North South line
|Native name||Laluan MRT Utara Selatan|
வடக்கு தெற்கு எம்ஆர்டி வழி
|System||Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)|
Marina South Pier
|Stations||29 (27 in operation, 2 under planning)|
|Opened||7 November 1987|
|Owner||Land Transport Authority|
|Operator(s)||SMRT Trains (SMRT Corporation)|
|Character||Elevated (Jurong East – Ang Mo Kio)|
Underground (Braddell – Marina South Pier)
|Rolling stock||C151 |
|Line length||45 km (28 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC Third rail|
|Operating speed||limit of 80 km/h (50 mph)|
The North South line (NSL) is a high-capacity Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line in Singapore, operated by SMRT. Coloured red on the rail map, the line is 45 kilometres (28 mi) long and serves 27 stations, 11 of which, between the Bishan and Marina South Pier stations, are underground. It runs from Jurong East station, located in western Singapore, to Marina South Pier station in the Central Area, via Woodlands station in northern Singapore. The line operates for 19 hours a day (from approximately 5.30 am to around midnight), with headways of up to 3 minutes during peak hours and 7 minutes during off-peak hours. All the trains on the NSL runs with a six-car formation.
It is the first MRT line to be built in Singapore, with the first section from Yio Chu Kang station to Toa Payoh station beginning service on 7 November 1987, followed by an extension southwards to Raffles Place station on 12 December the same year and northwards to Yishun station on 20 December 1988. After the southern extension to Marina Bay station on 4 November 1989, the North South line was formed and split from the East West line. In the 1990s, the line extends to the north and west connecting to the Branch line via Woodlands through the Woodlands line extension.
Since the 2010s, due to the ageing infrastructure of the NSL (being the oldest and heavily utilised MRT line), significant improvements have been made on the line, such as the replacement of sleepers, third-rail replacement and the introduction of new rolling stocks (the C151B and the C151C) to replace the older rolling stocks and increase passenger capacity. The NSL is also the first line to have undergone a major re-signalling project, converting from semi-automatic to fully automated operations in 2019. Other recent developments of the line includes a new extension to Marina South Pier station on 23 November 2014 and a new infill station, Canberra station, on 2 November 2019. Two more infill stations (Brickland and Sungei Kadut stations) on the line are being planned and set to open in the 2030s.
After the decision to build a rail-based urban transport system in Singapore, the construction of what would become the North South Line was given priority as the line passed through the Orchard Road corridor as well as the rest of the Central Area, the latter of which faced a high demand for public transport. Also, it was near the more densely populated housing estates such as Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio. The first section of the MRT line (and also the MRT system itself) from Yio Chu Kang station to Toa Payoh station opened on 7 November 1987. Nine more stations from Novena station to Outram Park station followed on 12 December that year. The line was extended northward to Yishun station on 20 December 1988 and it began independent operations on 4 November 1989 as the North South line when the extension to Marina Bay station was opened.
– Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, at the official opening of the Woodlands MRT line, on 10 February 1996.
After the Branch line (from Jurong East station to Choa Chu Kang station) opened in 1990, the Woodlands MRT line was envisioned so as to close the gap between Yishun and Choa Chu Kang stations. Numerous changes were made to the number of stations for the extension mainly to accommodate the 1991 Concept Plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which aimed to make Woodlands a regional centre for northern Singapore. During the initial planning of the line, Sembawang station was only intended as a provisional station, to be built at a later date due to the underdevelopment of Sembawang, and construction began on 19 November 1992. Sembawang station and Kranji station were later included in the construction after the second round of planning (construction began at the same time on 19 November 1992) and Sungei Kadut station was then omitted. Sungei Kadut will be built later if the town's population justifies the necessity for the station.
During the construction, a total of 19 new trains were purchased for almost S$259 million for the new MRT line, designed by German company Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, to complement the 66 first generation C151 trains. There was also a need to level the land covered in thick vegetation in Kadut, Woodlands and Sembawang for the MRT line.
With the official opening of the Woodlands extension on 10 February 1996 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, the Branch line became incorporated into the North South line. The extension was built at a cost of $1.2 billion.
|7 November 1987||Yio Chu Kang – Toa Payoh|
|12 December 1987||Toa Payoh – Raffles Place|
|20 December 1988||Yio Chu Kang – Yishun|
|4 November 1989||Raffles Place – Marina Bay (splitting of NSL and EWL (East West line))|
|10 March 1990||Jurong East – Choa Chu Kang (as part of Branch line)|
|10 February 1996||Yishun – Choa Chu Kang (Woodlands line extension)|
|23 November 2014||Marina Bay – Marina South Pier|
|2 November 2019||Canberra|
|Mid-2030s||Possible opening of new infill stations Brickland and Sungei Kadut|
The NSL platforms of the Bishan station went through major alterations for the station to be linked to the Circle line. A new air-conditioned southbound platform to serve the southbound trains (heading towards Marina South Pier station) was officially opened by the former Minister for Transport, Raymond Lim on 27 July 2008. The original platform is now dedicated to only northbound train services (heading towards Jurong East station), which has been also air-conditioned as well, but sealed off from the south-bound platform.
Under the Land Transport Master Plan 2008, the Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP) entailed the construction of a new platform and the addition of a fourth track to Jurong East station to reduce waiting times and crowding at the station during peak hours. The modification project was completed on 27 May 2011. The track and platform was initially opened during morning peak hours only, but since December 2011, they also operate during the evening peak hours.
In the 2008 Land Transport Master Plan, the one-kilometer North South Line extension was one of the upcoming projects rolled out by the Land Transport Authority to expand Singapore's rail network. The 1-kilometre (0.6 mi), one station extension from Marina Bay to Marina South Pier station was opened on 23 November 2014. Initially, only 1 of every 4 southbound trains terminated at Marina South Pier; with the others continuing to terminate at the former terminus, Marina Bay, likely due to the low demand of Marina South Pier, but this restriction was lifted in May 2017 due to the implementation of the new CBTC signalling system. The last time this restriction was implemented was on 10 May 2017, which was a Vesak Day Holiday. This extension serves the Marina South Pier, the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, and future developments in Marina Bay Downtown area.
On 17 January 2013, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that a feasibility study was conducted to construct Canberra MRT station. The feasibility study was completed in 2014 and LTA announced Canberra as a new station. Construction works for Canberra station commenced on 26 March 2016. The station, which is an infill station with side platforms, was built along an operational section of the line between Sembawang and Yishun. The station cost S$90 million to build, and is meant to serve upcoming developments at the vicinity. Canberra station opened on 2 November 2019.
On 3 March 2003, a 23-year-old driver driving his brother's Mercedes E200 lost control of the car along Lentor Avenue, crashing through the fence and landing onto a stretch of track between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib stations. The incident forced a train carrying hundreds of commuters to come to a screeching halt, but not before flattening the front of the car. The accident disrupted train services for more than three hours and cost SMRT between $100,000 and $150,000 in damage and lost revenue.
On 15 December 2011, services between Bishan and Marina Bay stations were suspended due to damage sustained on 40-metre power rail between City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut. Trains along the stretch were stalled and caused a service disruption until 11.40pm on that day. Two days later, a similar fault caused a seven-hour disruption between Ang Mo Kio and Marina Bay. According to SMRT, the disruption was caused by damage to the third rail and the trains' collector shoes. Seven trains were damaged in this incident. These two service disruptions on the North South line were both related to damaged rail, and became one of the worst disruption since SMRT's inception in 1987.
On 7 July 2015, the North South and East West lines were temporarily disrupted due to massive power trips detected along the line. A cause of the disruption was due to damaged insulators which caused a failure to properly supply power.
On 7 October 2017, a 20-hour long disruption of services started with a flooding in the tunnels between Braddell station and Bishan station due to faulty drainage system (causing rainwater to flood the tunnels rapidly, and that the disruption started during a torrential downpour), resulting in disruption of train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier stations in both directions for several hours. A trackside fire between Raffles Place and Marina Bay stations further exacerbated the disruption; Train services between Marina South Pier and Newton resumed at about 9.20pm on the same day, followed by Newton and Ang Mo Kio at around 2pm the following day. Although no injuries or casualties were reported, SMRT fired a total of eight employees from the maintenance crew, and incurred a S$2 million fine, following the incident.
Two new stations has been projected to be built along the existing line. Brickland station will be built between Bukit Gombak and Choa Chu Kang stations, while Sungei Kadut station will be built between Yew Tee and Kranji stations. Both are expected to be completed by the mid-2030s.
Network and Operations
Train services on the North South MRT line operates from approximately 5.30am to around midnight daily. In general, during peak hours, train frequency is 2 to 3 minutes while during non-peak hours the frequency is reduced to 5 to 7 minutes. Operating hours are usually extended during festive periods. Each day, the first train begins service at approximately 5.15 am (5.35 am on Sundays and public holidays) from Jurong East station to Marina South Pier station. In the evenings, selected trains from Jurong East station will terminate at the Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh stations. From Marina South Pier station, the first train going to Jurong East station begins service at 6.10 am (approximately 6.40 am on Sundays and public holidays). Selected trains from Marina South Pier station also terminates at Kranji station in the evenings onwards.
Train services on the North South Line may also be subjected to maintenance and renewal works, usually on selected Fridays & Saturdays. Shuttle bus services may be provided throughout the duration of the early closures and late openings for the affected commuters.
The North South line forms an incomplete loop from Jurong East in the west side of Singapore, north to Woodlands and Sembawang, and south to the Central Area. It is 45 kilometres (28 mi) long and is predominantly double-tracked, but certain short sections at the Woodlands, Yishun and Ang Mo Kio stations widen to three tracks, and four tracks at Jurong East station. The line begins above ground at Jurong East station from where it continues north on a set of elevated viaducts, with the exception of a short tunnel between the Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak stations, and a surface section of track between the Bukit Gombak and Choa Chu Kang stations. The line curves from the Yew Tee to Kranji stations and continues eastwards, paralleling the Woodlands Avenue 3 (which the line briefly cuts underneath between Kranji and Marsiling stations) and Avenue 7 main roads.
After Sembawang station, the line follows the route of Canberra Link and Yishun Avenue 3, curving southwards. Between the Khatib and Yio Chu Kang stations parallel to Lentor Avenue, the line continues at surface level; this section is the longest distance between any two MRT stations in Singapore. The line continues above ground for the Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio stations, then it goes back to surface level for Bishan station, the MRT system's only at-grade station. A branch line off to Bishan Depot exists between the Ang Mo Kio and Bishan stations. After Bishan, the line goes underground through the Central Area. The North South line runs parallel to the East West line at the City Hall and Raffles Place stations, which are also cross-platform interchanges to the East West line. The line terminates at Marina South Pier.
The line serves 27 stations across 45 kilometres (28 mi) of track, and station codes for the line are red in colour, corresponding to the line's colour on the system map.  11 stations, from Braddell to Marina South Pier stations, are underground, with the rest of the stations being at grade or above ground. With the exception of Bishan, Braddell and Canberra stations, the other stations have island platforms.
|Station Number||Station Name||Image||Interchange/Notes|
|Jurong East||Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line |
Interchange station with the Jurong Region line (2027)
|Choa Chu Kang||Interchange station with the Bukit Panjang LRT and the Jurong Region line (2026)|
|Sungei Kadut||Interchange station with the Downtown line (mid 2030s)|
|Woodlands||Interchange station with the Thomson-East Coast line|
|Yio Chu Kang|
|Ang Mo Kio||Interchange station with the Cross Island line (2029)|
|Bishan||Interchange station with the Circle line|
|Newton||Connected to the Downtown line|
|Orchard||Interchange station with the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)|
|Dhoby Ghaut||Interchange station with the North East line and the Circle line|
|City Hall||Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line|
|Raffles Place||Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line|
|Marina Bay||Interchange station with the Circle line and the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)|
|Marina South Pier|
Trains on the NSL operates with a six-car formation, with an electrification of 750 V DC powered by a Third rail. With the exception of the C651, the rest of the current rolling stocks are manufactured from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with a joint venture with CSR Qingdao Sifang for the subsequent rolling stocks of the C151A, C151B and C151C. When the initial line opened, the rolling stock of the North South Line consisted of C151 trains only. The C651 was introduced during the Woodlands extension to complement the existing 66 trains. The third-generation C751B trains were delivered in 2000. In 2011, the fourth-generation C151A was introduced, increasing the passenger capacity of both the North South and East West lines by 15%. The C151A contract was the first successful joint venture between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Qingdao Sifang in the international market.
As parts of efforts to further increase passenger capacity on the line, the newer rolling stocks of C151B and C151C were subsequently delivered in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The introduction of the C151B saw the introduction of STARiS 2.0, which is also seen in subsequent rolling stocks. The C151C is also the first MRT rolling stock on the NSEWL to be fitted with fold-up seats, in addition to the current features of the C151B.
Another generation of rolling stock, the Bombardier Movia CR151, will be delivered from 2021 to 2023, to replace the C151 that is already bound for retirement. The CR151 will be the first rolling stock on the North South line to be manufactured by Bombardier, which has also supplied trains for the Downtown MRT line. The current rolling stock of the NSL are housed in Bishan Depot, which provides train maintenance, inspection and overhaul facilities, and in Ulu Pandan Depot.
The North South line is currently equipped with Thales SelTrac Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 3 (DTO). The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, NetTrac MT Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.
A new moving-block signalling system, supplied by Thales, replaced the ageing fixed-block signalling system on the North South line. The upgrading works were completed in phases from 2016. With the upgraded signalling system, trains are now able to run closer to each other. MRT trains were also progressively retrofitted with new equipment on board to be compatible with the new signalling system.
The new system was tested on the evening of 28 March 2017, when train services were paused to facilitate the testing. From 16 April 2017, the new system commenced full-day testing on Sundays for two months. The new C151B rolling stock were first introduced to the line on these testing days. Since 28 May 2017, the new signalling system has been operating full-day on the North South line.
The old signalling system ceased operations on 2 January 2019. It consisted of Westinghouse fixed block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 2 (STO). The subsystems consisted of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Relay interlocking system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set. Train Captains are still present on the cab to monitor security.
Platform Screen Doors
When the line was first opened, only all underground stations are installed with full-height platform screen doors supplied by Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Ltd (a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group). These doors serve to prevent suicides, enable climate control within the station (better ventilation and air conditioning), better security control as access to the tunnels and tracks is restricted and for overall passenger safety considerations. The authorities initially rejected calls for platform screen doors to be installed at elevated stations by casting doubts over functionality and concerns about the high installation costs. Nevertheless, the LTA reversed its decision with plans announced by the government to install half-height platform screen doors on the elevated stations on 25 January 2008 to enhance the safety of rail commuters and reduce the incidence of track intrusions. The first platform screen doors by ST Electronics were installed at Jurong East and Yishun stations in 2009 as trial runs. Subsequently, installation began in May 2011 at Ang Mo Kio station. On 14 March 2012, platform screen doors became operational on all surface stations on the North South line.
The NSL was built with wooden sleepers, which were needed to be replaced when they neared the end of their lifespan of 15 to 25 years. The new replacement sleepers, made out of concrete, have a significantly longer lifespan and enables smoother and safer rides. Train services on the line were ended earlier for critical maintenance works since 2014, with the exception of a break between September 2016 and December 2017.
Trains on the NSL are powered by electricity by a third rail. However, constant contact between the train's Current Collector Devices (CCD) and the rail saw the need for replacement works on the third rail, which were completed in August 2017. The new third rail replaced its 30-year-old predecessor, which was used since the opening of the line. The new electrical system is expected to make train services more reliable.
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