Adapted from Today, 15 Aug 2014

Land Transport Authority announced The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) which is a joint line between the Thomson Line and the Eastern Region Line. The 43km TEL will add 31 new stations to the existing rail network, with 7 interchange stations, which will link to the East-West Line, North-South Line, North-East Line, Circle Line and the Downtown Line.

It will consist of the nine-station Eastern Region Line, running along the east of Singapore, and the 22-station Thomson Line along the North-South corridor, joined to form one continuous line. It is expected to cost about S$24 billion.

The TEL is expected to serve half a million commuters daily in the initial years and up to a million commuters in the longer term, said the LTA.

To build the line, the Government will acquire six landed properties along Amber Road and one three-storey walk-up apartment along Tanjong Katong Road, along with nine part lots. These plots of land have been gazetted by the Singapore Land Authority.

The announcement was made as Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew visited Marina South Pier Station this morning. The station is Singapore’s 149th MRT station and will be opened by the end of this year.

On the new TEL, Mr Lui said it will provide direct, seamless connectivity for commuters moving from Woodlands to East Coast. Time savings for commuters in the East will also be significant, he added.

“A single line, instead of two separate lines, will allow us to reap economies of scale and operational efficiencies from having common systems and trains.”

Construction of the East Coast Line portion of the TEL is expected to start in 2016, with seven stations, from Tanjong Rhu station to Bayshore station, to be opened in 2023. The remaining two stations along with other features will be completed by 2024, said Mr Lui.

The LTA will also build a combined depot for both buses and trains next to the existing Changi depot. It can house 220 trains from the TEL, East-West Line and Downtown Line, as well as 550 buses. The 36-hectare multi-storey depot will save 44 hectares of land, or about 60 football fields.

Singapore’s first underground bicycle parks at MRT stations will also be built at four of the stations along the East Coast stretch at the TEL.

Time Savings and Greater Accessibility for Commuters in the Thomson and Eastern Areas of Singapore

TEL will create new links in the east and bring about time savings for commuters who travel to the Central Business District today by bus, or to the northern part of Singapore. For instance, a resident from East Coast travelling to Orchard will almost halve his journey time from 75 minutes to 45 minutes. A Republic Polytechnic student staying at Marine Parade can reach home in an hour, 20 minutes faster than the bus ride currently.

In addition, the TEL stations are designed with more entrances and exits. As part of our efforts to improve first and last mile connectivity, some of these entrances on the East Coast stretch will also be connected to longer underpasses of up to 400 metres. These underpasses shelter commuters against the weather, reduce the time taken to walk to and from the station, and improve safety, particularly for the elderly and children, by removing the need to cross roads.