The full opening of the Circle Line today is a major milestone in Singapore’s public transport history, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.’We are witnessing a signficant evolution in our transport system,’ said Mr Tharman at the official opening of the final 12 stations of the orbital mass rapid transit line. Mr Tharman, who is also Minister for Finance and Manpower, later took a ride to Holland Village station for a tour of the station.
He thanked those affected during the construction of the Circle Line for their patience and understanding but said it was worth it for the 33.3-km rail line’s ability to shorten train journeys and reduce crowding on existing lines.The 12 stations from Caldecott to Harbourfront to open this morning are part of the 28 stations of the Circle Line. Of these last 12, two are interchange stations – Buona Vista with the East-West MRT Line and Harbourfront with the North-East Line.
Daily ridership is expected to reach 400,000 in six to nine months’ time but Mr Tharman said he believed that is ‘a bit of an underestimate’ because of the high demand expected.
The Circle Line is operated by SMRT Corp. This driverless and fully underground system took 10 years to build and cost $8 billion.The first stage of the line was opened in May 2009 when five stations from Marymount to Bartley began operations.The second stage – Dhoby Ghaut to Tai Seng – was opened in April 2010.
It takes 57 minutes to travel from one end of the Circle Line to the other, that is, between Dhoby Ghaut and Harbourfront.Botanic Gardens station, which Mr Tharman visited, will be also be an interchange station with the upcoming Downtown Line in 2015.
The Downtown Line is the next major line to be built and it will be opened in stages from 2013 to 2017.In 15 years’ time, Singapore’s rail network will almost double from 160 km last year to about 280 km. Mr Tharman said that, together with the expansion of highways, the republic will have a superior transport system which will be ‘vastly more effective and convenient’.
About Circle MRT Line:The Circle Line (CCL) is Singapore’s fourth Mass Rapid Transit line, operated by SMRT Corporation. When fully open in 2012, this underground line will be 35.7 kilometres (22.2 mi) long with 30 stations (excluding Bukit Brown) and will become the world’s longest fully automated metro line. The Circle Line is coloured orange on the rail map.
As the name implies, the line is an orbital line linking all radial lines leading to the city, and also covering many parts of the Central Area. It will also include a branch line beginning at Promenade Station and ending at Marina Bay Station. Transfers to the North South Line will be provided at Bishan, Dhoby Ghaut and Marina Bay stations, East West Line at Paya Lebar and Buona Vista stations, and North East Line at Dhoby Ghaut, Serangoon and HarbourFront stations. The future Downtown Line will interchange with the Circle Line at Bayfront, Promenade, Botanic Gardens and MacPherson stations.
The Circle Line is the first medium capacity line in Singapore. As a medium capacity line, each Circle Line train has only three cars instead of the six-car configuration as seen on current MRT lines. The rolling stock consists of forty Alstom Metropolis C830 trains. When complete, half a million people are expected to use the Circle Line each day. The completed line will reduce travelling time for commuters by allowing them to shorten trips between north to east or north to west and vice versa, bypassing busy interchange like City Hall and Raffles Place.
Currently, the Circle Line is not a full circle yet, as there will be no through service on the section between Harbourfront and Marina Bay or Dhoby Ghaut. Passengers will need to transfer onto the North East Line instead. However, a branch passing through the Marina District has been built, and a “Stage 6″ that would complete the circle, has been mooted but is not officially planned.
Like the North East Line, the Circle Line features the Art in Transit programme. This consists of artwork that is integrated into station designs as well as “Art Seats”. Also part of the LTA’s Art in Transit programme were open architectural competitions for two Circle Line stations, Stadium, and Bras Basah, both of which were awarded to WOHA Architects.