Circle Line to increase capacity by 60 per cent

The Circle Line's capacity will be ramped up by 60 per cent, with 24 more trains to be added progressively from 2015, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew today.

Minister Lui was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Tuas West extension. The extension will see four stations added to the East-West Line, starting from Joo Koon: Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link. There will also be a 26-hectare depot.

The Tuas West extension is expected to benefit more than 100,000 commuters daily. The four stations will be located close to offices and factories to help reduce travelling time by up to 35 minutes for many commuters.

Even as the rail network is being expanded, capacity will also be improved in the coming years, said Minister Lui.

Twenty-four trains will be added into the Circle Line's progressively from 2015, instead of the 16 previously announced. This will increase the Circle Line's capacity by 60 per cent.

During the ceremony, Minister Lui said the government and train operators will spare no effort in making the rail system more reliable.

The transport minister noted the concerns over serious trains disruptions in recent months. He said SMRT will put in place a more robust system to anticipate potential faults and vulnerabilities in the system.

On the recently-announced S$900 million plan to upgrade and renew ageing assets, Mr Lui said two main components will contribute to the costs. One is replacing the sleepers of the track, while the other is upgrading of the signalling system.

He said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT are in the process of making sure that each party will pay a "fair share of the costs".

"Broadly speaking, I think the formulation is that infrastructural works should come under the government and the replacement of operating assets comes under the operator," Mr Lui said. "There is a formula on how to share the costs so what is happening now between LTA and SMRT is that they are going to through the details and making sure that each party is paying its fair share of the costs."

On whether the costs will eventually be passed on to commuters as higher fares, Mr Lui said fares are determined by the fare adjustment formula, which is being reviewed. He also said fares will not be adjusted this year while the review is underway. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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