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Light Rail Transit (Singapore) | Wikipedia audio article

September 22, 2019


The Light Rail Transit (LRT), also known as
the Light Rapid Transit, is a series of localised automated guideway transit systems acting
as feeder services to the heavy rail Mass Rapid Transit, which together with the LRT
forms the core of Singapore’s rail transport services. The first LRT line was opened in 1999 and
the system has since expanded to three lines, each serving a public housing estate, namely
Bukit Panjang LRT Line, Sengkang LRT Line and Punggol LRT Line. Trains on these lines have at least one station
linking it to the MRT and in turn the remainder of the LRT network. All LRT lines use fully automated and driverless
rubber-tired rolling stock closer in size and scope to a people mover system such as
those found in many airports around the world. They are elevated and grade-separated in their
entireties, and run on viaducts in order to save scarce land space in Singapore. In these respects, the LRT departs from the
traditional sense of a light rail system (which are rarely grade-separated and in many cases
include street running sections). Along with the MRT, the LRT is constructed
by the Land Transport Authority, with operating concessions currently handed to SMRT Light
Rail and SBS Transit.==History=====Conception===
The concept of having rail lines which could bring
people from door to door without requiring the use of road-based buses was much favoured
by the government transport planners, especially with the increased emphasis on a rail-based
public transport network. For intra-town travel, LRTs were favoured
over buses because trains run on dedicated elevated guideways, bypassing any traffic
congestion and traffic lights on the roads, and do not add to road traffic. Train arrival and departure times are also
almost guaranteed this way. It is also cleaner as the trains are electrically
powered, and therefore lessens the effects of air pollution.===Opening of lines===
The Bukit Panjang LRT Line opened on 6 November 1999, with all 14 stations opening at the
same time. Ten Mile Junction LRT Station was closed from
10 December 2010 till 30 December 2011 for retrofitting works due to the closure and
redevelopment of Ten Mile Junction shopping mall (now known as Junction 10), making it
the first MRT/LRT station to be completely closed in Singapore after opening. It is the first and only LRT line to be operated
by SMRT Light Rail. The Sengkang LRT Line opened in two main stages,
the East Loop opening first on 18 January 2003 and most of the West Loop on 29 January
2005. Farmway LRT Station on the West Loop subsequently
opened on 15 November 2007. On 1 January 2013, Cheng Lim LRT Station opened
for passenger service and the west loop now operated in a bidirectional way. Kupang LRT Station opened for passenger service
on 27 June 2015, marking the completion of the opening of all stations on the Sengkang
LRT Line.For the Punggol LRT Line, the East Loop started operating on the same day as
the Sengkang LRT’s West Loop, with two stations closed. Oasis LRT Station was opened for service on
15 June 2007, after more residents moved into HDB flats in the station’s vicinity. Damai LRT Station opened on 20 June 2011. The West Loop opened on 29 June 2014 at 11.15
am, with Nibong LRT Station, Sumang LRT Station and Soo Teck LRT Station being the first stations
to open. Sam Kee LRT Station, Punggol Point LRT Station
and Samudera LRT Station opened on 29 February 2016, 29 December 2016 and 31 March 2017 respectively.Teck
Lee LRT Station will remain closed until the area around the station has been developed.===Cancelled LRT developments===
When the Urban Redevelopment Authority unveiled its early Concept Plans for Singapore’s land
use during the 1990s, many LRT systems were initially being planned. The government had looked into the feasibility
of constructing LRTs to connect nearby towns with one another such as Bedok and Tampines. Others serving Yishun, Buona Vista and some
estates within the central region of Singapore had also been proposed. Such possible LRT lines have since been deemed
non-viable and rejected due to insufficient demand and high costs incurred by the government.====Punggol LRT Line North Branch====
A North Branch consisting of two to four LRT stations for the Punggol LRT line had been
planned, which would have brought commuters from Punggol LRT Station to Sam Kee and Teck
Lee LRT Station before branching out from the West Loop tracks onto this branch, which
would have terminated near the present-day Punggol Coast MRT Station at or close to Coney
Island. This North Branch was never built eventually. The existence of this line has only been mentioned
on the website of Mitsubishi, which shows 19 LRT stations that would have been present
for the Punggol LRT Line, in which only 15 had been built. The withdrawal of the construction of the
North Branch of the Punggol LRT Line likely made way to allow Punggol Coast MRT station
and its Punggol North Bus Interchange to take its place and better serve future residents
in the area.====Jurong LRT Line====
A Jurong LRT line was also proposed in 2001 which would have served the planning areas
of Jurong, Boon Lay, Choa Chu Kang, and the future Tengah town. However, the LTA announced in 2008 that there
were no plans to develop it. Nonetheless, the LTA later revived the line
as the Jurong Region MRT line in the Land Transport Master Plan 2013, and it is set
to open in stages from 2026 to 2028.==Improvements=====Sengkang-Punggol LRT Improvements===On 31 October 2012, LTA announced that by
2016, Sengkang and Punggol LRT systems will be upgraded to a two-car system for 16 of
the 41 existing train cars, allowing double the number of passengers to board at any one
time. Each train car can take up to 105 passengers. Hence, there is also the need to modify the
signaling and communication system.On 22 December 2015, the two-car trains entered service on
the Sengkang LRT line, boosting capacity to 204 per trip as compared to 105 in a single
car configuration.As of 2017, two car trains have entered service on the Punggol LRT line.On
15 December 2017, the Land Transport Authority said there will be limited services on parts
of the Sengkang-Punggol LRT (SPLRT) on most Sundays from 14 January 2018 to 25 February
2018, to facilitate renewal and improvement works from (except 18 February as it is a
Chinese New Year holiday). Only one platform will open for service at
5.30am on Sundays. The other platform will open from 7am. The arrangement is expected to continue until
29 April 2018.On 14 February 2018, the LTA announced that it has taken over SBS Transit’s
rail assets (the North East MRT line and Sengkang-Punggol LRT lines) worth $30.8 million and transit
to the New Rail Financing Framework on 1 April 2018. The LTA has also said that this will benefit
commuters as there will be “more coordinated and timely expansion, and renewal of the rail
system”.From 27 May 2018 to 7 October 2018, limited services on Sundays will continue
on the Sengkang-Punggol LRT (SPLRT). One platform will open at 5.30am and the other
platform will open at 5.30pm.===Bukit Panjang LRT Improvements===For the Bukit Panjang LRT Line, SMRT and LTA
announced for plans to completely overhaul the BPLRT system as the system is reaching
its lifespan of 20 years. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has also
announced plans to shut the Bukit Panjang LRT down for a small number of years to pave
the way for the system’s overhaul. On 23 October 2017, SMRT announced that the
Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT) system will begin operations at 7 am, instead of
5.30am, on all Sundays from 12 November 2017 until the end of the year, to allow more time
for works to improve service reliability.On 23 March 2018, SMRT said that the Bukit Panjang
LRT Line will be closed on 11 Sundays from 15 April 2018 to 24 June 2018 as part of maintenance
works aimed to improve the reliability of the beleaguered system.On 21 June 2018, SMRT
said from 1 July 2018 to 28 October 2018, all BPLRT stations will open on Sundays at
8am, instead of the usual 5.30am.==Infrastructure=====Network======Facilities===Since the LRT system was built in the 1990s,
plans for barrier-free facilities have already been included during the planning stages. All 43 stations are equipped with such facilities,
thus there will be no difficulties present for the old and handicapped. Barrier-free facilities include lifts, ramps,
tactile guidance system and toilets with handicapped-friendly facilities; all stations include wide faregates. These barrier-free facilities will be included
in all future LRT stations.===Lines=======Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT)====The Bukit Panjang LRT Line (BPLRT) is the
first light rail line in Singapore. Spanning 7.6 km and consisting of 13 stations,
the entire line opened in 1999 and is the first and only LRT line to be operated by
SMRT Trains.====Sengkang LRT (SKLRT)====The Sengkang LRT (SKLRT) is a 10.7 km light
rail line which partially opened on 18 January 2003. It is part of the LRT system together with
the other two lines. The East Loop has 5 stations, all operational,
from Compassvale to Ranggung whereas the West Loop has 8 stations from Cheng Lim to Renjong. On 27 June 2015, Kupang opened, making it
the last station on the Sengkang LRT to be opened. The completion of several new residential
developments in the area deemed it suitable to operate after 12 years.For a comparison,
Cheng Lim opened for passenger service on 1 January 2013 while Farmway opened for passenger
service on 15 November 2007 while the rest of the West Loop stations opened for passenger
service on 29 January 2005.====Punggol LRT (PGLRT)====The Punggol LRT (PGLRT) is a light rail line
in Singapore within the LRT system together with the other two lines. Its first phase, which comprises a 10.3 km
light rail line with 15 stations, began operating on 29 January 2005 (with the exception of
Oasis, which was opened on 15 June 2007 and Damai, which was opened on 20 June 2011) whereas
Nibong, Sumang and Soo Teck were opened on 29 June 2014, the rest of the stations are
not opened as Punggol was halfway developed. Subsequently, Sam Kee opened on 29 February
2016, Punggol Point opened on 29 December 2016 while Samudera opened on 31 March 2017
as the area around the stations became more developed. Teck Lee will be opening in tandem with the
developments around the area.===Rolling stock===The trains on the LRT system are fitted with
rubber tyres, rather than steel wheels, on specially-constructed guideways from which
its power is also sourced. All cars are fully automated and driverless,
and are controlled from their respective depots. Rolling stock that is on the Light Rail Transit
are also used on the Changi Airport Skytrain, where the only change is in 2006 from the
Bombardier C-100 to Mitsubishi Crystal Mover. Little is known regarding the fate of the
older Bombardier C-100s that was built in 1990 for the Changi Airport Skytrain.===Signalling===
All Light Rail Lines are able to run automatically, are fully driverless and automated. The following list documents the systems:===Depots===The LRT system consists of two depots, which
run the maintenance, inspection, train overhaul facilities, and house the cars overnight. The Ten Mile Junction Depot houses cars for
Bukit Panjang LRT, and the Sengkang Depot houses cars for the Sengkang LRT and Punggol
LRT, together with the North East Line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).==Fares and ticketing==The Light Rail Transit uses the same ticketing
system as the Mass Rapid Transit. It uses the contactless EZ-Link smart card
and a standard single trip ticket. Instead of using turnstile faregates, all
stations on the Bukit Panjang LRT Line now use retractable faregates instead which is
faster and easier and the replacement was completed in 2017.==Safety==
By 2018, glass and steel platform barriers will be installed at all 43 LRT stations to
prevent people from falling onto the tracks. Unlike the ones in overground MRT stations,
the LRT structures will not have sliding doors but fixed openings. The barriers have been erected at Choa Chu
Kang and Bukit Panjang LRT stations in anticipation of higher commuter traffic with the opening
of Downtown Line 2. This will be followed by the rest of the stations
on the Bukit Panjang and Sengkang-Punggol LRT lines by 2018.The installation of these
barriers was completed at all LRT stations in 2017.==See also==
List of Singapore LRT stations Mass Rapid Transit
Transport in Singapore Rail transport in Singapore==Notes

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