Changi Airport MRT station
|Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station|
Changi Airport station with the illuminated linkbridge spanning over the platform
|Location||70 Airport Boulevard|
|Operated by||SMRT Trains Ltd (SMRT Corporation) (East West and Thomson–East Coast lines)|
|Platforms||2 (1 island platform)|
|Connections||Changi Airport Bus Terminal, taxi|
|Parking||Yes (Changi Airport, Jewel Changi Airport)|
|Bicycle facilities||Yes (Changi Airport)|
|Opened||8 February 2002|
|Opening||2040Thomson–East Coast line)(|
|July 2020||4799 per day|
Changi Airport MRT station is an underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station on the Changi Airport branch of the East West line located within Singapore Changi Airport in Changi, Singapore. The station is operated by SMRT Trains and is built in an east-west direction with the two ends of the station connecting directly to Changi Airport Terminals 2 and 3. It is the eastern terminus of the branch and is currently the easternmost MRT station in Singapore, until the planned opening of Aviation Park station in 2029.
During the construction of Terminal 3 in 1994, proposals were made to build a new rail link connecting to and around the airport. The current two-station branch line was finalised in 1996 and construction began in 1999. The station opened on 8 February 2002, with passenger demand lower than expected. Nevertheless, it continues to provide an alternative transport option to the airport. On 25 May 2019, it was announced that the station will be incorporated as part of the Thomson–East Coast line (TEL) as it extends to the airport's Terminal 5 by 2040.
Before the MRT line, Changi Airport had been operating with no rail link and with full reliance on taxi and bus connections since the airport began operations in 1981. This was effective given the short 20 km (12 mi) distance to the city via the East Coast Parkway and affordability of taxis and buses. Public buses instead linked commuters to nearby MRT stations at Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris. Therefore, there were previously unsuccessful attempts to propose an extension to Changi Airport.
The idea of extending the Mass Rapid Transit system to Changi Airport was reconsidered when Terminal 3 was being built. The earlier plans had long been made for a new line branching off from the existing East West line at Tanah Merah, with some conceptual plans showing a tentative route alignment up to the airport along Airport Boulevard, continuing beyond the airport to Changi Point, before turning southwest back towards the city along the east coast of the island. The plans were finally announced by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 15 November 1996. However, the route alignment showed a deviation from previous plans. The final plan involved building only the first two stations, namely the Expo and Changi Airport stations, the underground station built between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The alignment of the station at the airport has been switched perpendicularly to an east–west direction, such that the station leads to two of the terminals directly from either end of the station. As part of the President's Challenge 2001, a part of a charity walk goes through the tunnel between Expo and Changi Airport stations.
The Contract 504 for the construction of Changi Airport MRT station and its associated tunnels was awarded to Kumagai-Sembawang Joint Venture in October 1998. This project was a joint effort which combines Japanese technology and experience with local knowledge of subcontractor availability, supplier availability, due to the challenges of the construction of the station. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 29 January 1999. In the speech by then-communications minister Mah Bow Tan at the ceremony, he highlighted the challenges of the construction of the station, which would require close cooperation between various parties such as the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the contractors. For the construction of Changi Airport station, different methods of deep excavations using various ground support systems were adopted. The construction work involved the challenge of deep excavation works right next to nearby developments such as the existing Terminal 2 structures. In addition, close monitoring was needed for the construction of the 1 km-long (0.62 mi) tunnel leading to the station, which passes directly underneath the runway and airport terminal. During the construction, CPG Consultants, which was designing Terminal 3 at the time, provided 20 staff to complement the LTA team on the Changi Airport line extension.
The station opened on 8 February 2002, with the official opening ceremony of the Changi Airport MRT extension conducted on 27 February 2002. Since the station's opening, passenger traffic has been moderate, as most bus routes were maintained and continue to be a popular means of cheap, direct transport for local airport/airline employees, as well as travellers not living along the East West line. Many air travellers also prefer to continue taking taxis or private transport as not all of the MRT services have luggage racks in the trains. However, taxi drivers claimed that the station has put them at a disadvantage, reporting a loss of 20 percent in earnings, with about 20,500 commuters using the station daily as of March 2002.
Incorporation into the TEL
On 25 May 2019, the LTA announced an extension of the Thomson–East Coast line (TEL) to Changi Airport. Set to be completed by 2040, The TEL will be extended from Sungei Bedok station to serve the future Changi Airport Terminal 5, and the stretch between Tanah Merah and Changi Airport, which is currently part of the East West line, will be transferred over to the TEL.
- On 24 July 2002, a glass panel of the atria wall shattered. The area was quickly closed off, but train services were not affected.
- On 24 September 2003, a man died at the station, apparently having fallen five stories from the departure hall.
- On 17 January 2020, the rail operator SMRT said that it had found a crack in the crossing at Changi Airport MRT Station, found during inspection works in the morning. Trains have to be diverted to only one platform and have to travel at a slower speed as they approach the affected crossing.
Station details and design
Changi Airport station is currently served by the Changi Airport Branch of the East West line, which connects to the airport from Tanah Merah station as a shuttle service. After the station was first opened on 8 February 2002, there were through services from Boon Lay station to this station. However, due to low ridership, the route reverted to being operated as a shuttle service from 22 July 2003, with trains from Changi Airport station terminating at Tanah Merah station instead. The first train from Changi Airport station departs at 5:31 am on weekdays and Saturdays and 5:59 am on Sundays instead, with the last train from the airport departing at 12:06 am. From Tanah Merah station, the first train towards the station departs at 5:20 am on weekdays and Saturdays and 5:47 am on Sundays instead, with the last train towards the airport from Tanah Merah station departing at 11:50 pm. Headways between trains varies from 7 to 9 mins during peak hours, and 12 mins during off-peak hours.
Various features have been incorporated into the design to make the station aesthetically pleasing to travellers. The station is designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, featuring a large interior space and an illuminated 150 m (490 ft) linkbridge spanning over the island platform, connecting Terminals 2 and 3 with travellators. Australian engineering company Meinhardt Facades also provided structural design engineering of the glazing system and the tensioned cable structure of the two atria (approximately 60 m (200 ft) long by 20 m (66 ft) wide by 36 m (118 ft) high each) located at both ends of the station box adjacent to Terminal 2 and 3 of Changi Airport, with engineering input by Ove Arup and Partners. In 2011, the station was rated 10 out of 15 most beautiful subway stops in the world by BootsnAll.
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