk from a TEL station. This includes residents in the Thomson area who were previously not served directly by a rail line. With the new Caldecott station being an interchange with the Circle Line (CCL), residents in the north will have more travelling options.

Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that it hopes that with the increased rail connectivity, motorists will try out the new TEL2 and experience the convenience of travelling by public transport more regularly.

LTA said commuters will also enjoy shorter journeys with TEL2. For example, a Sin Ming resident travelling to Republic Polytechnic will have his journey time halved, from the current 50 minutes via bus and train to 25 minutes by TEL. Similarly, a resident staying in the Mayflower area will be able to get to Jurong East in 40 minutes by train, as compared to 60 minutes via bus and train today.

Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 is designed with the community in mind, with multiple station entrances for the convenience of the commuters. It also incorporates inclusive features such as high colour contrast signages and lift buttons, lighting along handrails of staircases, as well as platform seats with backrest and arm support, to cater to seniors and visually-impaired commuters.

When TEL2 opens, trains will be running along TEL1 and TEL2 stations from Woodlands North to Caldecott at frequencies of five minutes during peak hours and nine minutes during off-peak hours. As ridership increases, the frequencies for both peak and off-peak hours will be reviewed.

With more stages of TEL opening in the coming years, residents living along the TEL corridor will have a faster and more direct option to travel towards the city centre via the train.

LTA said it will also monitor changes in travel patterns, in particular for bus services which duplicate the TEL, and make adjustments to these services where necessary to optimise the bus network and reallocate resources to other areas of need.

The 43km Thomson-East Coast Line is Singapore’s sixth MRT line, adding 32 new stations to the existing rail network, with eight interchange stations in total.

The line will open in five stages starting from this year to 2024. The first stage of Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL1), made up of Woodlands North, Woodlands, and Woodlands South MRT stations, will begin passenger service on 31 January 2020.

About 100,000 households will benefit from TEL1 and TEL2, as they are now within a 10-minute walk from one of the nine stations. These residents will be able to experience travel time savings of up to 50 per cent. For example, a Sin Ming resident travelling to Republic Polytechnic will have his journey time halved, from 50 minutes to 25 minutes.

When fully operational in 2024, the Thomson-East Coast Line is expected to serve approximately 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, rising to about one million commuters in the longer term (except for Founders’ Memorial Station which will open in tandem with the memorial).

Besides enhancing connectivity between the northern, central, and eastern parts of Singapore, the Thomson-East Coast Line will strengthen the resilience of our rail network by providing alternative travel routes for commuters on other lines. As the TEL runs parallel to the North-South Line (NSL), it will also help to reduce reliance and crowdedness on the NSL.

Mr Paul Ho, chief officer at iCompareLoan, said: “The Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 opening is good news for the many properties which are situated near the MRT stations. It will raise the value of their properties.”

“The low interest rate environment and the liquidity situation means that the many private properties that are situated along this MRT line may find good buyers,” he added.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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