Considerations in expanding rail network

Media Replies 14 Oct 2014

We refer to Mr Zhang Jianyun’s letter "Explore options to improve future capacity of train system” (TODAY, 2 Oct).

The design of our rail lines is based on the projections of Singapore’s population and ridership growth, obtained after working closely with the relevant agencies.  Other factors considered when planning a new line include travel times, commuter benefits, changing commuter travel patterns, upcoming developments, as well as the distribution of new residential and employment sectors. A longer car system requires longer station platforms and larger train depots. This in turn requires more land-take, and potentially more land acquisition, which can have significant impact on homes and families. LTA weighs these factors very carefully when considering the need for a higher-capacity system or buffer and keeps acquisition to only what is necessary.

As Mr Zhang has noted, we are expanding our rail network.  The first stage of the Downtown Line was opened in December last year; we are currently constructing stages two and three of the Downtown Line as well as the Thomson-East Coast Line. We will also be constructing the Jurong Region Line, Cross Island Line as well as extensions to the Circle, Downtown and North East Lines to enhance the rail network to better serve commuters. These will double our rail network to about 360km by 2030, meeting the demand in public transport ridership over the next two decades while also providing some buffer capacity should the population and ridership growth increase beyond our projections.

Besides expanding the network further with new rail lines, we are continuing to improve the capacity of the existing train systems by injecting additional trains and train trips where possible and to encourage more commuters to travel during off-peak periods to spread out the demand.

Mr Zhang has rightly pointed out that increasing the number of train cars or running express train services on existing rail lines will require significant infrastructural investment, as well as land take. 

While we are currently focusing on building the new lines to expand our coverage, we will continue to monitor and enhance our rail network so that it remains responsive to demands. 

We thank Mr Zhang for the opportunity to explain our rail network strategy.

Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority

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