11 July 2012

Future Thomson MRT and Current Route from Singapore CBD to Johor Bahru

Extract from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomson_MRT_Line (updated as at 5/9/2012)

The Thomson Line (TSL) will be the sixth Mass Rapid Transit and the fourth fully automatic and driverless system line in Singapore. The whole line will be completely underground. It is now under final stages of the advance engineering study.[1] Opening in three phases, starting from 2019 onwards, Thomson Line will add greatly to the accessibility and connectivity of the current rail network, with interchanges to all other five MRT lines. It will also serve about 400,000 commuters daily.[2]

The line, which is 30 km (19 mi) long and consists of 22 stations, will run through the north-south corridor, starting in northern of Woodlands area, passing through the industrial estate of Sin Ming, down to the residential Thomson area and the shopping districts of Orchard and Marina Bay, before ending at Gardens by the Bay. Residents in the heartlands of Sembawang, Nee Soon, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh and Moulmein-Kallang will benefit from faster and more direct connections to the city. For its depot, it will be a 32 ha (79 acres) depot which will be located at Mandai, south of Woodlands.[3]

Figure: Republic Polytechnic - northern-most station will be built near here.

Due to various demands for Thomson Line, Thomson Line will be opening in 3 different phases which are, Phase 1 in 2019, Phase 2 in 2020 and Phase 3 in 2021.

Phase 1 (2019)

Phase 1 consists of Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South. This phase will affect passengers living in northern of Singapore which enhance accessibility and connectivity to CBD and downtown area. Instead of travelling using the only one line, North South Line, to southern of Singapore, the availability of Thomson Line will reduce travelling time taken up to 50%.

Phase 2 (2020)

Phase 2, comprises middle section of Thomson Line, namely Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Sin Ming, Upper Thomson and Caldecott. An example quoted from a speech, stated that passengers living in Sin Ming travelling to Gardens by the Bay would save 25 min of travelling time from the current 65 min for the journey. Residents of the new developed Springleaf estate too will be welcomed by a new MRT station in the future. Passengers living in west of Ang Mo Kio or Thomson will also be able to experience savings in travel time when commuting around. As for Caldecott, it will become an interchange station with Thomson Line when opens in 2020 and will connect commuters to the orbital CCL, offering inter-suburban connectivity.[9]

Phase 3 (2021)

Phase 3 includes the final thirteen stations from Mount Pleasant to the terminus, Gardens by the Bay. Interchanging with the four current lines — North South Line (NSL), East West Line (EWL), North East Line (NEL), Circle Line (CCL) and the upcoming line, Downtown Line (DTL), Thomson Line will ease the burden of the high capacity usage of the current lines. Outram Park and Marina Bay stations will also provide excellent network access with the TSL connecting to the EWL and NEL at Outram Park, and the NSL and CCL at Marina Bay. [10]

MRT Terminals for Thomson Line. Source: Wikipedia as at 5/9/2012

I am not sure how long would it take for Johore to get ready with its RTS so that an integrated custom built at Singapore side and reduce the time spent on daily traveling. If this is completed, I believe the traveling time from Singapore CBD to Johor Bahru will be shorten by at least 30%

I tried out different routes from Singapore CBD area (Raffles Place) to Johor Bahru CIQ via public transport recently. Below are the summary of the routes after working hour (5PM)

Route 1: Raffles Place MRT - Bugis MRT (MRT - 6 mins) - Rochor Bus Terminal (Walk - 10 mins) - Singapore Custom (Bus no. CW2/SJE - 30 mins) - Johor Custom (Bus no. 160 / 170 / CW1 / CW2 / SJE / 950 - 20 mins) Total around 66 minutes if there is no traffic jam.

Route 2: Raffles Place MRT - Kranji MRT (MRT - 46 mins) - Singapore Custom (Bus no. 170 / CW2 - 15 mins) - Johor Custom (Bus no. 160 / 170 / CW1 / CW2 / SJE / 950 - 20 mins) - Total around 83 minutes if there is no traffic jam.

Route 3: Raffles Place MRT - Marsiling MRT (MRT - 43 mins) - Singapore Custom (Bus no. 856 opposite Marsiling MRT station - 10 mins) - Johor Custom (Bus no. 160 / 170 / CW1 / CW2 / SJE / 950 - 20 mins) - Total around 73 minutes if there is no traffic jam.

Assuming Thomson line is ready by 2018, it could cut down the traveling hour for MRT from 46 minutes to 30 minutes, and also shorten the time from SG custom to Johore custom. Hopefully by then we can reach Johor custom from Singapore CBD area within 1 hour.


  1. the travelling time you mentioned in this post are considered very fast as you used public transport. at times, when one is driving, it takes significantly longer time due to jam at both singapore and malaysia immigrations.i m very skeptical about Malaysia side, flip flop policies.

  2. Ya, the above traveling time is calculated based on "no traffic jam" scenario or what I think is "Best Case" scenario. If you notice, there is a special lane for the buses & lorries/vans in the causeway so we may experience a faster traveling time by using public transport. I believe there is a headache for private transport traveling(Motorcyle/Car), where you have to wait at least half an hour each side(both SG custom and JB custom) before you can reach JB town after working hour. There is alternative which you can go via second link (TUAS), but it will incur more cost in toll fees and petrol expenses if your destination is JB town.

    Of course, I hope that Malaysia government can look into security issues more seriously.

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