Thomson-East Coast Line stage two opens on Aug 28; trains to arrive every five minutes at peak hours

Transport Minister S. Iswaran has said TEL1 and TEL2 alone will benefit about 100,000 households.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran has said TEL1 and TEL2 alone will benefit about 100,000 households.PHOTO: ST FILE
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean (left) and Transport Minister S. Iswaran at the Thomson-East Coast Line 2 opening ceremony on Aug 27, 2021.
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean (left) and Transport Minister S. Iswaran at the Thomson-East Coast Line 2 opening ceremony on Aug 27, 2021.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean (left) and Transport Minister S. Iswaran at the Thomson-East Coast Line 2 opening ceremony on Aug 27, 2021.
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean (left) and Transport Minister S. Iswaran at the Thomson-East Coast Line 2 opening ceremony on Aug 27, 2021.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Trains along the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will arrive at stations every five minutes during peak hours and every nine minutes off-peak, when the second stage of the line opens on Saturday (Aug 28).

This is up from the current frequency of 10 minutes during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak hours at the first three stations of the TEL in Woodlands.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will review the frequencies as ridership increases along the TEL.

Trains generally arrive at intervals of two to three minutes during peak hours from 7am to 9am on other MRT lines, and five to seven minutes off-peak.

The new six-station stretch, named TEL2, connects Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations. Three other stations - Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South - opened in January last year.

TEL2 will have two interchanges - Caldecott, with the Circle Line; and Bright Hill, with the future Cross Island Line.

An opening ceremony was held for TEL2 on Friday morning (Aug 27).

Transport Minister S. Iswaran acknowledged the inconvenience to residents and shop owners around the area during construction, and thanked them for their patience.

He added: "TEL2 adds to the reliability and resilience of our overall public transport system. I hope all Singaporeans will benefit and enjoy the convenience that our public transport brings to them."

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, the event's guest of honour, said the TEL2 may well become a "makan corridor"- referencing the eateries near the stations.


(From left) LTA chief Ng Lang, Transport Minister S. Iswaran, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, LTA chairman Alan Chan and SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming at the opening ceremony on Aug 27, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


Transport Minister S. Iswaran (left) and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean snapping photos of the TEL2 tunnel on Aug 27, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

TEL2 was initially set to roll out in the second half of last year, but was delayed due to the pandemic and a review of the rail system software because of a major signalling fault on TEL1 last December.

Mr Iswaran has said TEL1 and TEL2 alone will benefit about 100,000 households.

When fully completed around 2025, the 43km, 32-station TEL is expected to have an average daily ridership of 500,000 initially, rising to one million in the longer term.

The line, which will run from Woodlands to Sungei Bedok and cost more than $25 billion, will also link to the upcoming cross-border rapid transit line to Johor Baru that is slated for completion in end-2026.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat, who is an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC where Caldecott MRT station falls within, said  residents in the area would be able to skip queues at the Causeway when heading to Johor Baru for short trips in future.

The Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) said the completion of TEL2 will make it easier for its beneficiaries to travel to its centre in Toa Payoh Rise, near Caldecott station. 

Mr Chong Kwek Bin, head of advocacy, communication, employment and training at the association, said many of its beneficiaries who live in Yishun and Woodlands would  benefit from the direct connection provided by the TEL. 

“Although it’s quite doable to change MRT lines, it’s still more challenging than a direct line,” he added.