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East West MRT line

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The East West line (EWL) is a high-capacity MRT line operated by SMRT. It is the second Mass Rapid Transit line built in Singapore. The line is 57.2 kilometres (35.5 mi) long with 35 stations, 8 of which are below ground,[1] making it the longest line in Singapore. It runs from Pasir Ris, in the eastern region Singapore, to Tuas Link in the west. A separate spur line links Tanah Merah and Changi Airport via Expo. The line is coloured green on system maps, and began operations on 12 December 1987.

MRT Singapore Destination 1.png MRT Singapore Destination 2.png MRT Singapore Destination 3.png
East West MRT line
East West Line.png
Tuas Link station.jpg
A C151B train at Platform A of Tuas Link MRT station
Native nameLaluan MRT Timur Barat
கிழக்கு மேற்கு எம்ஆர்டி வழி
TypeRapid transit
SystemMass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
TerminiPasir Ris
Changi Airport
Tanah Merah
Tuas Link
Opened12 December 1987; 30 years ago (1987-12-12) (as part of North South Line)
4 November 1989; 29 years ago (1989-11-04) (renamed as East West Line)
OwnerLand Transport Authority
Operator(s)SMRT Corporation
CharacterElevated (Pasir Ris - Kallang, Redhill - Tuas Link, Expo)
Underground (Lavender - Tiong Bahru, Changi Airport)
Depot(s)Ulu Pandan
East Coast (Future)
Rolling stockC151
C151C (Future)
CR151 (Future)
Line length57.2 km (35.5 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC Third rail
Operating speedlimited to 80 km/h (50 mph)
Route map
MRT map EW.svg
The East West Line is coloured green in the MRT system map.



Location of East West MRT line

As its name implies, the line connects central Singapore to both eastern and western parts of the island, with an additional branch between Changi Airport and Tanah Merah, operated as a separate shuttle service. Some stations are commonly placed at the middle of the roads such as Tanah Merah, Bedok, Queenstown, Commonwealth, Dover, Clementi, Pioneer, Joo Koon, Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent and Tuas West Road. The line runs mostly on overhead viaducts but goes underground in the city area between Kallang and Redhill, Bedok and Kembangan, and between Expo and Changi Airport. Travelling from one end of the line to the other takes about 78 minutes.

The East West line was constructed alongside the North South line. As such, they both utilise identical signalling equipment and rolling stock.


The first segment of the East West line, between City Hall to Outram Park stations, was opened on 12 December 1987. It was extended to Clementi on 12 March 1988 and to Lakeside on 5 November 1988. The eastern extension to Tanah Merah was opened on 4 November 1989. The "East West line" name was adopted to reflect the operational split from the North South line. The line was extended to Pasir Ris on 16 December 1989. The last station of the original system, Boon Lay opened on 6 July 1990.

Dover MRT stationEdit

The building of the station was met with reservations by some members of the public over the small area it serviced when construction of the station began in June 1998. There were criticisms over the spending of "taxpayers' money" chiefly for use only by students of one educational institution.[2] The Land Transport Authority proceeded with the construction anyway, to serve commuters along Singapore Polytechnic with Dover housing estate.[3][4] Originally, it was named Singapore Polytechnic MRT station in the planning stage. With the change of plans, it was renamed to Dover.

On 18 October 2001, Dover station, built as an infill station, was opened.[5] Before it was opened, there were test runs from 13 to 17 October 2001 when the trains stopped at this station but did not open their doors.[6]

Changi Airport Line (CAL)Edit

The idea of extending the Mass Rapid Transit system to Changi Airport was being reconsidered when Terminal 3 of Changi Airport was being built[7]. The earlier plans had long been made for a new line branching off from the existing East West line at Tanah Merah,[8] with some conceptual plans showing a tentative route alignment up to the airport along Airport Boulevard, continuing beyond the airport to Changi Point, before turning southwest back towards the city along the east coast of the island. When the extension to the airport was finally announced, however, the route alignment showed a deviation from previous plans.[9][10] The final plan involved building only the first two stations, namely Expo, and the Changi Airport station, the underground station built between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The alignment of the station at the airport has been switched perpendicularly to an east–west direction, such that the station leads to two of the terminals directly from either end of the station.

Expo station opened on 10 January 2001 and Changi Airport station on 8 February 2002. The Tanah Merah-Expo route was initially operated as a shuttle service; through services from Boon Lay commenced after the opening of this station[11]. However, due to low ridership, the route reverted to being operated as a shuttle service from 22 July 2003.[12]

Boon Lay extension (BLE)Edit

The extension was announced by the LTA on 30 December 2004. The extension is to cater for the residents in Jurong West Town area and those working in the Jurong Industrial Estate. Pioneer and Joo Koon stations were officially opened to the public on 28 February 2009.[13]

Joo Koon station, before the installation of half-platform screen doors

Tuas West extension (TWE)Edit

Tuas Link MRT station

On 11 January 2011, the Tuas West extension, an extension of the East West line from Joo Koon to Tuas Link was announced. It consists of a 7.5-kilometre-long (4.7 mi) twin-tracked MRT viaduct, four above-ground stations and a 26-hectare depot to provide stabling and maintenance facilities for the additional trains that will be bought for the extension and to cater for future expansion of the line.[14] The viaduct is integrated with part of a 4.8-kilometre-long (3.0 mi) road viaduct along Pioneer Road, which will increase the road capacity to cope with anticipated increase in traffic. The stations are Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road, and Tuas Link. On 4 May 2012, the Land Transport Authority marked the start of construction of the Tuas West extension with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Tuas Link station.[15]

The Tuas West extension began service on 18 June 2017.[16][17][18] Westbound trains will alternate their terminus between Joo Koon and Tuas Link, where for every two trains, one train will terminate at the former, while the other train will terminate at the latter,possibly due to low demand.[19] From November 2017 to June 2018, all westbound trains on East West line will terminate at Joo Koon, to facilitate quicker resignalling works. Affected commuters who intend to travel beyond Joo Koon will have to alight the train to take a complementary bridging bus service that will take them to Gul Circle station, in order to continue their journey. Likewise, commuters travelling eastbound will have to alight at Gul Circle to take the bridging bus to Joo Koon.[20]

Full train service between Pasir Ris and Tuas Link was restored on 28 May 2018.[21]

Additional platform at Tanah Merah stationEdit

On 25 August 2014, the Land Transport Authority announced that a new platform will be constructed and added to the existing Tanah Merah station, enabling faster travel and shorter waiting times for commuters heading towards Expo and Changi Airport on the Changi Airport branch line of the East West line.[22]

On 26 October 2016, the Land Transport Authority awarded the civil contract to Lum Chang Building Contractors Pte. Ltd. to build a new platform at Tanah Merah station and viaducts for a contract sum of S$325 million. In addition to the new platforms, the existing East West line tracks will be extended to connect the line to the new four-in-one East Coast Integrated Depot at Changi.[23] When completed in 2024, it will be the second station to have triple island platforms after Jurong East.

Half-height platform screen door installationsEdit

There were calls for platform screen doors to be installed at above-ground stations after several incidents in which passengers were killed or seriously injured by oncoming trains when they fell onto the railway tracks at above-ground stations. Underground stations already featured the doors since 1987. The authorities initially rejected the proposal by casting doubts over functionality and concerns about the high installation costs,[24] but made an about-turn when the government announced plans to install half-height platform screen doors on the elevated stations in January 2008, citing lower costs due to its becoming a more common feature worldwide.[25] They were first installed at Jurong East and Pasir Ris stations in 2009 as trial runs.[26] Installation of platform screen doors began at Clementi and Lakeside stations in April 2010. On 31 August 2011, the last station, Expo, began installation of half-height platform screen doors.[27][not in citation given]

Timeline of stations openedEdit

Improvement worksEdit

Timber to concrete sleeper replacement worksEdit

The timber sleepers on the East West line were required to be replaced as they were near the end of their 15- to 25-year lifespan. The replacement sleepers, made of concrete, have a significantly longer lifespan.[28] In order to carry out works at night when trains are not operational, train services were ended earlier on the East West line. The work was divided into three phases: Phase 1 (Bugis - Tanah Merah), Phase 2 (Joo Koon - Jurong East, Tanah Merah - Pasir Ris) and Phase 3 (Jurong East - Outram Park). The sleepers were fully replaced on 18 February 2017.[29]

Re-signalling worksEdit

A new signalling system, supplied by Thales, replaced the former ageing signalling system on the East West line. The new signalling system, costing $195 million, will reduce waiting times for trains during peak periods from the current 120 seconds to 100 seconds.[30] The new system became operational between Pioneer and Tuas Link stations on 18 June 2017. New rolling stock, such as the C151B, will be equipped for use solely on the new signalling system.[31]

Third-rail replacementEdit

Replacement works on the third rail, which provides electricity to the trains, were carried out between September 2015 and August 2017.[32] The new third rail replaces its 30-year-old predecessor, and is expected to increase reliability of the East West line's electrical system.[33]


1993 Clementi train collisionEdit

Before the start of service, a maintenance vehicle spilt oil on the tracks between Clementi and Jurong East. The first ten eastbound trains reported braking problems. Then, at 7.50 am on 5 August 1993, the eleventh east-bound train from Jurong stopped at the Clementi station for two minutes longer than scheduled due to it using its emergency brakes to stop at the station, and was then hit by the twelfth east bound train when it failed to stop in time. 156 passengers were injured by the collision.[34]

7 July 2015 line disruptionEdit

During the evening peak hours on 7 July 2015, the NSEWL was completely shut down due to massive power trips detected. This was the worst breakdown in SMRT history and the first major breakdown for the East West line. Investigations were completed and the cause narrowed down to damaged insulators which failed to supply power properly.[35] For this disruption that brought inconvenience to 413,000 commuters, LTA imposed a 'record' fine of S$5.4 million on SMRT.[36]

22 March 2016 staff fatalitiesEdit

At 11.08 am on 22 March 2016, two SMRT track-maintenance trainee staff were run over by a C151 train approaching Pasir Ris station.[37] The two employees joined SMRT in January 2016 and worked as technicians. They were part of a technical team of 15 staff led by a supervisor and were tasked to go down to the tracks to investigate an alarm triggered by a possible signalling equipment fault close by the station. The operator said the team had permission to access the tracks, but did not coordinate with a Signal Unit in the station to ensure trains could not travel in the area where the team was.[38] This incident resulted in a 2.5 hour service delay between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris stations, affecting at least 10,000 commuters.[39]

Patrick Nathan, SMRT vice-president, promised that "SMRT will review all safety protocols particularly those involving track access".[40] SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek apologised for the incident and said SMRT will investigate how "the [two men] got hit by the train".

On 2 December 2016, SMRT was formally accused of failing to ensure that its employees complied with approved operating procedures when accessing the track, facing a fine of up to S$500,000. On 28 February 2017, SMRT pleaded guilty to its charges and was fined S$400000.[41] Teo Wee Kiat, SMRT's director of control operations, faces the same charge as SMRT. If convicted, Teo faces being fined up to $200,000 and/or jailed for up to two years. Lim Say Heng, meanwhile, was charged the day before, with failing to ensure trains could not enter the track before the men accessed it. For causing death by committing a negligent act, he faces fines or jail terms.

Investigations are still ongoing against the two men charged for the incident.[42]

15 November 2017 train collision and delaysEdit

On 15 November 2017 at approximately 8.18am, 2 C151A trains collided at Joo Koon MRT station. A train fault caused the first train heading in the direction of Tuas Link to stall at the station. A minute later, a second train stopped behind the first and then "moved forward unexpectedly", resulting in the collision. 36 passengers and 2 SMRT staff sustained light to moderate injuries, and have been conveyed to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and National University Hospital. This is the second of such incidents after 5 August 1993, with the first being when 2 C151 trains collided at Clementi.[43][44][45][46][47][48]

As a result, train services between Tuas Link and Joo Koon stations were temporally suspended on both directions for 2 hours on the day itself and for the entire day on 16 November 2017, resulting that the westbound trains would terminate at Joo Koon station.[49][50]

An update by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT on 16 November 2017 stated that LTA and SMRT have decided to isolate for up to one month the operations of the Tuas West extension, which runs on the new signalling system, from the rest of the East West line, which runs on the old signalling system. This will enable LTA engineers to carry out further assurance checks together with Thales.[51] Train service on the line resumed on 20 November, with the Tuas West extension between Gul Circle and Tuas Link using the new signalling system and the section between Pasir Ris and Joo Koon, together with the Changi Airport Branch continuing to run on the old signalling system. Train services between Joo Koon and Gul Circle have been suspended, and a free bridging bus service is available between the two stations. Continuous service between Pasir Ris and Gul Circle resumed on 28 May 2018, with the permanent activation of the new CBTC system.[21]


East West MRT Line
Pasir Ris
  Bukit Panjang
 EW2  DT32 
Changi Airport
  Sungei Bedok  
 CG1  DT35 
 EW4   CG  
Tanah Merah
 EW8  CC9 
Paya Lebar
  Dhoby Ghaut  
  Bukit Panjang
  Sungei Bedok  
 EW12  DT14 
  Jurong East
 EW13  NS25 
City Hall
 EW14  NS26 
Raffles Place
  Marina South Pier  
Tanjong Pagar
  Sungei Bedok
 EW16  NE3  TE17 
Outram Park
  Woodlands North
Tiong Bahru
  Dhoby Ghaut
 EW21  CC22 
Buona Vista
 EW24  NS1 
Jurong East
  Marina South Pier
Chinese Garden
Boon Lay
Joo Koon
Gul Circle
Tuas Crescent
Tuas West Road
Tuas Link
Station names of the East-West line
Station Number Station Name Image Interchange/Notes
 EW1  Pasir Ris   Terminus for trains from either Joo Koon or Tuas Link.

Platform A is for trains to Joo Koon. Platform B is for trains to Tuas Link.

 EW2  DT32  Tampines   Transfer with the Downtown line
 EW3  Simei    
 EW4   CG  Tanah Merah   Cross-Platform Interchange with train services to Expo or Changi Airport stations.

Terminus for train services from Changi Airport.

 EW5  Bedok    
 EW6  Kembangan    
 EW7  Eunos    
 EW8  CC9  Paya Lebar   Interchange with the Circle line
 EW9  Aljunied    
 EW10  Kallang    
 EW11  Lavender    
 EW12  DT14  Bugis   Interchange with the Downtown line
 EW13  NS25  City Hall   Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
 EW14  NS26  Raffles Place   Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
 EW15  Tanjong Pagar    
 EW16  NE3  TE17  Outram Park   Interchange with the North East line and the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)
 EW17  Tiong Bahru    
 EW18  Redhill    
 EW19  Queenstown    
 EW20  Commonwealth    
 EW21  CC22  Buona Vista   Interchange with the Circle line
 EW22  Dover  
 EW23  Clementi    
 EW24  NS1  JE5  Jurong East   Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
Interchange with the Jurong Region line (2027)
 EW25  Chinese Garden    
 EW26  Lakeside    
 EW27  JS8  Boon Lay   Interchange with the Jurong Region line (2026)
 EW28  Pioneer  
 EW29  Joo Koon  
 EW30  Gul Circle  
 EW31  Tuas Crescent  
 EW32  Tuas West Road  
 EW33  Tuas Link   Terminus for train services from Pasir Ris
Changi Airport Line (CAL)
 CG1  DT35  Expo   Interchange with the Downtown line
 CG2  Changi Airport   Terminus for train services from Tanah Merah.

SMRT used to operate the branch sector of Tanah Merah to Changi Airport as a through service from Boon Lay from 18 November 2001 until 22 July 2003, when it was replaced with a shuttle service.

Rolling stockEdit

Five different rolling stocks operate on the East-West Line. They are the C151, C651, C751B, C151A and C151B. These trains operate from the three depots along the line, the Ulu Pandan Depot between Jurong East and Clementi, the Changi Depot near Tanah Merah and from 2017, the new Tuas Depot located near Tuas Link.

Train controlEdit

Half-Platform Screen Doors installed in Tanah Merah station

The East West line is currently equipped with Thales SelTrac® Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system[52] with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 3 (DTO).[53] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, NetTrac MT Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.[54]

The old signalling system is undergoing decommissioning work starting from August 2018 and completed on 23 November 2018.[55] It consists of Westinghouse fixed block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 2 (STO). The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Relay interlocking system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.

The stretch of track between Pioneer and Tuas Link stations was equipped with the new signalling system which came into use in June 2017. As the section of track between Pioneer and Joo Koon support 'mixed-mode' of both signalling systems, trains terminating at either Joo Koon or Tuas Link would have to change signalling modes at Pioneer MRT station as trains terminating at Joo Koon would proceed to a turn back siding which was built as part of the TWE which only supports the new signalling system. Eastbound trains towards Pasir Ris would have to change back to the old signalling system at Pioneer MRT station. This procedure was temporarily removed after the train collision at Joo Koon as trains terminated at Joo Koon.

The new signalling system became fully operative on 28 May 2018.[21]

Automatic full-height platform screen doors by Westinghouse were originally installed in all underground stations since opening, and half-height platform screen gates by ST Electronics were installed at a later date on elevated stations. Tuas West extension stations have had half-height platform screen doors by Fangda from their opening.[56]


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External linksEdit