TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Meet the more ambitious MRT Thomson Line

It'll now run 30km over 22 stations using a wider 4-car system.

Additional changes which will lengthen and add capacity to the Thomson Line will push back its launch timeline by a year from 2018 to 2019.

In a release, Mr Chew Hock Yong, Chief Executive of Land Transport Authority (LTA), said plans have been finalised for the alignment of the Thomson Line.

Also, "after extensive studies and detailed planning, we have decided to make significant changes to the preliminary alignment and plans conceived for the Thomson Line when we launched the Land Transport Masterplan (LTMP) in 2008," the transport honcho said.

"First, Thomson Line will now be 30 km long, 3 km longer than envisaged. Secondly, there will be a total of 22 stations, 4 more than in the original plan. Thirdly, we have decided that the Thomson Line would be a 4-car system, instead of a 3-car system, to give us additional capacity to cope with any increase in long-term demand." he said.

"To accommodate these adjustments, we now expect Thomson Line to be ready from 2019 onwards, instead of the indicative timeline of 2018 announced in the LTMP. We will be opening Thomson Line progressively in three stages from the north to the south - the first phase in 2019, the second phase in 2020, and the entire line by 2021," he added.

"The Thomson Line will add greatly to the accessibility and connectivity of our rail network, with interchanges to all our other five MRT lines. It will run through the north-south corridor, starting in the Woodlands North area, passing through the industrial estate of Sin Ming, down to the residential Thomson area and the shopping districts of Orchard and Marina, before ending at Gardens by the Bay. Residents in the heartlands of Sembawang, Nee Soon, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh and Moulmein-Kallang will benefit from faster and more direct connections to the city. For instance, Singaporeans in Sin Ming travelling to Gardens by the Bay would save 25 minutes of travelling time from the current 65 minutes for this journey," he said.

"As one of our major lines, the Thomson Line is expected to be built at an estimated cost of around $18 billion. The line is anticipated to have a daily ridership of about 400,000 commuters in the initial years. When fully operational, an estimated 60,000 households will be within 400m, and another 100,000 households between 400m and 800m from one of the Thomson Line Stations, or a comfortable 10-12 minute walk away. Over time, as the areas around these stations are further developed, even more households will enjoy direct access to a Thomson Line MRT station," he said further.

Additionally, the LTA chief executive said engineering studies have been initiated for the seventh MRT line, the Eastern Region Line (ERL). "The plan is for the Thomson Line to connect eastwards from the Marina Bay area to the ERL."

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