Free Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rides and the chance to be among the first to explore the four new stations along the new Tuas West Extension (TWE) drew hundreds of commuters to the far west of the island on Friday (June 16) for the TWE Open House.
A host of games and activities have been organised for Friday’s open house, which includes free train rides along all four stations – Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link – of the TWE from noon to 8pm.
The 7.5km extension beyond Joo Koon — the final stop on the East-West Line (EWL) now — will start passenger service on Sunday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Tuas Link station on Friday, Second Transport Minister Ng Chee Meng called the TWE a “significant engineering achievement”.
It is the country’s first integrated rail-and-road viaduct that stands at 23 metres in height — nearly twice that of an average MRT viaduct. At 33 metres aboveground, Gul Circle, which is roughly the height of a 10-storey Housing and Development Board block, is also the highest elevated station in the MRT network.
Since the EWL was completed in 1990, Tuas has doubled in size, with many new industries — from biomedical to offshore and marine — emerging. The area continues to grow and will house the upcoming Tuas Port, said Mr Ng, who is also Education Minister (Schools).
The TWE, built to cater for this growing travel demand to and from Tuas, is expected serve 100,000 commuters daily. Travel time will be trimmed. For example, those going from Woodlands to Tuas West will find their journeys pruned from 1.5 hours right now to less than an hour.
Originally set to open by the end of last year, the TWE's launch was delayed because the new signalling system that it runs on — the same one being tested on the North-South Line — had to go through more tests to ensure its reliability.
In an update on Friday, Mr Ng said that in the first five months of this year, trains across the MRT network ran an average of 387,000 train-km before hitting delays of more than five minutes.
This is a more than two-fold jump over the "mean kilometre between failure" (MKBF) — a measure of train reliability — of 168,000 train-km in the same period last year.
The rail network's performance has so far surpassed the Government's MKBF target of 300,000 train-km for this year. The target will be ratcheted up to 400,000 train-km next year.