SINGAPORE: Six more stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line are on track to open in the later part of this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday (Jan 17).
The second stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is about 90 per cent complete and comprises six stations from Springleaf to Caldecott, with two interchange stations at Bright Hill and Caldecott.
Bright Hill station will link to the future Cross Island Line, while Caldecott station will link to the existing Circle Line.
When the stations open, a total of nine stations stretching to Woodlands North will be operational on Singapore's sixth MRT line.
The line is set to open in five stages starting from this year to 2024.
The first stage of TEL - made up of Woodlands North, Woodlands, and Woodlands South MRT stations - will begin taking passengers on Jan 31.
Springleaf station is located along Upper Thomson Road, between Thong Soon Green and Springleaf Road.
LTA said it took steps before and during the construction of Springleaf station to minimise the impact on nearby shop tenants and residents.
It also worked closely with Singapore PowerGrid to ensure that its cable tunnel, which runs through Springleaf station, could be constructed without interruption.
Lentor station is expected to benefit the residents of Lentor Estate and Teacher’s Estate.
To minimise impact to nearby residences and high-rise developments, top-down construction was adopted for building of the station box and entrances, said LTA.
“Extensive studies were conducted to identify the network of utility services located within the work zone, to prevent any disruptions that could affect the neighbouring estates,” LTA said.
Mayflower Station, which is located in the mature Ang Mo Kio and Kebun Baru estate, will have barrier-free entrances to allow commuters, particularly elderly residents, to access the station easily.
“The station will bring rail connectivity to schools, community amenities and residential developments in the Kebun Baru estate, such as CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School, Mayflower Secondary School, Ang Mo Kio Primary School and the Kebun Baru Community Club,” said LTA.
The construction of the station required multiple stages of traffic diversions because of its location on a sloping terrain and the densely built residential developments nearby.
BRIGHT HILL STATION
Located along Sin Ming Avenue, Bright Hill station’s entrance locations were chosen to serve residents of Sin Ming Garden, Faber Garden and Gardens at Bishan, as well as Ai Tong Primary School.
Construction was a challenge due to the presence of hard granite around Bright Hill station, LTA said.
“As the area is highly urbanised, the tunnels from Bright Hill station towards its adjacent stations required tunnelling under an existing low-rise residential building. To ensure safety, enhancement work was carried out to strengthen the building’s foundation system prior to tunnelling work,” said LTA.
UPPER THOMSON STATION
Upper Thomson station will serve neighbouring residential estates such as Soo Chow Estate, as well as developments such as Thomson Plaza, Church of the Holy Spirit, and various dining establishments.
“As the station is located directly beneath the busy Upper Thomson Road and flanked by two rows of terrace houses, traffic diversions and canal diversion adjacent to Soo Chow Estate were implemented in phases to support the various stages of construction,” LTA said.
Commuters working and residing in the Thomson Road and Toa Payoh Rise estates will enjoy further convenience once Caldecott station is opened.
The interchange with the Circle Line will also provide easier access to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, Lighthouse School, Mount Alvernia Hospital, St Joseph Institute International (SJII) and MacRitchie Reservoir.
“To avoid impacting SJII, the mined tunnel construction method was adopted as it would not require ground excavation. It is the largest mined tunnel ever constructed in Singapore in a mixed soil condition,” LTA said.
TEL WILL EVENTUALLY SERVE 1 MILLION COMMUTERS DAILY
The 43km TEL adds 32 new stations to the existing rail network, with eight interchange stations in total.
“About 100,000 households will benefit from TEL1 and TEL2, as they are now within a 10-minute walk from one of the nine stations. These residents will be able to experience travel time savings of up to 50 per cent. For example, a Sin Ming resident travelling to Republic Polytechnic will have his journey time halved, from 50 minutes to 25 minutes,” LTA said.
When fully operational in 2024, the TEL is expected to serve approximately 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, rising to about 1 million commuters in the longer term.
The fully operational date of 2024 excludes the opening of the Founders’ Memorial station which will be opened in tandem with the memorial.
“Besides enhancing connectivity between the northern, central, and eastern parts of Singapore, the TEL will strengthen the resilience of our rail network by providing alternative travel routes for commuters on other lines. As the TEL runs parallel to the North-South Line (NSL), it will also help to reduce reliance and crowdedness on the NSL,” LTA said.