Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew recently announced that the second phase of Downtown line (12 stations in total) will be opening ahead of schedule by December 2015.
While many are elated because of the enhanced convenience, some are still skeptical about SMRT’s recent spate of misfortunes and breakdowns. However, it is no doubt that we are blessed with pretty good public transport network, and our rapid and fast development since the first MRT built and started operation in 1987.
We peek into 10 interesting and fun facts that you never knew about the MRT stations in Singapore.
1. Non-parallel train tracks
Not just the smallest MRT station, Redhill MRT on the East-West line is also the only train station where the tracks on each side are not parallel. The station is trapezoidal in shape when viewed from above.
2. Deepest underground station
Promenade is currently the deepest station at 43 meters underground. There is no rat race in the depth of the stations: Bras Basah, with its iconic escalator leading to the station, is 35 meters deep. Dhoby Ghaut MRT station comes third, at 28 meters.
3. Highest elevated station
Tuas Crescent MRT will be an upcoming station for the west extension to the industrial estate of Tuas. Slated to open in 2016, it is said to be the highest elevated station and will also be the first station in Singapore to have tracks built in the middle of a vehicular bridge.
5. Most fare gates
Kranji MRT has the most fare gates for MRT stations. This is made so for greater facilitation of passengers in and out of the station during the peak periods at Singapore Turf Club, and for people traveling to and fro from Malaysia.
6. Oldest station
Toa Payoh was the first MRT station in Singapore to be completed. Having completed on 5 August 1985, the station welcomed the grand opening of the first phase of the North South Line in 1987. The concourse area of the station bears the inauguration plate of SMRT in commemoration of its history. Toa Payoh was refurbished in 2008, but the recognizable yellow still runs as part of the station’s identity today.
7. Missing stations
There are a few cases of missing stations in Singapore. Many would have noticed the long travelling time between these stations.. Sungei Kadut has long been considered to be between Yew Tee and Kranji MRT, but nothing has been confirmed as of now. The only public bus that plies along the extensive furniture industrial estate is Bus 925.
Bukit Brown MRT will be between Caldecott and Botanic Gardens. Currently just a shell station that is meant to be reserved for future use, there is an emergency escape shaft built on surface. The current structures nearby comprise of Omar Salmah Mosque and the Bukit Brown Cemetery, the latter in the process of exhumation.
8. Fastest and most furious
Caldecott and Botanic Gardens are stations on Circle Line that are the furthest apart. Despite traveling at 110 km/h, train still takes three to four minutes between the stations. Bukit Brown is slated to open between the two stations only after the area has been more densely populated.
9. Naming of station
Tan Kah Kee, one of the station slated to open this December 2015 along the second phase of Downtown Line, will mark the first time that a person’s full name to be used for naming of a MRT station. Suggestions of the naming of the station was opened to the public. Due to close proximity to Hwa Chong Institution, the name “Hwa Chong” was suggested with a Facebook group set up. While LTA requires “names [to] identify the station readily and have a link to the heritage of the neighbourhood, if possible,” Tan Kah Kee, founder of Hwa Chong Institution was named.
Lakeside is another station that has a naming issue. Originally Corporation, it was renamed as Lakeside 2 years before its opening, to reflect Jurong Lake, the picturesque geographical feature along the train tracks.
10. Side platforms
Braddell is the first MRT station to have the side platforms due to space constraints. As such, Braddell MRT used to be the only station opening at the opposite side of the train doors. Dover MRT is the first elevated station to have the side platforms, after the late addition of the station to the EW Line in 2001. The next side platform station to be built will be Canberra MRT, to be constructed between Sembawang and Yishun MRT.
If all these are not enough for you, here’s the speculative MRT network that has been circulating around for some time now.
Writer: Leong Chee Sheng
Photos as linked