The second stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) opened on August 28, 2021.The 43km, 32-station TEL is expected to have an average ridership of 500,000 initially, which may increase to one million in the longer term when it is fully operational. The new stretch of the TEL line, called TEL2, consists of six stations including Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations. These new stations are now being managed and operated by SMRT Corporation. After the opening of the Thomson-East Coast line, commuters got to enjoy the following new features:
1. 22 bird sculptures have been placed around Mayflower station.
2. The Upper Thomson station has various artworks installed around the station. People can entertain themselves by finding 88 animals hidden in artworks. The art installations are a part of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Art in Transit programme.
3. Some benches at new stations have armrests and backrests. Benches are coloured differently so people can easily find them in a crowded station.
4. The deepest underground station – Caldecott station – has been designed in such a way that natural daylight can easily filter in and brighten the station. This station also features two X-shaped structures that are not only visually appealing but also support the structural integrity of the station.
5. To better support visually impaired commuters, the lift buttons, platform seats and signs at all new TEL2 stations have greater colour contrasts.
6. The handrails of staircases have lighting to enhance the visibility of the steps.
7. For people with mobility difficulties, station seats have backrests and handrails.
8. There are more entrances to each station. For example, there are seven entrances linking to places such as Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, Mayflower Primary and Secondary schools and CHIJ St Nicholas. Upper Thomson station has five near places such as Soo Chow estate, Thomson Plaza, and Church of the Holy Spirit.
While announcing the opening of the TEL2 line, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said, “The TEL will enhance the resilience of the rail network. When fully opened in the latter half of the decade, the TEL will interchange with five existing MRT lines (North-south, East-west, North-east, Circle and Downtown) as well as the Cross Island Line.”
A few months back, prior to the opening of the TEL 2 line, LTA handed over the six new stations to SMRT. The public transport operator conducted tests to validate the operational readiness of TEL2 systems. SMRT also conducted emergency preparedness exercises during this period.
Commenting on the operational and management aspects of the TEL line, SMRT Trains President, Lam Sheau Kai, said, “Having spent two years setting up the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), I know that running a public train network is a relentless journey of improvements to meet the evolving needs of our commuters, where a team of dedicated and hardworking staff is key to success.”
SMRT Chairman, Seah Moon Ming, said, “We remain committed to working with Ministry of Transport and LTA as part of the One Transport Family to serve commuters well and maintain our MRT as among the most reliable systems in the world.”
With the opening of the Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2, people can expect time savings of up to 50 percent when travelling via six new stations. Their journey time will be halved, from 50 minutes to 25 minutes. LTA and public transport operators like SMRT are working together to make mass rapid transit (MRT) a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation network in the world.
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Kris works as a technology specialist in a leading company in Singapore. When he is not working, he loves to share his views on new technologies in various sectors including transport, IT, healthcare, etc.