In pictures: Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 3 opens

It’s easier than ever to get to Great World City and Gardens by the Bay. The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) stations there opened last Sunday (Nov 13), along with nine other stations.

These 11 station openings form Stage 3 of the TEL; this line is how the Government plans to eventually connect Woodlands North to Changi Airport.

This means that the TEL will essentially link the Causeway to the airport in one uninterrupted trip through 32 stations every day — with this route taking travellers through the heart of Singapore city.

“Here’s to more convenient and accessible commutes,” posted Minister for Transport S Iswaran at the Thomson-East Coast Line 3 Opening Event along the line Friday (Nov 11).    

“The rail network is the backbone of our public transport system,” added the Minister in his opening speech.

“Hence, we have made it a priority to design and build a well-connected and resilient rail network. TEL3 is yet another step towards this goal, as it connects with every other MRT line.”

Minister Iswaran thanked Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT technicians, engineers, architects, contractors and staff for making our nation’s rail expansion possible.

“You have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and overcome many engineering challenges in building, testing and commissioning TEL3, which runs through heritage areas and our dense city centre,” he added in his post.

“A gift to our residents”

The TEL, then, makes excellent days out possible. No wonder over 100 Sembawang residents, took it for a Sunday morning excursion from Woodlands South to Maxwell.

Their MPs — Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, Ms Poh Li San and Mr Vikram Nair — rode with them.

“Do try out the new line — great for both work and family outings,” posted MP Vikram Sunday.

Indeed, TEL3 stations like Maxwell and Havelock are in heritage areas, and the Shenton Way one is in the heart of the Central Business District.

“Eleven new TEL Phase 3 stations opened today, enabling almost 200,000 households to walk to their nearest TEL station within 10 minutes travel to the city,” posted Minister Ong about the ride.

“More stations will be opening in the coming years to continue enhancing connectivity from the North to other parts of Singapore,” he noted.

“The TEL MRT line is a gift to our residents because we are now connected by two MRT lines to other parts of Singapore,” posted MP Poh about the Sunday trip.

“Residents can now travel to popular destinations such as Gardens by the Bay and Orchard Road more conveniently and quickly.”

And so they can. Here are those Sembawang residents at the URA Heritage Centre near the Maxwell station — all thanks to the TEL3.

Stage 4 and 5 of the TEL — from Founders’ Memorial to Sungei Bedok — are expected to open in two stages around 2024 and 2025.

When the line is fully completed, more than 240,000 households will be within a 10-minute walk from a TEL station.

The track goes ever on

Plus, all these TEL stations? They are part of growing Singapore’s rail network by 50 per cent to 360 km by the 2030s, as well as to fit with the Singapore Green Plan 2030.  

So TEL stations are designed with more station entrances and covered linkways to nearby residential estates and amenities. This makes walking and cycling to them much more convenient.

“We hope that bringing MRT stations closer to homes and destinations will encourage more to use public transport,” said Minister Iswaran at the Opening Event (Nov 11).

“Taking the train generates 90% less carbon emissions than driving an internal combustion engine car, and the carbon footprint of active modes is practically zero,” he added.

So, yes. Here’s to more convenient and accessible commutes.

Here’s to keeping it rail.