Cross Island Line: Linking people to jobs

Paranomic view of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve from Jelutong Tower. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The Cross Island Line, announced in January 2013, is a 50km MRT line stretching from Pasir Ris in the north-east to Jurong in the west.

According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority Master Plan 2014, the line will link a fast-growing residential district in the north-east to Singapore's largest industrial hub in the west.

As it goes westwards, it will pass through Loyang, Punggol, Hougang and Ang Mo Kio before reaching Sin Ming. From there, it will go towards Bukit Timah, Clementi and West Coast before terminating at the Jurong Industrial Estate.

Besides linking residents to jobs, the line will serve the upcoming "creative cluster and learning corridor" in Punggol, which will include the Singapore Institute of Technology's new campus.

The line is also part of an overall strategy to build some redundancy into the rail network to mitigate the impact of disruptions.

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport deputy chairman Ang Hin Kee, who is also an Ang Mo Kio GRC MP, said: "People in Ang Mo Kio, for example, are served only by the North-South Line. If there are repairs or maintenance work on that line, they have no other rail option."

The Cross Island Line is also likely to stop at the proposed terminus of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail line in Jurong East.

When completed in 2030, it will facilitate access to Singapore's seaport, which will move to Tuas by then. The line will provide relief to the already heavily used 57km East-West Line.

The Punggol-Pasir Ris stretch of the Cross Island Line will also form the first leg of the North Shore Line - a yet-to-be announced MRT line that links Pasir Ris to Woodlands.

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), residents in Punggol will be able to travel to Pasir Ris in 10 to 15 minutes, compared with a 40-minute bus ride today.

The project will be unlike current MRT lines. For instance, trains are likely to have more carriages - eight cars each, or more. Current lines have three- to six-car trains. LTA declined to confirm this, saying only that the Cross Island Line is a "heavy-load" system.

The Straits Times understands the line will be the first to have "scalable" platforms, which can be expanded. This will allow the operator to start off with say, six-car trains, and add more cars per train as ridership picks up.

LTA is also considering express services for the line. This would cut end-to-end travel time, about an hour or so on the current lines.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline Cross Island Line: Linking people to jobs. Subscribe