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New platform, track for Tanah Merah MRT station in 2024

The new platform will cater to trains heading to Pasir Ris, which leaves the two middle tracks dedicated for trains travelling to and from Changi Airport.

SINGAPORE: By 2024, commuters can expect faster MRT travel to the Singapore Expo and Changi Airport. That's because a new platform will be added to the Tanah Merah MRT station, giving it three platforms and four tracks in total. Enhancement works will start in 2016. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed these plans in a media briefing on Monday (Aug 25).

Currently, the middle track at Tanah Merah interchange station is used for trains travelling in both directions between Tanah Merah and Changi Airport stations. Trains heading in have to wait for the existing train to move out before they can enter, resulting in a longer wait.

With a new platform, there will be two tracks for trains heading to and from Changi Airport, and another two tracks for the East-West Line - one towards Joo Koon, and the other to Pasir Ris. With the construction of the new platform, existing MRT tracks will also be extended to connect to the new four-in-one depot at Changi. This depot will house trains from the East-West Line, Downtown Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line as well as a bus depot.

LTA said it expects shorter intervals and an improvement in waiting times with the enhancements, and will call for a tender next year.

Professor Lee Der-Horng, from the National University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says expanding the station is necessary to alleviate the travel demand to and from Changi Airport. "If we look further into the overall development around the Singapore Expo and the Expo itself, we notice that there are more shopping malls, residential areas and the Changi Business Park. This particular area has been accommodating a fairly significant amount of travel demand."

Commuters welcomed the move, saying more tracks will mean fewer bottlenecks. One told us: "Sometimes early in the morning, I have to miss about three trains you know. It is very crowded."

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) says it will implement dust and noise control measures on-site during the construction phase. Noise barriers and privacy screens will be installed along the new viaduct to mitigate the impact on residents living close to the station, and this will become a permanent feature.

Tanah Merah MRT station will be the second to have tracks added to its original construction. The first was Jurong East interchange station, where an additional platform was constructed and its track layout modified in 2011.

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