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The Second Stage of Thomson-East Coast Line Begins Operations on August 28

The second stage of the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line (LTEL) will open for passenger service on August 28, 2021, announced by the Land Transport Authority. The TEL line is an underground line that will have 32 stations over 43 kilometres in length when fully operational. It is among the world’s longest driverless rapid transit lines. The opening of the second stage of TEL will improve MRT resilience and decrease travel times for passengers.

First and Second Stage Opening of the TEL Line
The first stage of the Thomson–East Coast Line from the Woodlands North to Woodlands South stations opened in January 2020. On 11 January 2020, SMRT, the leading MRT operator in Singapore, and LTA hosted an open house for the first stage of the Thomson-East Coast line, with the stage opening for revenue service started on 31 January 2020.

The second stage of TEL will start operations for all passengers from August 28, 2021. Earlier, on 30 April 2021, LTA handed over Stage 2 stations of TEL to SMRT to get the section ready for operations.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran said the new six-station stretch – connecting Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations – would not have been possible without the hard work, adaptability and personal sacrifices of technicians, engineers and ground staff.

Both TEL1 and TEL2 will benefit more than 100,000 households. They will connect 100,000 households within a 10-min walk from an MRT station along the lines. Thomson-East Coast Line exemplifies the goal of making the public transport network of Singapore inclusive, friendly and accessible to all commuters.

Specific Features of the TEL2 Line
• Elevator buttons, platform seats and signage have larger dimensions.
• Colour contrasts to better support visually impaired commuters.
• Lighting is installed in the handrails of the stairs to improve visibility.
• The platform seats will have backrests and handrails for the elderly and commuters with reduced mobility.
• The TEL stations have more entrances to provide better connectivity.
• The TEL lines will interchange with five existing MRT lines, including North-South, East-West, North-East, Circle Line Downtown Line, and Cross Island Line.

Singapore’s sixth MRT line, the Thomson-East Coast line will be operated by SMRT, which won a S$1.7 billion contract to operate the line in 2017. SMRT added 1,000 more staff to increase maintenance and engineering capability, strengthen commuter touch points before starting operations of the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) in 2019.

Commenting on the train operations capability, SMRT Chairman, Seah Moon Ming said: “We continue to develop train engineering capabilities. We are gearing up to lead the transformation of urban mobility in Singapore to be future-ready in a digital landscape.”

The TEL line was initially expected to be fully operational in 2024, with an initial number of 500,000 daily commuters. The number of commuters expected per day might reach around 1 million in the long term.

Conclusion
TEL2 is expected to bring shorter travelling times to commuters. LTA said after August 28, residents travelling using the TEL2 line can expect time savings of up to 50 percent. As the TEL line runs parallel to the North-South Line (NSL), it will reduce reliance and commuter load on the NSL line.

About the Author
Willian Lee
William is a lead engineer in a metro car manufacturing company. He has a keen interest in railway infrastructure and related technologies. He loves to share his views on technological and recent developments in rail transport throughout the world.

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