The first phase of the Cross Island Line - Singapore's longest fully underground MRT line - will be completed by 2029 and span 12 stations from Changi to Sin Ming.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday that the alignment of the 29km first phase has been finalised. When it is completed, more than 100,000 households will enjoy better access to the rail network and shorter travelling times.
Bright Hill, a station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, "will further expand to become an interchange station with the Cross Island Line".
Phase 1 will have three other interchanges - at Ang Mo Kio with the North-South Line, at Hougang with the North East Line and at Pasir Ris with the East-West Line.
The Cross Island Line, which links Jurong to Changi, will be Singapore's eighth MRT line. Mr Khaw revealed that its depot in Changi East will be a surface depot and not underground as originally planned.
He also announced that the first stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line - a three-station stretch from Woodlands North to Woodlands South - will open before Christmas this year. The rest of the line will open in phases up till 2024.
The Cross Island Line is forecast to have an initial daily ridership of 600,000, and eventually one million, making it Singapore's most heavily used rail line.
Construction of Phase 1 will begin next year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said. Stations will be designed and built to accommodate eight-car trains, but the line will operate with six-car trains initially.
The stations are in Bright Hill, Teck Ghee, Ang Mo Kio, Tavistock (Serangoon Gardens), Serangoon North, Hougang, Defu, Tampines North, Pasir Ris, Pasir Ris East, Loyang and Aviation Park.
Mr Khaw said the entire Cross Island Line will support hubs outside the Central Business District "so that jobs are nearer homes". It will also redistribute passenger load on the North-South, East-West and North East lines "so that the overcrowdedness that our commuters experience now will be eased".
Mr Khaw added that the new line will give commuters "more journey options" and "improve the resilience of our rail network".
The Cross Island Line will pass through Paya Lebar Air Base, which is slated to be relocated from 2030. An area of some 800ha will be freed up for residential and commercial developments. However, no station has been planned for this stretch.
The construction of Cross Island Line Phase 1 will involve eight properties being affected by partial acquisitions. They are Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill, Ang Mo Kio Hub, Gain City Best-Electric and Daikin Airconditioning in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, Loyang Industrial Park, Hitachi Chemical in Loyang Way, an electrical substation in Loyang Avenue and Loyang Valley condominium.
The land affected will total 4,508 sq m, but no building on the properties will be affected and no relocation will be required.
The LTA said the Cross Island Line will be completed in three phases. No information was given about the other two stages, which involve the possibility of tunnelling beneath the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The line was to be ready by 2030, doubling Singapore's rail network to 360km and enabling 80 per cent of households to be within a 10-minute walk of a station.
Marketing professional Charissa He, 29, said she is happy that there will be a station in Serangoon North, where her future home will be.
She added that the Cross Island Line "is a good line, as it allows passengers to switch to other lines easily, and eases choke points".
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Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.