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Speech by Senior Minister of State Dr Janil Puthucheary on the Announcement of the Cross Island Line (CRL) Punggol Extension Gazette

10 Mar 2020 Speeches

1.     Good morning, everybody, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Co-ordinating Minister for National Security, my colleague SPS Sun Xueling from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, both of whom are my colleagues and MPs in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

2.     We also have Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President of Singapore Institute of Technology and our LTA board member, and all the colleagues from LTA and MOT and the construction team who have put this together. 

3.     We are here at the site of where we are extending the North East Line, from Punggol MRT out towards where the future Punggol Digital District is being built at the moment, by JTC. This will create new jobs but much more importantly, for some of the members of the audience, it will be the new home for the Singapore Institute of Technology, bringing students, academia and digital jobs into the heart of Punggol. 

4.     Surrounding it, we will have the new Northshore district, one of the most future-ready and smart districts being built by HDB. All of the people there – the residents, the students, the people working in the PDD – will benefit from the new MRT station that is going to be at the heart of the digital district, giving them access to what’s in the rest of Punggol, the amenities that are close to the town centre, but also quick access to the North East Line taking them all the way into the heart of Singapore. 

5.     But we are not here today to mark that occasion, that’s just the site of where we are. We are here to mark the gazetting of the extension of the Cross Island Line that will link Punggol to Pasir Ris. This extension is not the main line; it is a spur, it is an extra branch and it will have four stations – starting in Punggol; and as you head out east, Riviera, on the eastern side of Punggol; Elias, on the western side of Pasir Ris; and then Pasir Ris station itself, four stations on the spur. 

6.     Interestingly, three of these stations will be interchanges. So this extension will interface with the North East Line here in Punggol, the LRT system in Riviera, and also the East-West Line out in Pasir Ris, and will give our residents in Punggol a very quick way to get to all the wonderful things that are in Pasir Ris, including their hawker centre which we haven’t had yet. There are lots of good food there.

7.     Today, it takes our residents about 40 to 45 minutes to get to Pasir Ris, and with this extension, we will cut that down to 20 minutes. We hope, of course, that the residents of Pasir Ris, once our Punggol Digital District is up and running, they will come and visit us as well and enjoy the sights and sounds of Coney Island, among many other things. 

8.     The ability for us to connect people to where they work, where they want to enjoy themselves, live, work and play, is very important and the MRT system is what allows us to do this best across the whole of Singapore. 

9.     The Cross Island Line, of which this extension is just part of, will be our eighth and fully underground line running across the entirety of Singapore. It will be our longest and will have a carrying capacity equivalent to the North East Line today. 

10.    With the trains starting off with six, but the infrastructure can handle eight cabin trains, very high capacity. We are expecting that when it opens, the Cross Island Line will carry about 600,000 people a day, that is the same as what the North East Line is doing today. And that may well grow to about a million people a day. 

11.    These types of investments – $60 billion over the next decade – is what we have to put in place to make sure that we have a MRT system that is effective, safe and reliable, and also serving as many residents as possible, to give them access to where they need to go – their work, their leisure, their family, their homes. 

12.    I am very excited to be part of this. Thank you all for the hard work, our LTA colleagues, MOT colleagues and all the other people who have put effort in to make this happen, and I look forward to taking those first trains. 

13.    When will they happen? Well, our extension of the North East Line should be 2023, together with the opening of the Punggol Digital District, with the students and lecturers all coming in. 

14.    Our Cross Island Line will take a little bit longer, the work will start in 2022, so there will be some disamenity for the residents here in Punggol, but we hope that they will see that it is all worthwhile when the line finally opens in 2031. 

15.    So congratulations to everybody who has put this together, and thank you for coming here today to join me on this occasion. Thank you very much.