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Written Reply by Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan to Parliamentary Question on Express Trains on New MRT Lines

19 Nov 2018 In Parliament

Mr Ong Teng Koon asked the Minister for Transport whether there are plans to implement express trains in new MRT lines.

Reply by Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan:

1.     Express services can reduce travel time for some commuters, but they will require a separate set of tracks and additional signalling systems. This will mean greater land take, pose operational complexities, and cost taxpayers and commuters significantly more. Sharing tracks for express and non-express services is technically possible, but non-express trains have to be held back at stations to allow express trains to pass. This will have significant adverse impact for commuters on the non-express services.

2.     Existing lines are designed to benefit the maximum number of people along their routes. Retrospectively implementing express services is not feasible. We will need to build parallel tracks very close to existing live tracks, which poses considerable operational risks.

3.     For new rail lines which are being developed, we did study the feasibility of including express lines. Specifically, we assessed the option of an express service between Jurong East and Changi Airport for the Cross-Island Line (CRL). However, less than 5% of CRL users will see significant time savings of at least 15 minutes. Viewed against the much higher cost and land take needed to build two additional tunnels for the express service, we did not pursue the option.