Cross Island MRT line

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Cross Island MRT line
Native name Laluan MRT Rentas Pulau
குறுக்கு தீவு மெட்ரோ வரி
Type Rapid transit
System Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
Status Under Planning
Stations Around 30
Daily ridership 600,000 (expected)
Planned opening 2030; 12 years' time (2030)
Owner Land Transport Authority
Operator(s) TBA
Character Fully Underground
Depot(s) TBA
Rolling stock TBA
Line length 50 km (31 mi) (estimated)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Cross Island MRT line (CRL) is a planned Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line in Singapore. It is currently under planning and evaluation[1] and will be the eighth MRT line when built.[2]

The line will begin from Changi, passing through Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Timah, Clementi, West Coast before terminating at Jurong Industrial Estate.


The line was first announced by the Land Transport Authority on 17 January 2013.[3] Studies on the Cross Island line began on May 2013.[4]

There has been a controversy over the alignment of the line's Bukit Timah stretch as it appears to cut through part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and MacRitchie Reservoir, although the Land Transport Authority insisted that the alignment of the line was not finalised as soil investigations and feasibility studies have yet to be conducted.[5]


Targeted to be completed by 2030, it will offer East-West commuters an alternative to the existing East West line and Downtown line. It will also connect to all the other major lines to serve as a key transfer line, complementing the role currently fulfilled by the orbital Circle line.[6]

The eastern leg of the line will include a segment that branches out from Pasir Ris and extends into Punggol.[1]

Besides linking residents to jobs, the line will serve the upcoming "creative cluster and learning corridor" in Punggol, which will include the Singapore Institute of Technology's new campus.

In addition to the previously announced alignment of the CRL, the LTA is studying about linking the CRL to the future Thomson-East Coast MRT line at the Changi region, to connect to the future Changi Airport Terminal 5 and with the TEL ending at the Changi Airport MRT station. With such an alignment, there will be a direct connection between the airport and the rest of the city. If feasible, future commuters will be able to enjoy a seamless ride on the CRL or the TEL to any of the terminals at Changi Airport without having to change lines.[7][8] More details will be announced once the alignments of the CRL and TEL are complete.

Alignment controversy[edit]

Central catchment area in Singapore

Since its announcement on 17 January 2013, there has been a controversy over the alignment of the line's Bukit Timah stretch as it appears to cut through part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and MacRitchie Reservoir, hence prompting the Nature Society Singapore to call for a change in the alignment of the line, although the Land Transport Authority insisted that the alignment of the line was not finalised as soil investigations and feasibility studies have yet to be conducted until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was commissioned to study the impact the line would have on the natural habitats of the reserve. Various stakeholders, including nature and environmental groups, will be engaged and consulted to ensure that their views and concerns are accommodated as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment study. On 19 July 2013, the NSS has put forward, in a position paper, two proposed alternative alignments for this stretch of the Cross Island line. The LTA claims that none of the trees or plants (vegetation) above the ground will be affected.[9] On September 11, 2013, studies about the Cross Island line's alignment under the CCNR were to commence in 2014.[10]

The proposed alignments include a northern route that would run close to the Thomson line, heading west towards Mandai, Sungei Kadut and Gali Batu before terminating at Choa Chu Kang, which will be an interchange to the North South line, Bukit Panjang LRT and the upcoming Jurong Region line. The other route will run along Lornie Road and was cited to "add 1.7 kilometres to 2 kilometres to the Cross Island line, and an estimated four minutes' additional travel time. It would present an opportunity to serve residents near Adam Road and visitors to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park", running almost parallel to the stretch of the Circle line from Marymount to Botanic Gardens. However, engineers noted that "it may still be possible to construct the tunnels along the original proposed route without disturbing the nature reserve, but this must be examined in detail" and that a "straight rail line is better and cheaper from the engineering and operations point of view".[11]

On February 24 2014, the LTA called for a tender to assess the environmental impact of the line, targeted for completion by 2016. The study will help to facilitate in the subsequent civil works for the line.[12]

On 3 July 2014, the LTA appointed Environmental Resources Management (S) Pte Ltd (ERM) to conduct the EIA for the section of the line around and through the nature reserve. The work started immediately and targeted to complete in 2016. The works will include studying the ecosystem and physical conditions along both the straight and skirting alignments, as well as assessing how construction and operation of the line would affect the CCNR.[13] The LTA is still studying all options and the final alignment will only be announced near the completion date.

On October 19, 2017, the soil tests for determining the CRL's alignment along the CCNR were announced to be nearing completion.The soil tests will help engineers determine the soil and rock profile under Singapore's largest nature reserve, started in February and have been watched closely, especially by environmental groups who are urging the Government not to build the MRT line under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. "The works are expected to be completed by the end of this year," said the LTA.[14]

On March 20, 2018, the LTA declared that the release of the findings on the environmental impact of drilling and other initial works that have been done to assess if the Cross Island MRT line can be built under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve would be completed later that year. The investigation works, which were completed in 2017, will help decipher the final decision on the alignment of the CRL.[15]

Possible future express services[edit]

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has expressed interest in the implementation of possible express services on the CRL in future, apart from having just normal services.[16] This express service would benefit commuters during the morning peak hours as trains would stop at only the interchanges and skip the remaining stations, hence, reducing travel time greatly.[16] The plan is currently under feasibility studies and more details would be released once the studies are complete.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Speech by Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport, at visit to DTL1 Chinatown Station, 17 January 2013, 9.30am at DTL1 Chinatown Station". Ministry of Transport. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 20 February 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Two New Rail Lines and Three New Extensions to Expand Rail Network by 2030". Land Transport Authority. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "More new MRT lines to be built by 2030". The Straits Times. January 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Studies for Cross Island Line to Start". The Straits Times. 2017-11-04. 
  5. ^ "Nature Society suggests different route for Cross Island MRT Line". July 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ Musfirah, Hetty (17 January 2013). "S'pore to have two new MRT lines by 2030". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Rail Report: Higher Reliability and Expanded Network in 2017 | Press Room | Land Transport Authority". Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  8. ^ "Changi's T5 likely to be served by 2 MRT lines". The Straits Times. March 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  9. ^ "Discussion and Position Paper" (PDF). Nature Society (Singapore). 18 July 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Environment Impact Assessment for Cross Island line to start next year". The Straits Times. 2013-09-11. 
  11. ^ "Nature Society proposes alternative route for Cross Island line". TODAYOnline. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Lim, Adrian (25 February 2014). "LTA to suss out new MRT line's green impact". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Environmental Resources Management to Assess Environmental Impact of Cross Island Line". Land Transport Authority. 4 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Soil tests for MRT line in nature reserve mostly complete". The Straits Times. October 19, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  15. ^ "Cross Island Line: Findings of site investigation works to be released". The Straits Times. 20 March 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c Sim, Royston (8 May 2014). "LTA to study use of express trains". AsiaOne Transport. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2017. LTA to study use of express trains 

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