SINGAPORE - Train services on the Downtown Line (DTL) will start later on Sundays, from the middle of next month up till August, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Wednesday (April 26).
This is to facilitate the testing of a new extension of the line - called the Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) - with the existing network, which now stretches between Bukit Panjang and Chinatown stations.
From May 14 to Aug 27, the first train will leave Bukit Panjang station for Chinatown at 7.31am on Sundays, instead of 5.50am. The first train in the opposite direction will leave Chinatown at 7.31am instead of 6.28am.
Trains, however, will run on their normal schedule on June 25, during the Hari Raya Puasa weekend.
Affected commuters can use existing public bus services - such as 66, 67, 75, 170/170A, 171, 190, 700A, 960, 961, 970 and 972 - to travel between the Downtown Line corridor and the city. They can also use these bus services to transfer to the other rail lines to continue their travel on the rail network.
A shuttle bus service that runs parallel to the existing DTL network and stops at each of the 18 stations will also be provided. Fares for this shuttle bus service will follow the DTL fare structure.
The late opening will give rail engineers more time during off-service hours to run test trains through to the new 21km section with 16 stations, LTA said.
The DTL3 is expected to open by the end of the year, and will run from Fort Canning to Expo, passing through areas such as Jalan Besar, Ubi, and Tampines.
The LTA said that there are typically three engineering hours every night when train services are not operating.
A full round-trip loop between Bukit Panjang and Expo will take about 2-1/2 hours, the LTA said, in explaining the need for the late opening.
Mr Gan Juay Kiat, chief executive of SBS Transit, the DTL's operator, said: "When fully open later this year, DTL3 will connect commuters from Singapore Expo in the East to Bukit Panjang in the West. It will significantly enhance accessibility and connectivity for commuters and we want to do all that is possible to ensure the line's smooth running.
"To this end, we need to conduct test runs and early Sunday mornings are the best times to do these. We apologise for the inconvenience this may bring and have made alternative bus arrangements."
The first two stages of DTL, called the DTL1 and DTL2, were opened in 2013 and 2015 respectively.