North East MRT line
North East line
|Native name||Laluan MRT Timur Laut|
வடக்கு கிழக்கு எம்ஆர்டி வழி
Under construction (Punggol Coast)
|Owner||Land Transport Authority|
Punggol Coast (2024)
1 (Under construction)
|System||Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)|
|Operator(s)||SBS Transit (ComfortDelGro Corporation)|
|Daily ridership||233,389 (July 2020)|
|Planned opening||2024Punggol Coast)(|
|Opened||20 June 2003 |
15 January 2006 (Buangkok)
20 June 2011 (Woodleigh)
|Line length||19.2 km (11.9 mi) (Operational)|
1.6 km (0.99 mi) (Under construction)
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||1500 V DC Overhead catenary|
|Operating speed||limit of 90 km/h (56 mph)|
The North East line (NEL) is the shortest Mass Rapid Transit line in Singapore. It is a high-capacity line, and runs from HarbourFront in the south-west to Punggol in the north-east. It is 19.2 kilometres (11.9 mi) long with 16 stations. Due to its rather short length, a full journey on the North East Line from one end to the other takes just about 30 minutes. The line is coloured purple on the rail map.
First opened on 20 June 2003, it is the third line in the Singapore MRT system. It is the first MRT line in the network to use fully automated and driverless trains, and is also the world's first fully underground and high-capacity driverless rapid transit line to use conventional steel-wheel technology (as opposed to the rubber-tyred, medium-capacity technology found in systems like VAL). The North East Line is also the first line to feature Art in Transit across all 16 stations and full Wireless@SG coverage in all 16 stations. It is the first MRT line to be operated by SBS Transit. It is also the first MRT line to run entirely underground.
Plans for the line date back to 1986, when Communications Minister Yeo Ning Hong announced that it would be "feasible to extend the MRT once it is 3 million". Initially, the line would have stretched from Punggol and Seletar/Jalan Kayu to Outram Park. In 1993, the Land Transport Authority decided to extend the line southwards to HarbourFront, after noting the demand for people visiting the World Trade Centre (the present day HarbourFront Centre).
The Land Transport Authority received approval for the construction of the North East line on 16 January 1996, shortly after the plans were feasible since the Hougang Central Bus Interchange opened on 17 December 1994. French company Alstom was chosen as the main contractor and manager of the project. The operating license was given to new rail operator Singapore Bus Service (present-day SBS Transit) on 20 May 1999 to foster competition with SMRT Trains. Construction began on 25 November 1997 and was completed on 20 January 2001, with new signages (station codes change) installed in all stations.
The line was scheduled for completion in December 2002, but due to various problems in the automation, the opening was repeatedly delayed. It was finally opened on 20 June 2003, with higher fares than existing lines supposedly to compensate for the heavy construction costs (S$4.6 billion).
Opening of reserved stations
When the line was opened, all of the stations were operating except Buangkok and Woodleigh. SBS Transit announced that these would open only when there was a critical mass of passengers in those areas. With respect to Buangkok, which had already been fully built, the company claimed that the projected number of passengers was too low to cover operating costs. Constant public pressure, notably the "White Elephant" incident and subsequent media attention, forced it to review the situation and the station duly opened on 15 January 2006. The last station on the line, Woodleigh, opened on 20 June 2011, in light of new developments near the station.
On 17 December 2018, LTA announced that the line will undergo refurbishment from 2019 onwards. These works included reconditioning the line's signalling and power systems, and the installation of new rails and switches. A contract was also signed with CRRC Nanjing Puzhen for the overhaul of the line's first-generation rolling stock, to be completed between 2019 and 2024.
Punggol Coast extension
On 17 January 2013, the Land Transport Authority announced a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) extension of the line from Punggol through Punggol North including the new Punggol Downtown. Initially planned to be completed by 2030, on 7 June 2017, then Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng announced that the extension would open in 2023, 7 years ahead of the expected opening date. The single station extension will span 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) and will serve the future Punggol North area, along with the planned "creative cluster and learning corridor" in Punggol. Construction on the extension commenced in 2018.
On 13 November 2020, Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung announced that the Punggol Coast MRT station will be completed in 2024 instead due to delays from the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes even as works progressed to 40% completion with the tunnels finished.
Network and operations
As of 2017[update], trains operate at two to three-minute intervals during weekday peak hours, four to five-minute intervals during weekday off-peak hours and four to five-minute intervals on weekends.
As the name implies, the fully-underground 19.2-kilometre (11.9 mi) North East line connects Central Singapore to the north-eastern parts of the island, serving a total of 16 stations. Beginning at HarbourFront station, the line goes in a northeast direction, paralleling the New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Street in Chinatown between Outram Park and Clarke Quay stations. Passing underneath the Singapore River and Fort Canning Hill to Dhoby Ghaut station, then it continues to Little India station parallel to Selegie Road. The line continues to follow the route of Race Course Road and Serangoon Road through Little India and Boon Keng. Between Potong Pasir and Kovan stations, it parallels Upper Serangoon Road, then it curves north to Hougang station. The line then runs below Hougang Avenue 6 and Sengkang Central to Sengkang station in Sengkang and further extends to Punggol station in Punggol, where it currently terminates. The NEL will continue to curve towards Punggol Coast MRT station in 2024.
|Station number||Station name||Image||Interchange/notes|
|HarbourFront||Interchange with the Circle line.|
|Outram Park||Interchange with the East West line and the Thomson-East Coast line. (2022)|
|Chinatown||Interchange with the Downtown line.|
|Dhoby Ghaut||Interchange with the North South and Circle lines.|
|Little India||Interchange with the Downtown line|
|Serangoon||Interchange with the Circle line.|
|Hougang||Interchange with the Cross Island line (2030)|
|Sengkang||Interchange with the Sengkang LRT.|
|Punggol||Interchange with the Punggol LRT and Cross Island line (2032)|
|North East line extension (under construction, to be ready by 2024)|
|Punggol Coast||Under construction|
The North East line's numbering scheme reserves station code "NE2" for future use.
The rolling stock consists of Alstom Metropolis trains ordered under C751A and C751C contracts, running in a six-car formation. These trains operate from Sengkang Depot near Buangkok station, which also houses maintenance and train overhaul facilities.
In 2010, the government announced that they were looking to increase the number of trains on the North East line by 70% within 5 to 6 years to cater to an expected increase in passenger traffic. 18 trains of six cars each were purchased under turnkey contract C751C, and entered service in October 2015.
The North East line is equipped with Alstom Urbalis 300 Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system on the MASTRIA system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 4 (UTO). The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Iconis Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and Smartlock Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.
Train Data Management System (TDMS) which concentrate and dispatch the rolling stock information with fixed equipment. The IAGO Waveguide communications network has the capability to transmit video and is almost maintenance-free. Base stations are located within the signalling equipment room.
Notes and references
- excluding reserved station for NE2
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- "Speech by Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for Communications at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the NEL 25 Nov 97 at 5.30 pm at Farrer Park Station site (junction of Owen and Race Course Road)". NAS. 25 November 1997. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
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- OpenStreetMap contributors (15 May 2020). "NEL underneath New Bridge Road" (Map). OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 May 2020.[self-published source]
- OpenStreetMap contributors (15 May 2020). "NEL underneath Singapore River and Fort Canning Hill" (Map). OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 May 2020.[self-published source]
- OpenStreetMap contributors (15 May 2020). "Race Course Road and Serangoon" (Map). OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 May 2020.[self-published source]
- OpenStreetMap contributors (15 May 2020). "NEL under Upper Serangoon Road" (Map). OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 May 2020.[self-published source]
- OpenStreetMap contributors (15 May 2020). "NEL from Hougang to Punggol" (Map). OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 May 2020.[self-published source]
- "North East Line extension". Land Transport Authority. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018.
- "LTA and SMRT Award Contracts for New Trains and Re-Signalling Project". Land Transport Authority. 1 February 2012. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Alstom to supply 34 Metropolis trains and signaling upgrade to Singapore metro". 3 February 2012. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
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