SINGAPORE: Six years after construction began, the first stretch of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will open by end of January next year.

This stretch comprises three stations in the north of Singapore – Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South.

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan announced this on Thursday (Sep 19) during a visit to the Mandai Depot, which will house the trains for the upcoming line.

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Thomson-East Coast Line map

The Thomson-East Coast Line will link up the northern, central and eastern parts of Singapore. (Map: LTA)

The opening of the first section was originally scheduled for the end of 2019, but was delayed to allow more time for testing of the various systems on the line.

The nine trains for the first stage – manufactured in China by a consortium of Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries and China’s CSR Qingdao Sifang – are being tested and commissioned, Mr Khaw said.

The line’s signalling system, developed by French firm Alstom, has been installed and is also currently being tested.

Full testing of systems on the TEL – Singapore’s sixth MRT line – will be carried out during this year’s December school holidays, said Mr Khaw, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.

He added: “We will also use December to organise station and train visits for the local residents who have put up with construction all these years, to thank them.”

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Mr Khaw noted the first few days of travel on the TEL will be free, to allow commuters to familiarise themselves with the stations and the interchange to the North-South Line at the Woodlands station.

The 43km-long TEL is expected to be ready in 2024, and will have 32 stations when completed. The line will be operated by SMRT.

Graphic showing Singapore's current rail network - LTA Master Plan 2040
Graphic showing Singapore's rail network in 2040 - LTA Master Plan 2040