Downtown Line: Peak-hour trains to arrive every 4 mins

SBS Transit staff at the Downtown Line Stage 1 temporary operations control centre in Kim Chuan Depot.
SBS Transit staff at the Downtown Line Stage 1 temporary operations control centre in Kim Chuan Depot.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

They will arrive every 5 minutes at other times on 9-minute-long route

Commuters can expect trains to arrive every four minutes at Downtown Line stations during peak periods.

At other times, they will arrive every five minutes on the six-station Downtown Line Stage 1 (DTL1), which opens on Sunday.

The peak periods are from 7.30am to 9.30am, 12pm to 2pm and 5.30pm to 7.30pm, said Mr Alex Goei, senior vice-president for rail operations of SBS Transit, the line operator.

Speaking to reporters yesterday at the DTL1 temporary operations control centre (OCC) in Kim Chuan Depot, Mr Goei said it takes about nine minutes to travel the 4.3km stretch of DTL1 from Chinatown to Bugis.

The other four stations on the line are Telok Ayer, Downtown, Bayfront and Promenade (pictured below).

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SBS Transit expect an initial daily ridership of about 75,000 after the line opens. It is expected to hit at least 500,000 after all three stages open in 2017.

Train frequency on the other MRT lines ranges from two minutes to seven minutes during peak and off-peak periods.

Kim Chuan Depot is the base for SMRT's Circle Line operations. SBS Transit will share the facility till its DTL depot in Gali Batu, off Woodlands Road, is ready in 2015.

The OCC serves as the nerve centre for an MRT line. There will typically be seven staff manning the DTL1 OCC at any time.

Controllers there are able to monitor operations along the entire line via a screen that displays the location of each train along the tracks or at the stations.

Any faults, such as signalling failures, will be flagged. OCC staff will then act to correct the fault, either by resetting the train system remotely, or directing station staff to do so.

For instance, a station staff member has to board a train and and do a manual reset if its emergency brake is activated, said Mr Goei. Like the North-East Line and Circle Line, DTL trains are fully automated and driverless.

Mr Goei said SBS Transit has run "countless" tests over the past three months to minimise the chances of teething problems. The operator has also conducted simulations of various failures and joint exercises with the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

He said: "We try to be as close to the actual situation as possible, so we can be prepared for any kind of failure."

Commuters can take free rides on the DTL1 for 11 days after it opens, till Jan 1. For example, a commuter travelling from Kallang to Downtown station will have to exit at Bugis and re-enter the latter station again to enjoy free travel from Bugis to Downtown.