SINGAPORE - A new addition to Singapore's expanding rail network was announced yesterday - a 13km, nine-station line tracing the east coast shoreline which, for the first time, will allow picnickers to get to East Coast Park by MRT.
Extending from the recently announced Thomson Line - which has now been renamed the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) - it is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew revealed the plans yesterday at the Marina South Pier station - an extension of the North-South Line which will open soon. He said the eastern leg of the TEL is expected to cost $6.8 billion.
Mr Lui said the line will "run almost parallel" to the East-West Line and the future Downtown Line 3, adding: "When completed, rail capacity along the East-West corridor will increase by about 45 per cent."
Travel pattern studies have shown that this corridor accounts for the bulk of morning peak period volume.
First announced by then Communications Minister Yeo Cheow Tong in 2001, the eastern leg of the TEL will go through areas such as Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade and Siglap. It will serve several residential estates, such as condos in Tanjong Rhu and Bayshore, Housing Board flats in Marine Parade and Bedok South, and low-rise developments in Amber and Tanjong Katong roads.
Schools near the line include St Patrick's, CHIJ Katong, Tao Nan, Victoria School and St Andrew's Autism School. The line will also serve commercial and recreational facilities, such as the Singapore Indoor Stadium and Parkway Parade shopping centre.
Land Transport Authority chief executive Chew Hock Yong said there will be an underground walkway from Parkway Parade to the Marine Parade Community Building two streets away.
Using existing pedestrian underpasses, commuters will be able to get to East Coast Park, which is currently not near any MRT line.
The line will be the first in Singapore to offer underground bicycle parks at stations in Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Bayshore and Sungei Bedok.
Stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore will be completed by 2023, while Bedok South and Sungei Bedok stations will be ready by 2024 - along with a massive depot to be built next to the existing East-West Line depot in Upper Changi.
The facility will hold 220 trains from the East-West, Downtown and Thomson-East Coast lines, as well as 550 buses.
At its eastern tip, the TEL will have an interchange with Downtown Line 3, which will extend by 2.2km and have a station in Xilin.
This extension will be completed by 2024. The TEL may eventually be extended to join Changi Airport's planned Terminal 5.
Tenders are expected to be called next year with construction starting in 2016.
The project will require more than 24,000 sq m of land to be acquired. The Singapore Land Authority said residential and industrial properties account for only about a quarter of that. The rest will be from the Laguna National Golf and Country Club.
Mr Kevin Kwee, the club's executive director, said the grounds-keeping building, nursery and service areas will have to be moved.
But overall, the development "should be highly positive" as the club will have access to two MRT stations - Xilin and Sungei Bedok.
This article was published on Aug 16 in The Straits Times.
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