SINGAPORE - A total of 11 stations in the third stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), stretching from Stevens through Outram Park and Orchard to Gardens by the Bay, will start ferrying paying passengers on Nov 13.
To celebrate the opening, all passengers will be able to ride the trains for free on Nov 11 between the new stations.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday announced the opening date of the stations spanning 13.2km.
It said the free rides are available from 10am to 9pm, and a series of activities will be held on Nov 11 to mark the stations’ opening. The public can have a preview and familiarise themselves with the stations then, LTA added.
The 11 stations that are opening are Stevens, Napier, Orchard Boulevard, Orchard, Great World, Havelock, Outram Park, Maxwell, Shenton Way, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay.
They include four interchange stations. From the TEL, Stevens connects to the Downtown Line, Orchard station to the North-South Line, Outram Park to the East-West and North-East lines and Marina Bay to the Circle and North-South lines.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran, who took the TEL train from Outram Park station to Maxwell station on Friday, said TEL is a very important addition to Singapore’s MRT network.
The line intersects with key stations on existing MRT lines, he said. The third stage of the TEL will also cut down the travel time of some 80,000 households, reducing the time taken to get, for instance, from Woodlands South to Orchard from 50 minutes to 35 minutes.
He said engineering challenges have been quite significant for this section of the line, which runs through densely packed and heritage areas.
“We’ve been able to complete this in a scheduled manner because of the cooperation we’ve had from residents and businesses in the adjoining areas, who have had to put up with several inconveniences when construction was taking place,” he said.
With the opening of these 11 stations, a total of 20 TEL stations will be in operation.
Ten more stations, stretching from Founders’ Memorial in Marina East to Sungei Bedok, will open in two stages by 2025.
Stage three of the TEL also contains two other stations – Mount Pleasant and Marina South. These will not be opened on Nov 13, and the Transport Ministry has said they will begin operations only when housing developments around them are ready. This is to make sure they are well used.
When it is fully functional, the TEL line is expected to be used by about 500,000 people daily, a number that will later increase to one million.
LTA on Friday said the opening of TEL will increase the resilience of Singapore’s MRT lines by lessening the load on the North-South Line, which has segments running parallel to the TEL.
It also takes Singapore one step closer to its 2040 target of having nine in 10 trips to the city completed in under 45 minutes.
Before this, nine TEL stations from Woodlands North to Caldecott were opened in two stages in January 2020 and August 2021.