SINGAPORE - Commuters using the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), which opens progressively from 2019, can look forward to a more reliable and comfortable ride.
Train cars used for the line will feature five doors on each side - instead of four on other MRT trains - to facilitate quicker and smoother boarding and alighting.
About 60 of the fleet of 91 four-car trains will also have tip-up seats, which will offer more standing space for commuters during rush hour. There will be 10 rows of tip-up seats per train, making up 25 per cent of the seat bays.
Details of these features were shown to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Wednesday (July 4) when he visited the Mandai Depot and was given a tour of the first train, which was delivered from China to Singapore in May.
Besides tip-up seats and more train doors, a new LCD board will also be fitted on the TEL trains, to provide commuters with information such as the MRT network map, train travel direction and which side of the train doors will be opening.
The 43km TEL will open progressively from 2019 and be fully completed in 2024. The 31-station line, from Woodlands North to Sungei Bedok, will connect commuters in the eastern region to the city centre, as well as those living in the Woodlands and Thomson areas.
On Wednesday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said two of the TEL trains will be fitted with the automatic track inspection system comprising cameras, lasers and sensors. These can help to detect defects on the tracks, such as rail cracks, missing track-rail fasteners or even foreign objects, the LTA said.
The 91 TEL trains are manufactured in China by a consortium formed by Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries and China's CSR Qingdao Sifang Co. The consortium won a $749 million contract in 2014 to supply the trains.
The LTA said the remaining 90 trains will be delivered from August, with about two trains arriving every month. All 91 trains are expected to be delivered by 2022.
The TEL trains will be stabled at the 32ha Mandai Depot, an integrated rail and bus depot about the size of 44 football fields.
Construction of the depot started in December 2013 and is on track to be completed in 2019. LTA said architectural works, along with electrical and mechanical fitting out works, are 60 per cent completed.