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'Some people have even called this TEL4 line the makan line': PM Wong opens new stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore

'Some people have even called this TEL4 line the makan line': PM Wong opens new stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore
PM Lawrence Wong (centre) with DPM Heng Swee Keat (left) at Siglap station, one of the seven new stations along Stage 4 of the Thomson-East Coast Line, on June 21.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE — Seven new stations along Stage 4 of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) were opened by Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on the morning of June 21, ahead of a public preview on the same day.

The seven stations are Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Tanjong Katong, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap and Bayshore.

The public preview from noon to 9pm on June 21 will allow people to ride the MRT trains for free along the new stretch, and take part in games and activities.

The stations will open for passenger service on June 23.

The TEL's eastern end will eventually be connected to Changi Airport via an extension set to be completed in the mid-2030s, together with the opening of the airport's Terminal 5. Its western end will link passengers to the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link at Woodlands North station.

Speaking at the TEL Stage 4 (TEL4) opening ceremony at Marine Parade station on June 21, PM Wong recounted his days growing up in Marine Terrace in the 1980s, when he had wished for an MRT station closer to his home.

While he no longer lives in the estate, PM Wong said residents along TEL4 can enjoy fast, convenient and affordable public transport.

A direct train ride on the TEL from Marine Parade to Shenton Way, in the heart of the Central Business District, will take 20 minutes, halving commutes for residents who had to take a combination of bus and train before, he noted.

Students stand to benefit, too, with more than 10 schools within walking distance of a TEL4 station, said PM Wong.

The new stretch will also bring the East Coast area, including Joo Chiat and Katong, closer to Singaporeans from other parts of the island, and make it easier to reach East Coast Park.

"If you grew up in the east, there's always a special place here. You know that there are excellent food options in Joo Chiat, in Katong, and I think some people have even called this TEL4 line the 'makan' line," PM Wong quipped.

"Makan" means to eat in Malay.

The Prime Minister noted that people with special needs were among the passenger groups the authorities had in mind when designing the line.

For instance, station signs have larger fonts and there are more braille texts to aid the visually impaired.

Hearing enhancement systems that minimise background noise for those with hearing aids and allow them to communicate more easily with station staff have also been fitted at passenger service centres in TEL stations.

The stations come with more lifts and entrances, too, making it more convenient for those who face mobility challenges, said PM Wong.

The next stage of TEL, comprising Bedok South and Sungei Bedok stations, will be completed by 2026.

This comes after the opening of the stations was delayed twice from the original 2024 deadline, first due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and later, the construction challenges of tunnelling near existing critical infrastructure.

"For residents who are farther east, please be patient. Construction is ongoing," PM Wong said.

He added: "TEL4 is just the latest stop in our journey to build a better home for all Singaporeans."

ALSO READ: 6 things to do at public preview of TEL Stage 4 on June 21

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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