Thomson-East Coast Line will be most accessible MRT line in Singapore

Visit the LTA's roadshows and get an idea of what it takes to build those MRT tunnels as well as learn about rail expansion plans.
Visit the LTA's roadshows and get an idea of what it takes to build those MRT tunnels as well as learn about rail expansion plans.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

It has average of 4 entrances at each station, against 2 to 3 for other lines

When completed in 2024, the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will have an average of four entrances at every MRT station, offering the most accessibility among all the rail lines.

The North-South, East-West and North-East lines have an average of three entrances at every station, while the Circle Line (CCL) and Downtown Line (DTL) have two entrances per station.

Of TEL's 31 stations, Mayflower in Ang Mo Kio will be the most accessible with seven entrances.

Despite the increase in the average number of access points, Singapore is still far behind Hong Kong's MTR system, which has 557 entrances for 84 stations, or six access points per station.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said designing stations with more entrances is part of its efforts to "improve first and last mile connectivity".

Some of the entrances on the East Coast stretch will be connected to longer underpasses of up to 400m, it added.

Mr Erwin Seah, 34, a computer engineer, said he is looking forward to the Marine Parade Station, which will be near the underpass to East Coast Park.

"The only way to get to East Coast Park now is by bus. It will be good for pak tor (dating) sessions with my wife," he said.

Commuters who want to know more about the new stations can visit the LTA exhibition which opened at Parkway Parade yesterday. The exhibition, which charts the milestones of Singapore's rail system, will move on to Thomson Plaza, Bedok Mall, Katong 112 and public libraries.

Visitors will be able to see models of rail infrastructure and what engineers use to build tunnels. The roadshow, which ends in May, will also feature anecdotes from LTA's veteran engineers.

LTA's senior group director of rail, Mr Sim Wee Meng, said that with different rail lines at varied stages of construction, Singapore is now being studied by other countries.

"From engineering design to... testing and commissioning... we offer the full suite for them to see," said Mr Sim, an LTA veteran of 31 years.

The exhibition also charts the challenges engineers faced in building Singapore's first rail lines.

LTA's deputy group director of rail for the CCL and DTL, Mr Ng Kee Nam, recalls feeling giddy in the early 1980s when compressed air tunnelling was used to build tunnels.

"They warded me for one week... I couldn't work in the tunnel anymore and ended up at the station, which wasn't bad too," he said.

adrianl@sph.com.sg