Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Logo of Singapore MRT.svg
Exit of Toa Payoh MRT station
Exit of Little India MRT station
Exterior of Jurong East MRT station
Platform of Expo MRT station
Platform of Caldecott MRT station
From top left to bottom right: Entrances of the Toa Payoh, Little India stations; Exterior of Jurong East station; East West Line (EWL) platforms at Expo station and Thomson–East Coast Line platforms at Caldecott station
Overview
Native nameSistem Pengangkutan Gerak Cepat (Malay)
新加坡地铁系统 (Chinese)
சிங்கப்பூர் துரிதக் கடவு ரயில் (Tamil)
OwnerLand Transport Authority
LocaleSingapore
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines8[note 1]
Number of stations187[note 2]
Daily ridership3.4 million (2019)[1][note 3]
Annual ridership1.2 billion (2019)[note 3]
Website
Operation
Began operation7 November 1987 (1987-11-07)
Operator(s)SMRT Trains
SBS Transit
CharacterFully grade separated
Number of vehicles579 trains[note 4] comprising >2,600 carriages[note 5]
Train length3–6 carriages[note 6]
HeadwayPeak: 2–3 minutes
Off-peak: 5-7 minutes[2][note 7]
Technical
System length216 km (134 mi)[note 8]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Minimum radius of curvature400–500 m (1,312.34–1,640.42 ft) (mainline),
190 m (623.36 ft) (depot)[3]
Electrification750 V DC third rail[note 9]
1,500 V DC overhead catenary[note 10]
Top speed78–90 km/h (48–56 mph) (service)
90–100 km/h (56–62 mph) (design)
MRT network map

Singapore MRT Network.svg

The Mass Rapid Transit system, known by the initialism MRT in common parlance, is a rapid transit system in Singapore and the island country's principal mode of railway transportation. The system commenced operations in November 1987 after two decades of planning with an initial 6 km (3.7 mi) stretch consisting of five stations. The network has since grown to span the length and breadth of the country's main island – with the exception of the forested core and the rural northwestern region – in accordance with Singapore's aim of developing a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of the country's public transportation system,[note 11] averaging a daily ridership of 3.4 million in 2019.[1][note 12]

The MRT network encompasses 216 km (134 mi) of grade-separated route on standard gauge. There are 127 operational stations (28 of which are interchange stations) dispersed across six lines arrayed in a circle-radial topology. The network is scheduled to double in length to 400 km (250 mi) by 2040 as a result of ongoing extension works to its existing lines and the construction of three new lines.[4] The island-wide heavy rail network interchanges with a series of automated guideway transit networks localised to select suburban towns—collectively known as the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system—that complement the mainline by providing a last mile link between MRT stations and HDB public housing estates.[5][note 13]

The MRT is the second oldest, busiest, and most comprehensive metro system in Southeast Asia.[note 14] Capital expenditure on its rail infrastructure reached a cumulative S$150 billion[note 15] in 2021, making the network one of the world's costliest on both a per-kilometre and absolute basis.[6][7][8][9][note 16] The system is managed in conformity with a semi-nationalised hybrid regulatory framework; construction and procurement fall under the purview of the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a statutory board of the government that allocates operating concessions to the for-profit private corporations SMRT and SBS Transit. These operators are responsible for asset maintenance on their respective lines, and also run bus services, facilitating operational synchronicity and the horizontal integration of the broader public transportation network.

The MRT is fully automated and is the most extensive driverless rapid transit system in the world.[10][11] Asset renewal works are periodically carried out to modernise the network and ensure its continued reliability; all stations feature platform screen doors, Wi-Fi connectivity, lifts, climate control, and accessibility provisions, among others. Much of the early network is elevated above ground on concrete viaducts, with a small portion running at-grade; newer lines are largely subterranean, incorporating several of the lengthiest continuous subway tunnel sections in the world. A number of underground stations double as purpose-built air raid shelters under the operational authority of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF); these stations incorporate deep-level station boxes cast with hardened concrete and blast doors fashioned out of reinforced steel to withstand conventional aerial and chemical ordnance.


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  1. ^ a b Tan, Christopher (13 February 2020). "Bus, train ridership rises to new high". The Straits Times. Singapore: SPH Media Limited. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Train Operation Hours and Frequency". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  3. ^ "CIVIL DESIGN CRITERIA FOR ROAD AND RAIL TRANSIT SYSTEMS" (PDF). Land Transport Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Toh, Ting Wei (25 May 2019). "New Sungei Kadut MRT station linking North-South and Downtown lines could shorten trips by 30 mins". The Straits Times. Singapore. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  5. ^ Land Transport Authority, Singapore 1996, p. 8.
  6. ^ Staff writers. "Comparing Singapore's newest and oldest MRT lines". Today. Singapore: Mediacorp. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Expect longer waiting times during initial phase of Thomson-East Coast Line: LTA". Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Oral Reply by Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan to Parliamentary Question on Government Subsidies for Operating Costs for the Thomson-East Coast Line" (Press release). Ministry of Transport. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  9. ^ Tan, Christopher (28 March 2020). "Almost $100b earmarked for land transport projects". The Straits Times.
  10. ^ "Réseau express métropolitain". CDPQ Infra. 11 July 2017. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  11. ^ Briginshaw, David. "Automated metros set to reach 2200km by 2025". Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018.

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