Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)

rapid transit system in Singapore
(Redirected from Singapore MRT)

The Mass Rapid Transit system, commonly known as the MRT, is a rapid transit system that makes up the railways in Singapore, covering most of the city-state.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
大众捷运系统 (地铁)
Sistem Pengangkutan Gerak Cepat
துரிதக் கடவு ரயில்
OwnerLand Transport Authority
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines9 (6 in operation, 1 under construction, 1 under planning, 1 under study)
Number of stations187 (151 in operation, 34 under construction or planning, 2 reserved)
Daily ridership3.3 million (2018)[1]
Began operation7 November 1987
System length216 km (134 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
MRT Network Map

Following two decades of planning, the system began operations in November 1987 with 5 stations spread over 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) of track. The network has since grown quickly in accordance with Singapore's aim of developing a complex rail network as the core of the country's public transportation system, averaging a daily ridership of 3.384 million in 2019. The MRT is known as one of the best rapid transit system in the world.

It is a rapid transit system which links the different places of Singapore together using a network, or different connections of trains. When a person travels from one place to another, he or she boards a train in a train station and then the train moves until the train reaches the place he or she wants to come out, or alight from. Sometimes he or she has to change trains.



About 3.4 million passengers use the MRT everyday.[1] The system is 231 km long and has 134 stations. Trains run from 5:30 am to 1:00 am every day except for the festive periods, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve. A train comes every 2–3 minutes in peak hours, every 7 minutes during off-peak hours and 5–6 minutes for the weekend service. It is operated by Singapore's SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit.

There are currently 6 lines in the MRT system, where they are connected by special stops called interchanges. The lines are North South Line, East West Line, North East Line, Circle Line, Downtown Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line.

On 16 December 2011, the MRT network suffered what is likely to be the worst breakdown in its 24-year operating history. 'A power rail problem' made North-South Line trains suddenly lose power and stopped in darkness and without air conditioning for up to an hour accompanied only by light from mobile phones.[2]


Name and color Commencement Last extension Next extension Terminus Stations Length Depot Operator Control Center
North South Line 7 November 1987 2 November 2019[note 1] 2030s[note 2] Jurong East
Marina South Pier
27[3] 45 km (28 mi)[3] Bishan Depot
Ulu Pandan Depot
Changi Depot
Tuas Depot
SMRT Trains (SMRT Corporation) Kim Chuan Depot
East West Line 12 December 1987 18 June 2017[note 3] Pasir Ris
Changi Airport
Tuas Link
35[4] 57.2 km (35.5 mi)[4]
Circle Line 28 May 2009 14 January 2012[note 4] 2025[note 5] Dhoby Ghaut
Marina Bay
30[5][note 6] 35.5 km (22.1 mi)[5] Kim Chuan Depot
Thomson–East Coast Line 31 January 2020 13 November 2022[note 7] 2024[note 8] Woodlands North
Gardens by the Bay
9 17.2 km (10.7 mi)[5] Mandai Depot Mandai Depot
Subtotal (lines under SMRT Trains): 101 141.9 km (88.2 mi)[5]
North East Line 20 June 2003 20 June 2011[note 9] 2023[note 10] HarbourFront
16[6] 20 km (12 mi)[6] Sengkang Depot SBS Transit (ComfortDelGro Corporation) Sengkang Depot
Downtown Line 22 December 2013 21 October 2017[note 11] 2024[note 12] Bukit Panjang
34[7] 41.9 km (26.0 mi)[7] Tai Seng Facility Building
Gali Batu Depot
Gali Batu Depot
Subtotal (lines under SBS Transit): 50 61.9 km (38.5 mi)
Total: 128[note 13] 203.8 km (126.6 mi)

Schematic map of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) network in Singapore (an official version can be found at the Land Transport Authority's website).





The MRT system only had two lines, the North South and East West Lines, for more than ten years until the opening of the North East Line in 2003. While plans for these lines, as well as those being built, were made long before, the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) proposal named "A World Class Land Transport System" in 1996 showed that the government wanted to greatly expand on the existing system.[8][9] The plans allow for the long-term replacement of the bus network by rail-based transportation as the main way of public transportation. It called for the expansion of the 67 kilometres of track in 1995 to over 360 in the year 2030.[8] It was expected that daily ridership in 2030 would have grown to 6.0 million from the current 1.4 million passengers.

Thomson-East Coast Line


The 43-kilometre Thomson-East Coast Line was planned to be completed by 2025 and will consist of 32 stations.[10] It was originally planned to be completed by 2024 but this plan was changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[11] It will connect to the North South Line at Woodlands station, Orchard and Marina Bay, to the Circle Line at Thomson, Caldecott and Marina Bay, to the Downtown Line at Stevens and Sungei Bedok, and to the East West and North East lines at Outram Park. The first part, or stage, opened in 2019.

The Thomson-East Coast Line was a result of joining two separate lines, the Thomson Line and the Eastern Region Line, which was announced on 15 August 2014. The Thomson Line consisted of the part from Woodlands North to Marina Bay, while the Eastern Region Line consisted of the rest of the joined line.[12]

A new extension to the line was announced on 25 May 2019. The new extension will connect the line to Singapore Changi Airport, allowing people arriving from the airport to go to the city without changing to another train. The tracks of the East West MRT line that currently go to the airport will also be used by this extension, which means that trains on the line will go all the way to Tanah Merah station, and there will be no more East West line trains using these tracks. This extension is expected to open by/before 2040.[13][14]

North East Line Extension


To be opened by 2024, the 2-kilometre extension will run from Punggol through Punggol North including the new Punggol Downtown. The extension is for future residents in Punggol North to have access by train to the city centre as well as other parts of Singapore.[15][16]

Downtown Line


The Downtown Line was built in three stages, with the first opening in 2013, the second in 2015, and the third in 2017.[17] An extension to the third stage, known as Stage 3e, will open in 2025, being 2.2 kilometres long and with two more stations.[15] On 7 March 2015, Senior Minister of Stage for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that there will be a new station called Hume, to be built between the already open stations of Hillview and Beauty World. This station will open in 2025.[18] When Hume opens, the line will be 42 kilometres long and have 37 stations.

On 25 May 2019, the Land Transport Authority announced another extension to the second stage of the line to a new station, Sungei Kadut MRT station. This extension will open in the mid-2030s.[14]

Circle Line Stage 6


To be opened by 2026, the 4-kilometre extension will run from Marina Bay through Keppel, ending at HarbourFront, making the Circle Line a full continuous circle.[15][19]

Jurong Region Line


First proposed as a LRT line when originally announced in 2001, the Jurong Region Line is now going to be a medium capacity line. The new plan will serve West Coast, Tengah and Choa Chu Kang and Jurong. The line will open in stages from 2026.[15][20]

Cross Island Line


The 50-kilometre Cross Island Line will go across the island of Singapore, passing through Tuas, Jurong, Sin Ming, Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Punggol, Pasir Ris and Changi. The addition of the new line brings commuters with another way for east–west travel to the current East West Line. It will also connect to all the other major lines to serve as a key transfer line, adding to the role currently fulfilled by the orbital Circle Line; the Cross Island Line will also become the first line to have interchange stations with all existing lines as of 2023. (Under construction lines included). The first stage will open by 2029, and other stages are expected to open by 2031.[14][15][21]

Brickland and Sungei Kadut MRT stations


On 25 May 2019, the LTA announced two new stations to be built on the North South line. Brickland station will be built between Bukit Gombak and Choa Chu Kang, while Sungei Kadut will be built between Yew Tee and Kranji. Both stations will open in the mid-2030s.[14]

Possible new line along north-east area


In the LTA's Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040, there will be studies to see if a new line can be built, between Woodlands, and Greater Southern Waterfront areas. If the line is built, it will be about 30 kilometres long, and will be completed as early as 2040. The line could serve around 400,000 houses, and lower the time needed for travel to the city by up to 40 minutes.[13][14]

Facilities at the stations

Canberra MRT Station

Every station has ticket machines, restrooms (toilets), a passenger service center, which controls what is happening in the train station and has wired radio with the train operator, payphones (public phones) and access for disabled. Some of them have automated teller machines, kiosks and a bus interchange nearby.

All stations in Singapore are either elevated or underground, with the exception of Bishan. Underground stations and trains are air-conditioned and have full-height platform screen doors. Elevated stations have half-height platform screen doors.

Rolling stock


A total of 12 types of rolling stock are used on the MRT lines. Almost all of them are powered by 750 voltage current from a third rail, except those on the North East MRT Line, which uses 1500 voltage current from overhead wires.

North South and East West Lines

A C151 and R151 train

For the North South and East West Lines, seven types of rolling stock are used. The oldest is the C151, built in 1986-89 by a collaboration between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and three sub-companies, Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo and Tokyu Car Corp. 66 trainsets are in operation, which were upgraded between 2006 and 2008. 19 more C651s were purchased in 1994 from Siemens AG, followed by 21 more C751B sets, built in 1999-2000 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Nippon Sharyo. Two companies, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang, have collaborated to build 3 types of rolling stock. The fourth rolling stock in operation is the C151A. They were built between 2010 and 2014, and started operations in 2011. The next rolling stock that started operations is the C151B, which began operations on 16 April 2017. The next rolling stock, being built between 2017 and 2018, is the C151C, and it began operations on 30 September 2018.[22] The newest rolling stock, the R151, began operations on 4 June 2023 on the East West Line.[23] With 106 trains ordered, it plans to replace the C151, C651 and the C715B.[24]

North East Line


On the North East Line, 25 six-car trainsets of the C751A were built from 1999 to 2002 by Alstom. A further 18 trainsets, the C751C, were built by Alstom and Shanghai Electric and entered operation on 1 October 2015. A new model, the C851E, entered service in 2023, with 6 trainsets.

Circle Line


For the fourth MRT line, the Circle Line, 40 three-car trainsets of C830s were built from 2005 to 2008 and began operations in 2009. Together with the C751Cs, the same companies made 24 C830C trainsets which began operations on 26 June 2015.

Downtown Line


For the fifth MRT line, the Downtown Line, 73 three car C951s were built by Bombardier Transportation and began operations in 2013. An additional 15 trains and a final 4 trains were ordered, bringing the total number of C951s to 92 trainsets.

Thomson-East Coast Line


For the sixth MRT line, the Thomson-East Coast Line, 91 four-car trainsets of CT251 rolling stock are built and were delivered between 2018 and 2021, and it began operations in 2020.

Fares and ticketing


Stations are divided into two areas, paid and unpaid, which allow the rail operators to collect fares by controlling entry only through the fare gates, also known as access control gates.[25] These gates, connected to a computer system, are able to read and change electronic tickets that can store data, and can store information such as the initial and destination stations and the duration for each trip.[26] General Ticketing Machines sell tickets for single trips or allow the customer to purchase more value for stored-value tickets. Standard tickets can be used up to 6 times within 30 days from the day of purchase.[27] The machines also allow the customer to buy more credit for stored-value tickets. Such tickets require a minimum amount of stored credit.

As the fare system has been connected together by TransitLink, commuters need to pay only one fare and pass through two fare gates (once on entry, once on exit) for an entire journey, even when transferring between lines operated by different companies.[26] Commuters can choose to extend a trip mid-journey, and pay the difference as they exit their destination station.

The ticketing system uses the EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay contactless smart cards based upon the System for e-Payments (SeP) system for public transit built on the Singapore Standard for Contactless ePurse Application (CEPAS) system. This system allows for up to 4 card issuers in the market.[28] The EZ-Link card was introduced on 13 April 2002 as a replacement to the original TransitLink farecard while its competitor the NETS FlashPay card entered the smart card market on 9 October 2009. The adult EZ-link card is at S$15 while the NETS FlashPay card is at S$13.



Assurance has been given by both operators and authorities, that many actions have been taken in an effort to ensure the safety of passengers, with SBS Transit having to make greater efforts in actively publicising its safety considerations on the driverless North East Line before and after its opening.[29][30] Safety campaign posters are highly visible in trains and stations, and the operators frequently play safety announcements to passengers and to commuters waiting for trains. Fire safety standards are about the same as the strict guidelines of the US National Fire Protection Association.[31][32] Platform screen doors are installed at all underground stations,[31] with half-height platform screen doors installed at all above-ground stations. These doors prevent suicides and disallowed access to restricted areas, as well as keeping normal temperatures in stations. Bylaws reduce uncivil, disruptive and dangerous acts, such as smoking, the consumption of food and drink, using safety features in an evil way, and unlawfully going onto the railway tracks. Penalties ranging from fines to jail are given for these offences.[33][34]

Safety concerns were raised among the public after several accidents on the system during the 1980s and 1990s, but most problems have been fixed. On 5 August 1993, two trains collided at Clementi MRT Station because of an oil spillage on the track, which resulted in 132 injuries.[35] There were calls for platform screen doors to be installed at above-ground stations after several incidents in which passengers were killed by oncoming trains when they fell onto the railway tracks at above-ground stations. The people in charge initially rejected such proposals as they felt that the functional purposes were not worth the high cost of installation,[36] but changed their minds when the government announced plans to install half-height automatic platform gates in a speech on 25 January 2008, reasoning that worldwide installations of these gates reduced the market price for them.



Security concerns related to crime and terrorism were not the biggest priority of the system's planners at its original creation. However, after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the failed plan to bomb the Yishun MRT Station, the operators deployed private, unarmed guards to patrol station platforms and check the belongings of commuters.

Recorded announcements are frequently made to remind passengers to report suspicious activity and not to leave their belongings unattended. Digital closed-circuit cameras (CCTVs) have been upgraded with recording software at all stations and trains operated by SMRT Corporation. Trash bins and mail boxes have been removed from station platforms and concourse levels to station entrances, to remove the risk that bombs will be placed in them. Photography without prior allowance was also banned in all MRT stations since.

On 14 April 2005, the Singapore Police Force announced plans to improve rail security by creating a specialised Police MRT Unit, now known as Public Transport Security Command (Transcom). These armed officers began patrols on the MRT and LRT systems on 15 August 2005, conducting random patrols in pairs in and around rail stations and within trains. They are trained and allowed to use their firearms if they need to, including killing if necessary.[37]

  1. Canberra infill station
  2. Sungei Kadut and Brickland infill stations
  3. Tuas West extension
  4. Circle Line extension
  5. Circle Line Stage 6
  6. Excluding Bukit Brown MRT Station, which is not in operation
  7. Thomson-East Coast Line stage 3
  8. Thomson-East Coast Line stage 4
  9. Woodleigh station
  10. North East Line extension
  11. Downtown Line Stage 3
  12. Downtown Line Stage 3e
  13. Excluding duplicating interchange stations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bus, train trips hit record high last year". The Straits Times. 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  2. "Singapore's MRT Breakdown Chaos Leaves Thousands Stranded". December 16, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "North-South Line". Land Transport Authority. 19 August 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "East-West Line". Land Transport Authority. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Our Business". SMRT Corporation. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Overview – North East Line". SBS Transit. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Downtown line". Land Transport Authority. 17 December 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Land Transport Authority, Singapore 1996, pg. 44-47
  9. "Other Rail Projects". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2005-12-07.
  10. "MRT network length to double by 2020; two new lines to be built". 2008-01-25. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  11. "11 Thomson-East Coast Line stations to open on Nov 13; free rides available on Nov 11". Channel News Asia. 7 October 2022. Archived from the original on 23 March 2023. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  12. Maria Almenoar (26 January 2008). "Two new MRT lines by 2020". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "New MRT stations, line extensions and a possible new rail line: LTA's 2040 blueprint". TODAYonline. 25 May 2019.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "New Sungei Kadut MRT station linking North-South and Downtown lines could shorten trips by 30 mins". The Straits Times. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 "TWO NEW RAIL LINES AND THREE NEW EXTENSIONS TO EXPAND RAIL NETWORK BY 2030". Land Transport Authority. January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  16. "Punggol Coast MRT station ready by 2024, 40% of work completed". The Straits Times. 13 November 2020. Archived from the original on 8 January 2023. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  17. "Land Transport Authority - What's New :: Content". 2007-04-27. Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  18. hermesauto (2019-03-07). "Hume MRT station to open by 2025, says Janil Puthucheary". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  19. "Speech by Minister For Transport, Mr Ong Ye Kung, at MOT Committee of Supply Debate 2021 on A Tale of Three Connections". Ministry of Transport. Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  20. "Jurong Region Line to serve NTU, Tengah estate, Jurong Industrial Estate". CNA. Archived from the original on 2019-09-21. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  21. hermesauto (2019-01-25). "First phase of Cross Island MRT line finalised; will have 12 stations". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  22. hermesauto (2018-09-30). "New MRT trains with tip-up seats now in service". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  23. "'Open, open, open': Launch of first 7th-generation MRT train draws more than 100 fans". The Straits Times. 4 June 2023. Archived from the original on 27 June 2023. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  24. "40 ageing trains on North-South, East-West MRT lines to be replaced". Channel News Asia. 28 September 2020. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023. Retrieved 24 July 2023.
  25. R C Longden & E W Finch (April 1987). "Automatic Fare Collection - Serving the Commuter". MRTC & IES 1987, pg. 319-324.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Sharp 2005, pg. 113-115
  27. migration (2013-02-27). "New MRT standard ticket scheme operational islandwide". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  28. Maria Almenoar (9 January 2009). "Free replacement exercise on till Sept 30". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  29. Karamjit Kaur (20 November 2002). "Driverless MRT trains on new line will be safe; The North-East MRT line will have safety features like CCTVs and smoke detectors to protect commuters, says LTA". The Straits Times. p. 10.
  30. Tammy Tan (SBS Transit) (24 December 2005). "Measures in place to ensure safe ride on NEL". The Straits Times Forum.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Kwan Cheng Fai (April 1987). "Architecture of Singapore MRT Underground Stations Concept Layout and Planning". MRTC & IES 1987, pp. 29–33.
  32. Y C Siew & J P Copsey (April 1987). "Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System Design for Fire and Emergency". MRTC & IES 1987, pg. 131-139.
  33. "Rapid Transit Systems Act (Chapter 263A, Section 42)". Singapore Statutes Online. Archived from the original on 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2005-12-07.
  34. "Fined $30 for eating sweet". The Straits Times. 17 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  35. Matthew Pereira & Branden Pereira (6 August 1993). "MRT Trains collide at Clementi : 132 hurt". The Straits Times. pp. 1 & 25.
  36. "Safety at MRT and LRT Stations - Respect The Yellow Line" (Press release). Land Transport Authority. 20 November 2005. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  37. Johnson Choo (15 August 2005). "Special armed police unit begins MRT patrols". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008.

Other websites