A Journey into Singapore MRT’s Past

It seems like it was only yesterday when the grand opening ceremony of the North-South Line was held at the Toa Payoh station. A total of 26 years has since passed, as the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system becomes an integral part of our daily life. Today, we put aside all the recent troubles of overcrowding, breakdowns and line disruptions, and take a little ride into the MRT’s past.

The Early Debates

The conceptualised idea of a rail system was proposed as early as 1967, two years after Singapore attained its independence. Studies and reviews were carried out, but more than a decade later, the public transport plan remained inconclusive. By the early eighties, intense debates regarding the proposed building of MRT erupted in the parliament.

business times mrt article 1981Then-Trade and Industry Minister Dr Tony Tan suggested more emphasis to be placed on the construction of public housing instead of a mass rapid transit system, as Singapore was facing a labour shortage and rising building costs. The building of Changi Airport also took a toil on the construction resources in the previous five years between the late seventies and early eighties.

Dr Goh Keng Swee, then-Finance Minister, also objected to the rail system. He was concerned that the huge cost, estimated to be $5 billion, could drag down the country’s economy. Believing in an all-bus system instead, Dr Goh Keng Swee even invited two Harvard professors to come out with a report to support his case.

The pro-MRT camp was represented by Ong Teng Cheong, the former Minister for Communications and Labour. He argued that the MRT system would have a tremendous influence in shaping the economic growth and development of Singapore. Comparing with other cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Marseille, Ong Teng Cheong pointed out that an efficient MRT system could also help in enhancing the image of Singapore, and increased the overall standard of living of the people.

The Final Decision

The Comprehensive Traffic Study in 1981 showed that an all-bus system in Singapore was not practical and efficient. A mass transit rail system was recommended instead. Thus, after more than 10 years of feasibility studies, the decision to build a rail-based MRT system was finally made in May 1982. Construction started shortly at Toa Payoh and Novena after a ground-breaking ceremony held at Shan Road on 22th October 1983.

tunnel construction at toa payoh 1984

A formal organisation named the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC) was set up on 14th October 1983 to oversee all roles and responsibilities of the train network. It would later be combined with the Registry of Vehicles and Roads & Transportation Division to form the new Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 1995.

The First Lines & Stations

1. North-South (NS) Line

The first MRT line in operation, the NS Line was intended to link the city to the upcoming new residential towns of Yishun, Ang Mo Kio and Bishan. The 5-station section between Yio Chu Kang and Toa Payoh was officially opened on 7th November 1987, before extended to Raffles Place a month later. The Yishun and Marina Bay stations were added by the end of 1990. The second phase of the NS Line development was completed in February 1996, linking Yishun to Choa Chu Kang, and established a continuous loop to the branch line of the East-West (EW) Line.

artist's impression of ang mo kio mrt station early 1980s

As the NS Line was the first train line to be built in Singapore, it faced many technical and social problems. Many old buildings had to make way, businesses were affected and traffic congestion surged due to the construction works on the ground level. Beside tight schedules and constant track alignments, there were also major challenges in the building of the tunnel below the Singapore River. Due to technical issues, the location of the Newton MRT Station had to be shifted to Scotts Road, a distance away from its original plan at the Newton Circus.

mrt train near bishan depot 1987

Double functioning as air-raid shelters, the six MRT stations in Braddell, Newton, Somerset, Raffles Place, City Hall and Marina Bay are equipped with thick, anti-blast steel doors. Overall, the NS Line has a 44km-long track, 25 stations and seven interchanges that are also linked to the new North-East (NE) Line and Circle (CC) Line

2. East-West (EW) Line

The first section of the EW Line, consisting of two interchanges (City Hall, Raffles Place) and two stations (Tanjong Pagar, Outram Park), was officially opened on the 12th December 1987, about a month after the opening of the NS Line. Its development extended rapidly to Lakeside in the following year. By early 1990, the eastern section was also completed, linking City Hall to Tanah Merah.

construction of mrt tunnels at bugis 1980s

The construction of the Boon Lay station, the westernmost station on the early MRT map, was nearly shelved in 1987. However, with HDB’s decision of building 25,000 new flats in the vicinity, the station was eventually opened in July 1990 to cater for the needs of the new residents as well as the workers from the industrial estates at Jurong and Tuas.

construction of mrt tracks at clementi 1980s

Like some of the stations at the NS Line, there are three MRT stations (Bugis, Tiong Bahru and Lavender) at the EW Line that double as Civil Defence stations. As of 2013, the EW Line remains the longest train line in Singapore, spanning almost 53km and 31 stations from Paris Ris and Changi Airport to Joo Koon.

The development of MRT, upon the completion of its initial stage in the late eighties, was then the largest public project in Singapore, costing a total of $5 billion in construction.

mrt tracks between tampines pasir ris late 1980s

The Evolution of the MRT Map

The early MRT map of NS Line and EW Line consisted of 42 stations, 15 of which were underground. The three depots were based at Bishan, Ulu Pandan and Changi. The conceptualisation was introduced in late 1984, before the first finalised MRT map was released to the public three years later.

early mrt map 1984There were glaring differences in the early maps. The station codes were absent, and there was no Khatib station. Instead, a Sembawang station stood between Yishun and Yio Chu Kang. The stations of Bishan, Newton and Orchard were also listed as San Teng, Newton Circus and Orchard Boulevard respectively.

The second phase of development of NS Line initially did not include Sembawang and Kranji stations. They were later added, while Sungei Kadut was omitted instead. There is a likely possibility of the development of a new town at Sungei Kadut in the future, hence a station code (NS6) is reserved between Yew Tew (NS5) and Kranji (NS7). Likewise, the missing station code of NS12 is a likely reservation for a new housing estate named Simpang built between Sembawang (NS11) and Yishun (NS13).

mrt map 1989

There were even more changes in the EW Line. A series of MRT stations were renamed, such as Lakeside, Chinese Garden, Tanjong Pagar, Bugis and Choa Chu Kang (originally known as Corporation, Jurong Lake, Maxwell, Victoria and Bukit Panjang respectively). Queenstown station switched places with Commonwealth, whereas Dover station was unavailable at the start of the planning; it was only added in 2001. The trio of Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak and Choa Chu Kang, initially categorised under the branch line of EW Line, became an integrated part of NS Line when the loop was completed in 1996.

platform signage at city hall mrt station 1999

In 2009, the Boon Lay Extension was completed with two additional stations (Pioneer, Joo Koon) added. A further four stations (Tuas, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West, Tuas Link), known as the Tuas West Extension, is expected to be up and running by 2016. At the eastern side of Singapore, the Changi Airport Extension was opened by 2002. Branching off at the Tanah Merah station, it consists of two new stations named Expo and Changi Airport.

mrt map 2005

The colour codes of the MRT Lines have evolved from NS Line’s red-yellow band and EW Line’s blue-green to red (NS Line), green (EW Line), purple (NE Line), orange (CC Line) and blue (DT Line). The colour grey is used to represent all the LRTs.

The Grand Opening Day

first mrt trains arrived at singapore 1980sOne of the first MRT trains arrived at the Bishan Depot in July 1986. A commemoration ceremony was held to mark the significant event, and was officiated by Dr Yeo Ning Hong, then-Minister for Communications and Information.

Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Limted (SMRT), the private operator of the new rail system, was established on 6th August 1987 to take over the roles and responsibilities previously held by the MRTC. As the opening date approached, hundreds of trial runs were conducted between August and October of 1987 to ensure the smooth and faultless operation.

first mrt train delivered at bishan depot 1986

The biggest moment finally arrived on the 7th of November 1987 when the first section of NS Line was opened at the Toa Payoh MRT Station. Likened the historical event to a new-born baby, Second Deputy Prime Minister Ong Teng Cheong described it as an incredible achievement after a long and difficult 20 years.

commencement of mrt service 1987

The public response was overwhelming. Massive crowds turned up to witness the opening. Hundreds queued to experience the new ride.

The first train, carrying some 400 VIPs and guests, left Toa Payoh and reached Yio Chu Kang in a 15-minute journey. Just three weeks after the opening of the NS Line, the MRT recorded its first millionth ridership.

samsui women in mrt train on opening day 1987

There was a touching moment observed on the opening day of the MRT when the boss of a construction company gave his workers, three of them Samsui women, a well-deserved day off to enjoy a ride on the new train. The Samsui women had been working painstakingly at the construction site of the Bishan station for four years.

A month later, there were more celebrations as the second section of the NS Line was successfully opened by then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. The trains made their debuts from Toa Payoh, passing by City Hall and Raffles Place, before stopping at the EW Line’s Outram Park station. By early 1988, the MRT system was deemed a success in meeting the expectations of the public. Its official opening was held by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at Raffles City on 12th March 1988.

transitlink mrt tickets  introuction to mrt farecard machine 1989

The TransitLink was established at the start of 1989 by SMRT, SBS (Singapore Bus Service) and TIBS (Trans-Island Bus Services) in an effort to develop an integrated bus-rail public transport system. Commuters could enjoy the convenience of the same ticketing system for both buses and MRT by November 1990. TransitLink would last for 12 years before it got replaced by the contactless Ez-link card system in April 2002.

single trip transitlink card machine 1999

The Current & Future Lines

3. North-East (NE) Line

Spanning 20km and comprising 16 stations, the $5-billion NE Line is Singapore’s third mass rapid transit line. The idea of an additional NE Line was mooted in the mid-nineties, when the Woodlands Extension was being added to the NS Line. The construction, however, only began in 1997 due to the immaturity of the northeastern new towns of Sengkang and Punggol.

Fully underground, automated and driverless, the NE Line was opened in June 2003, with the exception of Buangkok (opened in 2006) and Woodleigh (2011)  stations.

4. Circle (CC) Line

When it was completed in 2011, the CC Line was Singapore’s longest underground automated MRT system. Stretching nearly 36km in length and consisting of 31 stations (except Bukit Brown), it costs an initial estimation of $6.7 billion in construction. Till date, it has seven interchanges at Harbourfront, Buona Vista, Bishan, Paya Lebar, Serangoon, Dhoby Ghaut and Marina Bay.

Like the NE Line, the CC Line was first proposed in the nineties, and was originally named as Marina Line. Its stations, under the Art Program, are given different designs to bring out the unique identities and historical backgrounds of the vicinities where the stations are located. One of its stations, the Bras Basah MRT Station, is the deepest station in Singapore, built at a depth of 35m below ground level.

When the Farrer Road MRT Station was opened in October 2011, there was confusion over the similarity in its name with NE Line’s Farrer Park MRT Station, despite both stations being 5km apart.

mrt lrt map 2011

5. Downtown (DT) Line

Upon its completion in 2017, the 42km-long DT Line will overtake the CC Line as the longest underground and automated train line. There are three stages of DT Line scheduled, comprising of a total of 34 stations between Expo and Bukit Panjang, passing through new stations such as Tampines West, Kaki Bukit, Ubi, Bendemeer, Fort Canning, Sixth Avenue and Beauty World.

The project of DT Line was first announced in mid-2005, with an estimated cost of $18 billion. One of its functions is to take over some of the traffic loads at the Dhoby Ghaut and Raffles Place interchanges. The second stage of the DT Line, also known as the Bukit Timah Line, aims to provide convenience to the commuters travelling between the northwestern residential estates and the city areas.

One of DT Line’s stations, the Tan Kah Kee MRT Station, struck up a controversy in 2008. Originally planned to be named Duchess MRT Station, LTA later suggested its renaming to Watten or Kah Kee after the students from the nearby Hwa Chong Institution petitioned the station to be named Hwa Chong. In the end, the name Tan Kah Kee was chosen as a tribute to the founder of the institution. It was the first time in Singapore MRT’s history that the full name of a person was used for the name of a station.

6. Thomson (TS) Line

First announced in early 2008, a 30km underground system called the Thomson Line will be built and completed by 2019. Projected to cost $18 billion, the line will cut through the central part of Singapore, connecting to residential areas at Springleaf, Upper Thomson, Mayflower, Sin Ming and Kim Seng.

The TS Line is also expected to be integrated with the Rapid Transit System (RTS), a link between Singapore and Johor Bahru.


7. Eastern Region (ER) Line

The ER Line is intended for the residents living in the southeastern part of Singapore. Scheduled to be completed by 2020, it will be 21km long, have 12 stations and run through the likes of Changi, Upper East Coast, Bedok South, Siglap, Marine Parade and Tanjong Rhu.

8. Jurong Region (JR) Line

The JR Line will extend into the heart of the western side of Singapore, connecting Tengah, Jurong West, Jurong East, Choa Chu Kang and West Coast together. It will be in operation by 2025.

9. Cross-Island (CR) Line

The CR Line will provide an alternative route for the commuters of EW Line, and is not expected to be ready before 2030.

Today, the current rail system covers a total of 178km. LTA targets to increase the distance to 360km by 2030. By then, the MRT network will be expected to serve at least double of the 2-million daily ridership today.

first lrt train at bukit panjang track

The Light Rapid Transit (LRT)

Developed to ease the traffic conditions within a new town, the LRT system aims to replace the feeder bus services. The project, however, did not produce stellar results as compared to the MRT system. Restricted to only Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol today, there is little indication that more LRT systems will be built in the future.

The first LRT network was launched at Bukit Panjang in November 1999, after a three-year construction and a cost of $285 million, whereas Sengkang and Punggol LRT were opened in stages between 2003 and 2007. The total length of the tracks is approximately 29km.

The Incidents Over the Years


In November 1989, the MRTC announced that the consumption of chewing gums was prohibited in MRT trains and stations. The ban was implemented after several littering and vandalising of MRT doors and seats. In some worse cases, train services were disrupted by spent gums. The ban of chewing gum was extended to nationwide by early 1992. On the other hand, food and drinks had been prohibited in MRT premises since 1987.

mrt train 1989


In the early morning of 5th August 1993, an east-bound train carrying a full load of 1,800 commuters failed to stop in time, resulting in a collision with a stationary train at Clementi MRT Station. There were as many as 156 injuries reported in this first ever accident in the history of MRT. Investigations were immediately carried out and oil spill was found to be the main cause of the unfortunate accident.


A plot to bomb Yishun MRT Station in December 2001 was foiled when several  suspects belong to terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) were caught planning an attack on the embassies in Singapore.

mrt car accident at lentor ave 2003On 3rd March 2003, a 23-year-old driver lost control of his Mercedes Benz along Lentor Avenue, crashing through the fence and landing onto the tracks. A northbound train could not stop in time, but slowed down sufficiently to avoid a major collision. There were some injuries reported and a three-hour disruption in service.

A tragedy occurred at Nicoll Highway in the afternoon of 20th April 2004. A retaining wall gave way, resulting in the collapse of a section of the road. Several natural gas pipes were ruptured, causing explosions and fire. Four men working at the site died, with a further three injured. The construction of the CC Line was halted for a year due to the investigations.

Several dissatisfied residents at Buangkok captured the attention of public and media after displaying eight paper-cut elephants figures outside Buangkok MRT Station on 27th August 2005, signifying the unused station as a white elephant. They were given stern warnings by the police after investigations, and the Buangkok station was later opened in January 2006.

white elephants at buangkok 2005

A commuter named Tan Jee Suan, 46, committed suicide at the Chinese Garden MRT Station in the evening of 18th October 2006. Apparently depressed over financial problems, he jumped onto the tracks and was instantly killed by the approaching train. Sympathetic towards the plight of his family, the public donated more than $500,000 to Tan Jee Suan’s widow and two teenage sons.

A maintenance works train broke down on the morning of 21st January 2008, causing a seven-hour disruption in the services between Pasir Ris and Tanah Merah. More than 57,000 commuters were affected. SMRT was subsequently fined $387,176 by LTA.


mrt vandalism 2010The security of the SMRT depots at Changi and Bishan was twice breached in May 2010 and October 2011, resulting in trains being vandalised with graffiti. The first vandalism was committed by a Swiss expatriate Oliver Fricker, 32, and his British accomplice, Dane Alexander Lloyd. After the repeated incident of vandalism, SMRT was fined a maximum of $50,000 by LTA.

The MRT network suffered its worst ever breakdowns on the 15th and 17th of December 2011. Over 200,000 commuters were affected by the disruption in the NS Line that totaled more than 12 hours. Nearly 1,000 passengers were stranded in the tunnels between City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut. SMRT was fined a record $2 million by LTA.

Two workers died and eight more injured on 18th July 2012 when a 4m-tall scaffolding gave way at the constructions site of the DT Line’s Bugis Station.


Over the years, there were also many cases of suicides and accidents at several MRT stations where the victims were killed or seriously injured by the approaching trains.

former orchard mrt station late 1980s

The MRT Trivia: Captain SMRT

Do you know that SMRT has a mascot of its own?

captain smrtIt is simply known as Captain SMRT. The superhero, donned in red and possibly the only second superhero in Singapore after VR Man (created by the Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) in 1998), was created to promote the safe behaviour of commuters and the train system’s safety measures, such as the emergency exits.

The MRT Trivia: Urban Legends

Many members of the public were skeptical when the MRT was first built. There was disbelief that long underground tunnels could be constructed in a small island like Singapore. Coupled with superstitions, urban legends of the MRT began to spread among Singaporeans. Fortunately, the rumours subsided when people started to realise the benefits and convenience provided by the new transport network.

Bad Fengshui

Strong rumours surfaced in the eighties that then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew consulted Venerable Hong Chuan regarding the construction of the MRT system in Singapore. The highly respected monk warned that the tunnels would destroy the country’s good fengshui. To rectify the problem, every citizen had to carry a bagua (octagon diagram) with them. Hence, the new $1 coin with a octagon shape was born. It was “coincidentally” launched in September 1987, two months before the NS Line’s grand opening at Toa Payoh.

Ghosts in the Tunnels

When the NS Line was first built, there were persistent rumours of supernatural sightings inside the new tunnels at Bishan and Novena, both of which were former cemetery sites. Stories of maintenance personnel encountering ghostly coffin bearers while doing their checks spread like wild fires. Another popular tale was the haunting of the last train at Bishan, where a lone passenger was terrified by a ghastly spirit of a girl who, after boarding the train, removed her head and calmly placed it on the empty seat.

mrt train at yishun 1989

A Disneyland at Lentor

The section between the stations of Yio Chu Kang and Khatib has the longest tracks among all train lines in Singapore. This led to speculations in the late nineties and early 2000s that a MRT station, possibly named Lentor, might be reserved for the construction of a Disneyland along Lentor Avenue, where there was a large piece of undeveloped forested land. The plan, however, did not materialise. Disney opened their theme park in Hong Kong (in 2005) instead.

Published: 23 July 2013

Updated: 24 September 2013

This entry was posted in Historic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to A Journey into Singapore MRT’s Past

  1. Vi Jay says:

    thanks for the effort to preserve the memories!

  2. Yang Yang says:

    There are many instances of the term NE line being mistakenly used to refer to the NS line instead. Please correct it, thank you!

  3. sgparlay says:

    we need more MRT lines because the population is getting bigger

    but when more lines are built, the MRT operators need higher ridership to make up for the revenues and profits, so even more people are needed

    a vicious cycle

  4. S says:

    loved reading about this. The MRT system in Singapore is really quite amazing, clean, efficient, and low cost compared to many other systems in the US and Europe!

  5. Fiona Chen says:

    hank you for this insightful look into the past. I am however, vehemently against the cross island line and I question its relevance. It would be such a pity for forests to make way for a potential (massive) white elephant.

  6. Danial Putra says:

    The incident in 1993 involved a west-bound train instead of east-bound where the oil spill was detected after Buona Vista Station and the train could not stop in time until it collided with another train at Clementi Station

  7. Pingback: Daily SG: 24 Jul 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  8. Adil says:

    @Fiona Chen I think it best to provide a bit more analysis as to why you are against the Cross-Island line. I don’t know enough of it myself, so I’m remaining neutral

  9. Ee says:

    Great blog for singaporeans

  10. floppy says:

    Thanks for remembering Singapore’s history. I still remember taking the train within the first week of it’s opening, riding from Bishan (where I lived) to Braddell (where my grandparents lived).

  11. It’s weird that they originally named the Bishan MRT Station as San Teng, which made no sense.
    The old name of Bishan was Pek San Teng, so the correct name should be either Pek San Teng or Pek San.

    Maybe they thought it was a person’s name 😀
    Fortunately they changed it, or else it would be an embarrassing mistake

    • Tpy says:

      I just came across this from another blog >> http://goodmorningyesterday.blogspot.sg/

      Looks like San Teng was very near present day bishan. It’s at the current RI site.

      I remembered one of the extended version of the MRT urban legend was that the tunneling drove away the prosperity dragon underground to Hong Kong, and in its wake, it shook down hotel new world. And PM Lee introduced “Ba Gua” on our vehicles ALS (Area Licensing Scheme) logo and our 1dollar coins… haha.

  12. JK says:

    Well done!

  13. lyn says:

    Reading this brought back memories! I still remember the first MRT map. Whatever its problems now, it really transformed travel on our sleepy island, and we were no longer held ransom to buses alone.

    I still hold it as the most amazing infrastructural achievement of our nation, as I once cited during an interview (turned out it was the wrong answer, HDB being the right. 😐 )

    In view of national day, I had also recently posted on my thoughts on Singapore. Do drop by. 🙂

  14. cougar123 says:

    If I am not wrong initially they planned to built MRT station at Bukit Panjang is because during then Bukit Panjang was more developed than Choa Chu Kang which only consisted of Teck Whye neighbourhood back then but end up Choa Chu Kang developed faster than Bukit Panjang and they changed their plan to build the MRT station at Choa Chu Kang instead of Bukit Panjang.

  15. Lai Ah-Eng says:

    the article forgot to mention another important detail: the Interreligious Organisation (IRO) of Singapore sent its representations to conduct joint prayers at the ground-breaking ceremony at Shan Rd.

  16. Ok, on a fun note, I was wrong that there are only two “superheroes” of Singapore.

    Just found out today… Jenny Quantum
    a Singaporean superhero created by the Americans

    Hmmm, her T-shirt even has the Singapore flag on it

  17. iamkf says:

    Reblogged this on IAMKF'S ROOM and commented:
    so much love for this blog

  18. Peggy says:

    Love the way you collect these memories

  19. Sue Neve says:

    you have done a fantastic job and I hope to find a little time each month to read some of your articles again and one day tell our grand children the stories of what was once the Singapore I grew up in ….. ” Mama is going to tell you a story as she smiles and Remembers her much loved Singapore …. Once upon a time many years ago when mama was just a little girl …… ” and so the story is told.
    Thank you RemSg

  20. Hi there! I would like to translate your article to Russian and post on my blog with link to this one, would you mind?

  21. SK says:

    Singapore’s train system has come a long way.
    Great article you have here!

  22. Pingback: In between | autumnotes

  23. Anonymous says:

    The major train breakdowns happened on the 15th and 17th of December 2011, not November.

  24. Mark says:

    I got a crazy thought: When the current plans for public transport are all materialised post-2030, will the govt of the day think of doing away with those elevated train tracks and replace them with fully underground stations? The whole train system will then be truly sub-terrianian! =P

  25. mf says:

    Thanks, this brings back memories of my first MRT ride from Braddell when my grandmama lived to Yio Chu Kang – I don’t know why YCK cos we lived in Ang Mo Kio *.* But it was so fun!

    Now looking at the projected MRT map for 2030, I can only wish I would still be around and mobile enough to enjoy cross country rides on the MRT, preferably with my old hubby or our little grandkids 🙂 Oops, 想太远了…

  26. lol says:

    This is an awesome article. Do expand it.

  27. Different beautiful designs of TransitLink cards!

    (Photo credit: http://www.facebook.com/TransitLinkSG)

  28. dan ho says:

    proof that some of our leaders have foresight, and others don’t

    RIP Ong Teng Cheong.

  29. The SBC Chinese drama 变迁 (“Movin’ On”) in 1987 shows an almost completed MRT station and tracks at Yishun New Town

  30. Former Orchard MRT Station 1987

    (Source: Facebook Group “if you were born in the 70’s in Singapore”)

  31. Tarakan says:

    Very informative and in depth write up about Singapore’s MRT train network. Over the last few years, there’s a few more lines which opened and more to come in the near future till 2020 if I’m not wrong. In total, honestly I have lost count on the no of lines and even the route taken from 1 MRT station to another and the best part I can even get lost in some of the stations itself trying to transfer from 1 line to another. Thus I came across this website which give us guide onto how to travel from 1 MRT station to another with updated map eg. How to go to Orchard MRT from Changi Airport for example. http://www.mynetbizz.com/map/singapore/orchard/changi-airport-to-orchard-mrt.cfm.

  32. Sean Bay says:

    I am an MRT fan too (: It is also 27 Years of the Singapore MRT system since it opened in 1987.
    It is also Ten Years for Nicoll Highway Collapse incident since 2004.
    Heres the history of SMRT Circle Line and its constriction history:
    1998–first started planning
    2002–construction began and was originally targeted for completion in 2006.
    2004–Nicoll Highway collapse incident took place on April 20 which resulted in the death of 4 LTA workers. Because of that, the completion of the entire Circle Line was delayed and postponed to open in 2009 instead.
    2009–CCL was finally opened and started with train services between Bartley and Marymount on May 28.
    2010–Phase 2 of CCL opened between linking towards Dhoby Ghaut (Triple Interchange) from Bartkey station on April 17.
    2011–SMRT Circle Line fully completed (with train service towards Harbourfront Two-line terminus) on October 8 to commemorate SMRT 24 Years of Rail Service in Singapore.

  33. New MRT station between Sembawang, Yishun to be built

    Today Online
    Published: June 28, 2014

    SINGAPORE — More than a year since the authorities said they were studying the possibility of building an MRT station between Yishun and Sembawang on the North-South Line, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew confirmed yesterday that the station will be built and it will be called Canberra.

    The station was proposed in anticipation of future developments in that area. The Urban Development Authority’s draft masterplan last year showed Sembawang will see new housing areas along Canberra Link, among other new developments.

    Yesterday, Mr Lui said the feasibility study had been completed and the Land Transport Authority would provide more details later. This will include information on the station’s location and date of completion. Mr Lui was speaking at the Thomson Line’s groundbreaking ceremony at Woodlands, which marked the start of its construction. The 30km-long Thomson Line will be completed in three phases from 2019 to 2021 and will have 22 stations. When fully completed, it will run largely parallel to the North-South Line and provide an additional 60 per cent capacity along the North-South corridor.

    It will serve housing estates in the northern and central areas, including Woodlands and Sin Ming, and connect them to the city and the rest of the network. A daily ridership of about 400,000 commuters is projected.

    • 88URAnus88 says:

      Canberra Station will start construction in mid-2015 and will be opened in 2019. Its platforms are built on the sides of the tracks.

  34. The conceptual designs of the MRT Stations in the early 1980s…

    Chai Chee Station, Alexandra Station and Kampong San Teng Station were later renamed as Bedok, Redhill and Bishan Stations

    Contributed by reader Eddy He (thanks!)

    (Source: Singapore Mass Transit Study Phase III – Preliminary Engineering Design published in 1981)

  35. Probably fact worth mentioning:

    Later, he took on the chairmanship of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority board, started in 1980 to build and operate Singapore’s MRT network. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/more-lifestyle-stories/story/10-important-eurasians-singapore-20141013#sthash.IetEwt8V.dpuf

  36. 333bustrain says:

    The train in graffiti on 2010 is set 047/048 on the carriage 1048.

  37. super good !!
    good talent articel
    please join my blog http://singapore-transport.blogspot.com/

    thanks admin 🙂

  38. A new record for Singapore MRT, but a negative one…

    MRT breakdown: North-South, East-West lines down for hours

    07 July 2015

    SINGAPORE — In what could potentially be the worst MRT breakdown to date, services on the North-South and East-West Lines came to a complete halt for several hours during evening rush hour today (July 7).

    This is the first time services on both lines were affected at the same time. A power fault had affected trains along the North-South and East-West Lines at 7.15pm, said SMRT in a statement. “This led to a system-wide disruption along the entire line.”

    Partial service was restored at 9.20pm, with the resumption of train services, albeit at a slower speed, on the East-West Line from Pasir Ris to Joo Koon MRT stations. Train service continued to be unavailable on the North-South Line for another hour, with SMRT updating later that services on the line resumed at 10.35pm, at a slower speed.

    The transport operator said it would continue to investigate the cause of the power fault.

    The Land Transport Authority said in a statement that “preliminary investigations found a faulty train which could have caused the power to trip; arcing was observed on the underside of this train”.

    “The power surge caused the protective relays across the entire North South East West Lines network to be activated, leading to a shut-down of power across the two lines. We will continue to comb through the system through the night to see if there could be other faulty trains or other causes,” said the LTA, adding that engineers would through the night with SMRT to recover train services and ensure that services run properly tomorrow.

    The authority said it would conduct a full investigation into this incident. The LTA’s crisis management team, led by Chief Executive Chew Men Leong, was at the Land Transport Operations Centre to lead the this evening’s recovery efforts.


  39. Philip Tay says:

    Good article!, I remembered when I returned from Tokyo in early 1985 and realised that Singapore was building a MRT system. I was very excited since I had experienced what it was like riding the Tokyo Metro system. Mr. Ong Teng Cheong’s vision that the MRT system could help in enhancing the image of Singapore, and increased the overall standard of living of the people was so very true. I truly believe that if the MRT system were not built, Singapore would not be the Singapore we see and live today.
    As a matter of fact, I am currently negotiating with a foreign city to build its first MRT system basing on the success story of Singapore.

  40. Abby Ng says:

    How do you know that those lines are built in the future? I mean that how do you get to know it?

  41. Names of MRT stations on Thomson-East Coast Line (East Coast stretch) announced

    21 July 2016

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced the names of the 10 stations on the East Coast stretch of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Downtown Line 3 Extension (DTL3e), after a public poll on the preferred names.

    The TEL station names are: Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Tanjong Katong, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap, Bayshore, Bedok South and Sungei Bedok. Xilin is the station’s name for DTL3e. Sungei Bedok will serve as a TEL/DTL3e interchange.

    Members of the public were invited to suggest station names for the East Coast stretch of the TEL and DTL3e in April last year.

    The final names were whittled down from 150 suggestions, and about 38,000 votes were received during the polling exercise in October last year.

    The LTA consulted partnering Government agencies such as the National Heritage Board, Urban Redevelopment Board and Housing Development Board in finalising the station names.


  42. The ongoing construction of Tuas West Extension

  43. Former voice of MRT announcements Juanita Melson dies

    23 January 2017
    The Straits Times

    Radio veteran Juanita Melson, who voiced the SMRT train and station announcements between 1996 and 2008, died last Thursday (Jan 19) of cancer.

    Mrs Melson, who was 72, worked as a DJ and later as a programme manager for Rediffusion, Singapore’s only cable radio station when it was set up in 1949.

    She joined Rediffusion in 1974 and left in 2003.

    According to her daughter Tracy Melson, the family found out about Mrs Melson’s lung cancer in 2013, and that it spread to her brain by the second half of last year.

    Ms Melson, who is in her 40s, said that her mother died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family members, adding they were thankful that she did not go in pain.

    Ms Melson, who works in hospitality, said that her mother was eating proper meals until Jan 15. Aside from being more tired, she still recognised her family and talked with them up until the day she died.

    Mrs Melson made a deep impact on many famous local media personalities in her almost 30 years at Rediffusion, one of them being Kiss92 DJ John Klass.

    Speaking with The Straits Times, he said that he would not be where he is now without her guidance. She hired him as radio DJ in 1991 when he just completed his national service, and got his band Kick! signed to Japanese record label Pony Canyon.

    “She picked me up from nowhere,” said Klass.

    He recalled her meticulous attention to detail when hosting shows, saying she taught him things like “the art of when to press the play button” and “how to speak to an audience so that you connect with them personally”.

    In a Facebook tribute last Saturday, he said: “(She) was more than just a boss and, like for many of us at Rediffusion, she was a good friend and, to some extent, like a mother I never had.”

    Regarding his post, Klass told The Straits Times: “I needed to put that straight that she made a whole lot of difference to a lot of people… For me this whole thing is about gratitude.”

    Lush 99.5FM DJ Chris Ho also has much to thank Mrs Melson for. He knew her from her Rediffusion days, and she submitted his show to the Australasian Broadcasting Arts & Sciences, leading him to win the Paters Award for Best Asia-Pacific Radio Personality in 1987.

    “If she didn’t submit my show… I would not have won the award,” he said.

    He added that his strongest memory of Mrs Melson is her voice. “It is a very pure voice, a proper voice… Her delivery was always warm, precise, sincere and lovely, just lovely to hear.”

    When asked what he would miss the most about her, Ho’s reply was simple: “Her smile.”


  44. Jurong Region Line, Singapore’s 7th MRT line, to open in three phases from 2026

    09 May 2018

    The Jurong Region Line (JRL), which will serve residents in Choa Chu Kang, Boon Lay and future developments in the Tengah area, will have 24 stations and open in three phases starting from 2026.

    The 24km-line, which will be above ground entirely, will also link up to the North-South Line at Choa Chu Kang and the East-West Line at Boon Lay.

    Details of the island’s seventh MRT line were announced on Wednesday by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who said the JRL will improve the resilience of the entire MRT network. He said the two interchange stations at Choa Chu Kang and Boon Lay will offer commuters alternative travel routes, redistributing and relieving train loading between Choa Chu Kang and Jurong East stations so commuters can have more comfortable rides.

    The JRL, Mr Khaw said, will go towards achieving the Government’s vision for Jurong. It will help develop the Jurong Lake District into the largest commercial hub outside the Central Business District and support the development of the Jurong Innovation District.

    The upcoming Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail in Jurong will also offer commuters connections to Malaysia.

    Said Mr Khaw: “When all these plans come together, Jurong will be a water front business hub nestled in greenery, served by good public transport connections, as well as amenities to support active mobility.”

    He added that the JRL “marks a quantum leap” in the development of the Jurong region, which was until the 1950s, mostly swamps, jungles and fishing villages. The region has, however, been built up into a economic and residential centre, with 300,000 residents and 400,000 workers.

    The new MRT line will connect to places such as Nanyang Technological University, Jurong Industrial estate, including Jurong Island and the future Jurong Gateway.


  45. Bluee says:

    wow! talk about the art in the past! still remember some of the map designs haha!!!

  46. Hang Sen says:

    Hi Remembersingapore admin. I am amazed the photos you have for singapore 1980s. is it possible for me to use your images to showcase for my 1980s thematic roadshow at the shopping malls?

  47. Cross Island MRT Line to run directly under Central Catchment Nature Reserve

    04 Dec 2019
    The Straits Times

    The Cross Island MRT Line (CRL) will run directly under Singapore’s largest nature reserve, instead of skirting around it.

    Announcing its decision on Wednesday (Dec 4), the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said the direct alignment will have tunnels going 70m below the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

    Both options – going directly under and skirting around the reserve – are considered viable after an in-depth study, but nature groups had strongly called for the skirting alignment to prevent detrimental impact on flora and fauna in the gazetted reserve near MacRitchie Reservoir.

    MOT said the direct alignment will result in the total travel time becoming six minutes shorter than the skirting option. Fares will also be about 15 per cent lower per trip on average as the route is shorter and more direct, and construction cost is expected to be $2 billion lower.

    The ministry also said the direct route will be more environmentally friendly in the long run, as it “has lower energy consumption”.

    The 50km CRL will run from Changi to Jurong, and will serve estates such as Pasir Ris, Ang Mo Kio and Clementi. It is expected to have an initial ridership of 600,000 per day when it is completed by 2031.

    The line was announced in early 2013, and preliminary plans showed it running under primary and secondary forests in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

    Nature groups, alarmed by the environmental harm which the construction and operation of an underground MRT line right across the heart of the reserve could cause, suggested that the line be built along Lornie Road. This alternative route skirts around the reserve.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) commissioned a two-phase Environmental Impact Assessment for both alignment options in 2014. In a statement, the MOT outlined the measures it will take to mitigate the line’s environmental impact, based on feedback from nature groups.

    Tunnelling as deep as 70m below the reserve – equivalent to the height of a 25-storey HDB block – will ensure the work is fully carried out through hard granite rock, far away from surface flora and fauna, it said.

    No surface works will be done in the reserve, it added, noting that typical MRT tunnels are 20m to 30m underground. There will be two work sites outside the reserve, one along Island Club Road and the second on the western edge of the reserve across from the Pan Island Expressway.

    “LTA is committed to explore ways to further optimise the layout of these worksites to minimise land take and any potential disturbance,” said MOT.

    In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the Government had agonised over the alignment as the reserve is “a special part of Singapore”. Skirting the CRL around the nature reserve would “cost taxpayers and commuters dearly”, he said.

    The Government decided to tunnel much deeper compared to regular MRT lines “so that any impact on the flora and fauna in the nature reserve can be almost completely eliminated”, he added.

    Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said that “the environment assessment has shown that both alignments are feasible”. Also, the skirting option would result in longer travel time, additional construction as well as expected higher commuter fares. “We have therefore decided on the direct alignment,” he said.

    Asked about a potentially unfavourable effect the direct alignment would have on network capacity factor – a fare adjustment component which takes into account the capacity of a transport service vis-a-vis actual usage – because it goes through nearly 4km of unpopulated area under the nature reserve, Dr Lam said: “That is a separate issue… we will address that subsequently.”


    The decision of whether the Cross Island Line will go under or around Singapore’s largest nature reserve was six years in the making. Nature groups were concerned that building a train line under a protected nature reserve would set a precedent for future work in nature areas.

    MOT said various factors had been taken into consideration before the direct alignment was selected, including the findings from the environmental study.

    The first phase, which had looked at the impact of soil works on the flora and fauna of the nature reserve, had determined that preliminary tests could have a “moderate” impact on wildlife if measures to reduce impact were carried out.

    The second phase, which was released earlier this year, had looked at the impact of the construction and operation of the line. It also concluded that this impact could be reduced if mitigation measures are carried out.


  48. Pingback: Comparison of cost and construction times of first metro lines in Asia

    • Lee Too Ko says:

      Hi. I did see the 1984 Map of the MRT showed Bukit Panjang instead of Choa Chu Kang. Do you know why the changed to Choa Chu Kang instead ?

  49. Pingback: 10 Mysteries And Legends Of The World’s Subway Systems – QS Daily

  50. Lee Too Ko says:

    Hi. I did see the 1984 Map of the MRT showed Bukit Panjang instead of Choa Chu Kang. Do you know why the changed to Choa Chu Kang instead ?

  51. The new North-South and East-West Line MRT trains have arrived in Singapore.

    Conceptualised and designed in Germany, and manufactured and assembled in China with parts sourced from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, these new trains will be replacing the old 1987 batch.

    (Photo Credit: Land and Transport Authority (LTA) Facebook)

  52. Kennyisegg49 says:

    I have been looking for a photo or so, which/where the end track of Yishun station. I remembered it was alongside a temple with purple rooftop.

  53. 88URAnus88 says:

    Does anyone have pictures of the North East Line under construction?

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