Residents living in the north-western part of Singapore can look forward to faster and more direct access to the city centre, when construction of Stage Two of the Downtown Line rail network is completed in 2015.
The 16.6 kilometre-long line comprises one depot at Gali Batu and 12 stations stretching from Rochor, along Bukit Timah Road and Bukit Panjang, to Petir.
It will have three interchange stations – located at Botanic Gardens, Newton and Little India.
Besides Petir and Rochor, other stations are situated near Cashew, Hillview, Beauty World, Blackmore, Sixth Avenue, Duchess and Stevens.
The construction of Stage Two of the Downtown Line rail network is set to begin in mid-2009.
When ready, this stage of the line is expected to cut commuter travel time by some 30 per cent. For example, the current hour-long journey from Bukit Panjang to the city will take just 40 minutes.
Stage One of the Downtown Line, from Bugis to Chinatown, will be completed by 2013. Details for the final stage, to be ready by 2016, have yet to be finalised.
The Downtown Line is part of Singapore’s extensive rail network extension plan, which aims to link up most parts of the island.
Land Transport Authority’s chief executive, Yam Ah Mee, said: “The expansion of the rail network and the increased density of the rail network is an important part of encouraging the public transport ridership.
“And with this plan, commuters will then have a choice to transfer between buses and trains, and with the many interchanges, they then have the choice of reaching their destination as quickly as possible.”
Commuters are certainly looking forward to the new line.
“It will be better if we have the MRT station… so we can cut down the time travelling and we don’t have to wake up so early,” said a commuter.
“It’s more convenient to travel to town from here instead of taking a bus,” said another.
“Coming from the city… back to Bukit Timah, the traffic jam is incredible,” said a third.
It is estimated that the S$12 billion Downtown Line (DTL) will have an average daily ridership of 500,000, of which about 180,000 commuters are expected to pass through the Stage Two line.
The LTA said land acquisitions for the DTL Stage Two will be minimal. It is limited to a vacant two-storey building at Halifax Road and two strips of land measuring 2 metres by 240 metres, along Upper Bukit Timah Road.
With the alignment and station locations finalised, the LTA is seeking suggestions from the public to come up with possible official names for the stations, excluding the three interchanges.
Station names should reflect the location, history or multi-cultural character of the site. You can send your suggestions to the LTA from end-July. Details will be provided nearer to the date.
Separately, the LTA said construction for all five stages of the Circle Line is progressing well. This line rings the city, connecting all Mass Rapid Transit Lines running into the city centre.
Transport Minister Raymond Lim toured the Esplanade Station on Tuesday. It is one of six under Stage One of the Circle Line.
The Esplanade Station is rather spacious. It spans three levels and it is one of the more connected stations in terms of linkages with surrounding developments. It has four entrances linking to the many hotels and malls around Marina Bay and Suntec City.
When fully ready, commuters can travel to locations throughout Singapore without having to pass through the city centre. The aim is to reduce crowding at City Hall and Raffles Place stations.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jul 2008