The second stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL2) is about 90 per cent complete, and on track to open in the later part of 2020.
Thomson-East Coast Line comprises six stations from Springleaf to Caldecott, with two interchange stations at Bright Hill and Caldecott. Bright Hill station will link to the future Cross Island Line, while Caldecott station will link to the existing Circle Line (CCL).
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.
Springleaf station is located along Upper Thomson Road, between Thong Soon Green and Springleaf Road. LTA took steps before and during the construction of Springleaf stations to minimise impact on nearby shop tenants and residents, including briefing them of the works early on.
LTA also worked closely with Singapore PowerGrid to ensure that its cable tunnel which runs through Springleaf station could be constructed without interruptions.
The location of Lentor station is adjacent to the residential areas. Residents of Lentor Estate and Teacher’s Estate can soon look forward to greater accessibility to the city centre via this station.
To minimize impact to nearby residences and high-rise developments, top-down construction was adopted for the construction of the station box and entrances. Extensive studies were conducted to identify the network of utility services located within the work zone, to prevent any disruptions that could affect the neighbouring estates.
Mayflower Station is located in the mature Ang Mo Kio and Kebun Baru estate. The barrier-free entrances of Mayflower station allow commuters, especially elderly residents, to access the station easily. The station will bring rail connectivity to schools, community amenities and residential developments in the Kebun Baru estate, such as CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School, Mayflower Secondary School, Ang Mo Kio Primary School and the Kebun Baru Community Club.
As the station is situated on a sloping terrain directly underneath Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, surrounded by densely-built residential developments, multiple stages of traffic diversion had to be implemented to facilitate the construction of the station while minimising inconvenience to the public.
Bright Hill Station
Bright Hill station is located along Sin Ming Avenue. The station’s entrance locations were chosen to serve residents of Sin Ming Garden, Faber Garden and Gardens at Bishan, as well as Ai Tong Primary School. The station provides residents and students future direct connectivity to the city centre as well as the eastern region of Singapore.
Due to the presence of hard granite around Bright Hill station, it was a challenge to install more than 1,500 secant bored piles, which were required for the Earth Retaining Stabilising Structures (ERSS) for the station before excavation work could commence.
As the area is highly urbanised, the tunnels from Bright Hill station towards its adjacent stations required tunnelling under an existing low-rise residential building. To ensure safety, enhancement work was carried out to strengthen the building’s foundation system prior to tunnelling work.
Upper Thomson Station
The station will serve the neighbouring residential estates such as Soo Chow Estate, as well as developments such as Thomson Plaza, Church of the Holy Spirit, and various dining establishments.
As the station is located directly beneath the busy Upper Thomson Road and flanked by two rows of terrace houses, traffic diversions and canal diversion adjacent to Soo Chow Estate were implemented in phases to support the various stages of construction.
To reduce inconvenience to residents and commuters, a section of the linkway underneath Upper Thomson Road to Entrance B was constructed using the pipe roof and tunnel method. This involved using a retractable micro tunnel boring machine to install circular pipes horizontally to form the ERSS before mining excavation was carried out.
Caldecott station will bring further convenience and connectivity to commuters working and residing in the Thomson Road and Toa Payoh Rise estates. This interchange with the CCL will also provide easier access to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, Lighthouse School, Mount Alvernia Hospital, St Joseph Institute International (SJII) and MacRitchie Reservoir.
To avoid impacting SJII, the mined tunnel construction method was adopted as it would not require ground excavation. It is the largest mined tunnel ever constructed in Singapore in a mixed soil condition. The station has been designed as a four-level underground station, and a total of 160,000m3 of granite was removed using the electronic blasting method.