North East Line

The North East Line is the third line to be introduced into the MRT system and is coloured purple on the system map. SBS Transit is currently operating this line.

It is the pioneering system in the world to utilise a radio CBTC system in 2003, communicating via the IAGO waveguide. The world's first fully underground and automated rapid transit line currently spans 20km long with 16 stations, providing a direct connection from the north eastern corridor of Singapore to the city.

The North East Line is also the first line in Singapore to feature artworks across all 16 stations under the Art in Transit programme.


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At a Glance

North East Line

First opened 20 June 2003

20km with 16 stations

High capacity line with 6-car trains

Fully-automatic train operation

Line operated by SBS Transit

Line diagram

North East Line (NEL) Line Diagram

NEL Extension: NE18 Punggol Coast station is currently not in operation.

Rolling stock

Stations

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History

Initial stages

The alignment of the North East Line has been established in a study in 1986, with the stations' location refined through the Land Transport Authority's discussions with other agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Housing & Development Board.

As part of Singapore's plan to provide a highly attractive public transport system with an extensive rail network in Singapore, LTA announced in January 1996 the go-ahead for the construction of the $5 billion North East Line project in January 1996. Constructions for the line began on 25 November 1997 and was expected to be completed in 2002 with an initial ridership of around 250,000 per day.

The contract to operate the North East Line was awarded to SBS Transit in 1999, formerly known as SBS. Supposedly to be opened in December 2002, it was delayed due to technical issues with the system. The line officially opened on 20 June 2003 with 14 stations from HarbourFront to Punggol.

Buangkok and Woodleigh stations remained closed as the area around the two stations were relatively undeveloped.

Sengkang Depot

Spanning 27 hectares in Sengkang, the size of about 45 football fields, and stretching over 1km and 400m wide, the Sengkang Depot can house up to 44 North East Line trains. The Operations Control Centre, the brain of the entire North East Line, is also located within Sengkang Depot.

Key features of the depot include a maintenance bay where a six-car train can be lifted up to 1.5m with a push of a button, a fully-automated warehouse which stores spare parts needed for maintenance of the trains, as well as a 1.6km test track within the depot compounds.

Buangkok Station

Buangkok station opened three years later on 15 January 2006 after much pressure from the public. Ridership at this station was lower than expected, resulting in operating losses for this station in the initial years.

Woodleigh Station

With new developments around Woodleigh station, and the increase of ridership from the opening of the Circle Line, the final station of the line opened on the eighth anniversary of the North East Line, 20 June 2011.

Line extensions

North East Line Extension (future)

The North East Line will be extended 2km northwards with Punggol Coast station by 2023, serving the Northshore District, Punggol Point District and Punggol Digital District. It will also serve Singapore's pilot Enterprise District comprising of JTC Corporation's mixed-use developments and also the new campus from Singapore Institute of Technology. The extension will be opened in tandem with the developments around the area.

The contract to build the new station and the 830m long tunnels was clinched by China State Construction Engineering Corporation on 8 December 2017, with constructions starting in the same month.

Timeline

Date Project Description
20 June 2003 North East Line HarbourFront - Punggol (14 stations)
15 January 2006 North East Line Opening of Buangkok station between Hougang and Sengkang
20 June 2011 North East Line Opening of Woodleigh station between Potong Pasir and Serangoon
2023 North East Line Extension Punggol - Punggol Coast (1 station)
Future Future stations between existing stations NE2 station between HarbourFront and Outram Park

Facts + Figures

Type
High capacity Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Stations / Length
16 stations / 20.0km (currently operational)
HarbourFront to Punggol - 20.0km
North East Line Extension (future) - 1 station / ~2.0km
Depots
Sengkang Depot
Train Length
6 cars
Track Gauge
Standard gauge (1435mm)
Electrification
1500V DC from overhead catenary
Operation Type
Fully-automated operation
Signalling System
Moving-block Alstom Urbalis 300 CBTC

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