The Downtown line (DTL) is a medium-capacity Mass Rapid Transit line in Singapore. It runs from Bukit Panjang in the north-west to Expo in the east. Currently, the line is 41.9 kilometres (26.0 mi) long and has 34 stations, all of which are underground. The line is coloured blue on the rail map.[2]

The original line was built in 3 stages, which opened in 2013, 2015 and 2017 respectively. [3][4][5][6] Stage 3e, an extension of the line to Sungei Bedok, is to be completed in 2024.[7] The line connects the North-Western and Central-Eastern regions to the downtown of Singapore.

This line is the fifth MRT line on the network to be opened, the third to be entirely underground and, with 3-car trains, the second medium-capacity line after the Circle line. When fully completed in 2024, the line will be about 44 kilometres (27 mi) long with 36 stations and will serve more than half a million commuters daily.[8] It will also be the longest rapid transit line in Singapore to use completely automated, driverless trains,[1] and among the longest of such lines in the world.[9] Travelling from one end to the other will take around 67 minutes. It is the second MRT line to be operated by SBS Transit after the North East Line.


The line begins in Bukit Panjang, and then goes through the ‘school district’ and food enclaves of Bukit Timah before entering the central area, passing through Little India before reaching the Central Business District via Bugis and Chinatown. After this, it goes to Fort Canning, Geylang Bahru and MacPherson after intersecting itself.

The line then goes eastwards through the industrial areas of Kampong Ubi and Kaki Bukit, before continuing towards the Tampines Regional Centre and ending at Changi Business Park.

Connecting the Downtown line to the Thomson–East Coast line, the DTL3 extension (DTL3e) improves public transport accessibility to the Changi Business Park and Expo area.[10]


LTA's Downtown Line (Stage 1) project office next to Bugis MRT station.

On 14 June 2005, the Land Transport Authority announced the Downtown Extension of the Circle line to serve the Downtown at Marina Bay area, where an integrated resort (Marina Bay Sands) and Singapore's second botanical garden (Gardens by the Bay) was to be located. The 3.4-kilometre fully underground line was estimated to cost S$1.4 billion. Construction of the extension began in January 2008. During the construction of the North East line at Chinatown station, platform provisions were built to facilitate an interchange station. In August 2011, SBS Transit won the bid and was appointed to be the operator of the Downtown Line, under a new framework which would see the authority remaining the owner of the line.[11]

The original line was built in 3 stages, as follows:

Stage 1 of the Downtown Line, stretching 4.3-kilometre (2.7 mi), began service on 22 December 2013,[12] with its official inauguration made on the day before by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[13]

Stage 2 of the Downtown Line was first conceptualized and announced as the Bukit Timah Line. It was supposedly a 20-kilometre line that would connect the new downtown with the Bukit Panjang, Upper Bukit Timah and Bukit Timah corridor, alleviating the heavy traffic travelling along the sector, but a full route was released. Provisions were provided at Nicoll Highway station which would have seen the line terminating there and interchanging with the Circle line.[14] However, the Nicoll Highway collapse and subsequent feasibility works and deemed the old station unusable.[15] The stage is 16.6-kilometre (10.3 mi) long with 12 stations connecting Bukit Panjang and Rochor stations, including four interchange stations. Construction for Stage 2 began on 3 July 2009 with a groundbreaking ceremony at Beauty World station.[16][17][18]

In October 2014, it was announced that Stage 2's opening would be pushed back to the first quarter of 2016. It had to be delayed when main contractor Alpine Bau went bankrupt in mid-2013.[19] On 28 June 2015, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew announced that the delay was "completely resolved" by the authorities and Stage 2's opening date was reverted to 27 December 2015.[20]

Stage 3 of the Downtown Line goes from Chinatown to Expo. The station locations and finalized route were unveiled on 20 August 2010.[21] Stage 3 of the Downtown line is 21-kilometre (13 mi) long and serve 16 stations.[1] It started operations on 21 October 2017, officially opened by the Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.[22]

To serve the line, the Gali Batu Depot was opened in December 2015 to stable 42 trains. It is situated at part of the former Kwong Hou Sua Teochew Cemetery off Woodlands Road.[23] Also in February that year, the Land Transport Authority announced that the capacity of the depot will be expanded to stable 81 trains by 2019.[24]

Final costs of building the line may reach an estimated about S$20.7 billion, up more than 70% from an initial estimation of S$12 billion.[25] In January 2013, plans for a southern extension which will run from Expo through the East Coast area, interchanging with the Eastern Region line were announced for completion by 2025.[26] On 31 May 2017, LTA announced that Stage 3 of the Downtown Line commenced operations on 21 October 2017.[27]

DTL3e was announced on 15 August 2014, in conjunction with the announcement of the Thomson-East Coast MRT line.[28] Two stations, Xilin MRT station and Sungei Bedok MRT station will be added to the Downtown Line, with Sungei Bedok as an interchange station with the Thomson–East Coast line. It will add an additional 2.2 km to the line with the extension.[28] Due in 2024, Stage 3e will join the current East West and future Thomson–East Coast lines that runs through Marine Parade.[29]

Notable Incidents

A malfunction in the platform screen doors at Botanic Gardens MRT station resulted in trains bypassing the station and a seven-hour disruption on Wednesday (3 May 2017). Downtown Line operator SBS Transit said that the doors malfunctioned at 5.45am due to a signalling-related fault, and could not open automatically. The fault was rectified at 12.54pm and the platform opened for passenger service, with the affected door remaining closed for repairs. [30]


Downtown MRT Line
 DT1  BP6 
Bukit Panjang
Left arrow  Choa Chu Kang – Via Senja/Petir Right arrow
Beauty World
King Albert Park
Bt Timah Canal
Sixth Avenue
Tan Kah Kee
Farrer Road
Left arrow  HarbourFront – Dhoby Ghaut Right arrow
 DT9  CC19 
Botanic Gardens
Left arrow  Sungei Bedok – Woodlands North Right arrow
 DT10  TE11 
 DT11  NS21 
Left arrow  Marina South Pier – Jurong East Right arrow
Left arrow  HarbourFront – Punggol Right arrow
 DT12  NE7 
Little India
Left arrow  via Bencoolen – via Jalan Besar Right arrow
Left arrow  Tuas Link – Pasir Ris Right arrow
 DT14  EW12 
  HarbourFront Right arrow
 DT15  CC4 
  Dhoby Ghaut Left arrow
 DT16  CE1 
  Marina Bay Down arrow
Left arrow  Jurong East – Marina Bay Right arrow
Left arrow  Pasir Ris – Tuas Link Right arrow
Telok Ayer
 DT19  NE4 
Left arrow  Punggol – HarbourFront Right arrow
Singapore River
Fort Canning
Left arrow  HarbourFront – Punggol Right arrow
Left arrow  Marina South Pier – Jurong East Right arrow
Left arrow  HarbourFront – Dhoby Ghaut Right arrow
Left arrow  via Bugis – via Rochor Right arrow
Jalan Besar
Kallang River
Geylang Bahru
Left arrow  Dhoby Ghaut – HarbourFront Right arrow
 DT26  CC10 
Kaki Bukit
Bedok North
Bedok Reservoir
Tampines West
 DT32  EW2 
Left arrow  Pasir Ris – Tuas Link Right arrow
Tampines East
Upper Changi
 DT35  CG1 
Left arrow  Tanah Merah – Changi Airport Right arrow
Stage 3e: Open 2024
 DT37  TE31 
Sungei Bedok
Left arrow  Woodlands North
Active Route Map information system of Downtown Line
Station number Station name Image Interchange and notes
 DT1  BP6  Bukit Panjang Bukitpanjangmrtplatform.jpg Interchange with the Bukit Panjang LRT
 DT2  Cashew Cashew MRT Station exit construction site.jpg
 DT3  Hillview DT3 Hillview Platform.JPG
 DT4  N/A Located at Hume Avenue; Shell station; Not In Operation
 DT5  Beauty World DT5 BeautyWorld Platform.JPG
 DT6  King Albert Park DT6 KingAlbertPark Platform.JPG
 DT7  Sixth Avenue DT7 Sixth Avenue Platform.JPG
 DT8  Tan Kah Kee Tankahkeemrt.jpg
 DT9  CC19  Botanic Gardens Botanic Gardens MRT Station (DTL) - Platform B.jpg Interchange with the Circle line
 DT10  TE11  Stevens Stevens MRT Station exit A.jpg Interchange with the Thomson–East Coast line (2021)
 DT11  NS21  Newton Art in transit Newton downtown.jpg Interchange with the North South line
 DT12  NE7  Little India 2016-04-03 Little India MRT Station 05.jpg Interchange with the North East line
 DT13  Rochor Rochor-mrt-station-platform.jpg
 DT14  EW12  Bugis Bugis MRT Station.JPG Interchange with the East West line
 DT15  CC4  Promenade Platform C Promenade MRT (2).jpg Interchange with the Circle line
 DT16  CE1  Bayfront Bayfront MRT Station (DTL) - Platform A.jpg Cross-platform interchange with the Circle line extension
 DT17  Downtown Exit C of Downtown MRT Station.jpg
 DT18  Telok Ayer Exit B of Telok Ayer MRT Station 2.jpg
 DT19  NE4  Chinatown Chinatown Station Downtown Line Platform 201401.jpg Interchange with the North East line
 DT20  Fort Canning DT20 Fort Canning station.jpg
 DT21  Bencoolen DT21 Bencoolen station.jpg
 DT22  Jalan Besar Outside Jalan Besar.jpg
 DT23  Bendemeer DT23 Bendemeer station.jpg
 DT24  Geylang Bahru DT24 Geylang Bahru Platform.jpg
 DT25  Mattar DT25 Mattar station.jpg
 DT26  CC10  MacPherson MacPherson MRT Downtown.jpg Interchange with the Circle line
 DT27  Ubi DT27 Ubi station.jpg
 DT28  Kaki Bukit DT28 Kaki Bukit station.jpg
 DT29  Bedok North DT29 Bedok North station.jpg
 DT30  Bedok Reservoir DT30 Bedok Reservoir station.jpg
 DT31  Tampines West DT31 Tampines West station.jpg
 DT32  EW2  Tampines DT32 Tampines station.jpg Interchange with the East West line
 DT33  Tampines East DT33 Tampines East station.jpg
 DT34  Upper Changi DT34 Upper Changi station.jpg
 DT35  CG1  Expo DT35 Expo station.jpg Interchange with the East West line's Changi Airport Branch Line
Downtown Line Extension (In 2024)
 DT36  Xilin
 DT37  TE31  Sungei Bedok Interchange with the Thomson-East Coast line (2024)

The station code "DT4" is reserved for future use.

Rolling stock

The Bombardier MOVIA C951 at Mattar MRT station

Currently, the Downtown Line has one type of rolling stock, the Bombardier MOVIA C951 cars,[31] running in a three-car formation. They are stabled at Gali Batu Depot after it opened with Stage 2 of Downtown Line on 27 December 2015. For the period between the operation of Downtown Line Stage 1 and Downtown Line Stage 2, trains were stabled at a maintenance facility that was built at Marina Bay as part of the Circle line project. Kim Chuan Depot housed the Operations Control Centre for the Downtown Line Stage 1 until Gali Batu Depot was ready to be used.[32]

On 12 October 2012, the first of 11 trains for the Downtown Line Stage 1 arrived at Jurong Port. It was transported to Kim Chuan Depot to undergo testing by LTA before it was handed over to SBS Transit.[33] As of 28 February 2013, Bombardier had delivered five of the 11 trains for Downtown Line Stage 1.[34] LTA together with the operator, SBS Transit, conducted the necessary tests to ensure safety standards, functional performance and systems compatibility requirements were met before revenue service began on 22 December 2013.[35]

Testing on the Downtown Line Stage 2 began on 25 October 2015 and rolling stock that was delivered to Gali Batu Depot have commenced service on Stage 1 starting on 21 October 2015. Kim Chuan Depot, together with the adjacent Tai Seng Facility Building will operate on a minor capacity until the Downtown Line Stage 3 opens. A new depot, named the East Coast Integrated Depot will provide additional stabling capacity to the line in 2024.[36]

Testing on the Downtown Line Stage 3 began on 15 August 2017, after the late opening of Downtown Line from 27 May 2017, exactly two months before Stage 3's Open House, themed "Rail Of Fun".[37] Most of the other rolling stock that had not carried passengers before and were stabled in Gali Batu Depot as early as 2015 finally entered revenue service progressively from that date onwards. Testing on DTL Stage 3 will be restricted from Fort Canning to Expo from 19 September 2017.

Train control

The Downtown Line is equipped with Siemens (previously Invensys before Siemens acquisition) Trainguard Sirius Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 4 (UTO).[38][39] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Controlguide Rail 9000 Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and Trackguard Westrace MK2 Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.[40][41]

A fall-back signalling system, relying on conventional track-circuit occupancy detection, is included to ensure fully automatic operation and train protection independent of the radio system.

Platform screen doors by Faiveley[42] provide safety for passengers, offering protection from arriving and departing trains.[43]

External links


  1. ^ a b c d "Projects – Downtown Line – Stages". Land Transport Authority of Singapore. 17 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Company Announcement – Incorporation of a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "The Rail Report: 12 stations of Downtown Line 2 to Open on 27 December". Land Transport Authority. 6 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Downtown Line 2 to open ahead of schedule in December: Transport Minister Lui". Channel NewsAsia. 28 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SBS Transit – Train Services on Downtown Line to Start Later at 7.30am on Sundays to Facilitate Systems Integration Testing". Land Transport Authority. 26 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "Factsheet: Downtown Line 3 to Open on 21 October 2017". Land Transport Authority. 31 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Downtown Line 3 Extension". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "MORE TRAINS, MORE CAPACITY, MORE OFTEN", Land Transport Authority
  9. ^ "Bombardier Announces Delivery of First Fully Automated Metro for Singapore Downtown Line". Mass Transit. Retrieved 2018-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Downtown Line Overview". 
  11. ^ LTA Appoints SBS Transit Limited to Operate Downtown Line under New Rail Financing Framework Archived 21 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Land Transport Authority – 29 August 2011
  12. ^ "Downtown Line". Land Transport Authority. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Downtown Line Stage 1 officially opened by PM Lee". The Straits Times. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Land Transport Authority (24 January 2014). "Circle Line Linking All Lines". The Straits Times. p. 50. 
  15. ^ "Govt approves S$12b MRT Downtown Line to be built by 2018". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Groundwork begins for new MRT lines", Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 13 March 2006
  17. ^ "LTA unveils locations of DTL stage 2 stations" Archived 13 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 15 July 2008
  18. ^ "Work on MRT Downtown Line Phase 2 Starts", Tyler Thia, Channel NewsAsia, 3 July 2009
  19. ^ "Stage 2 of Downtown Line to open in first quarter 2016". TODAYonline. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Thumbs Up For Downtown Line's Earlier Opening". The Straits Times. 
  21. ^ Downtown Line 3 station Locations Unveiled Archived 21 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Land Transport Authority, 20 August 2010
  22. ^ Tan, Christopher (20 October 2017). "Downtown Line 3 officially opens; Khaw Boon Wan announces review of fares incurred when switching between stations". The Straits Times. 
  23. ^ "Downtown Line depot to be located off Woodlands Road", Margaret Perry, Channel NewsAsia, 26 February 2008
  24. ^ Land Transport Authority (17 Feb 2015). "Gali Batu Depot". Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  25. ^ "Downtown Line costs soar by more than 70%", Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 30 October 2012
  26. ^ "TWO NEW RAIL LINES AND THREE NEW EXTENSIONS TO EXPAND RAIL NETWORK BY 2030". Land Transport Authority. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Downtown Line 3". Elizabeth Neo (Downtown Line 3 to open on 21 Oct). Channel NewsAsia. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  28. ^ a b "Thomson-East Coast Line, connecting North and East, ready by 2024" Archived 16 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 15 August 2014
  29. ^ "Downtown Line 3 Extension". Land Transport Authority. 15 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "Platform doors at Botanic Gardens MRT station malfunction, causing 7-hour disruption". Channel NewsAsia. 
  31. ^ LTA Awards 6 Downtown Line Contracts Totalling $1.13 Billion Archived 27 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Contract 901QP: Terms of Reference, Land Transport Authority, 9 November 2007 (tender document from www.gebiz.gov.sg)
  33. ^ "First Downtown Line train lands in Singapore". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Shorter Waiting Time With 15 More Trains For Downtown Line". Land Transport Authority. 28 March 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "Land Transport Masterplan: Downtown Line Stage 1 to open on Dec 22". The Straits Times. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  36. ^ "4-in-1 depot save taxpayers 2bn". 23 Feb 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2017. 
  37. ^ Elizabeth Neo (15 November 2017). "Doors open on Downtown line 3 for preview ahead of Oct 21 launch". Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  38. ^ "Invensys Rail secures signalling contract for Singapore's new Downtown Line" (PDF). Retrieved 21 August 2016. [permanent dead link]
  39. ^ "Press Releases > Siemens-equipped driverless underground metro line in Singapore starts operations for Downtown Line 1 > Siemens-equipped driverless underground metro line in Singapore starts operations for Downtown Line 1". Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  40. ^ "como special issue" (PDF). 
  41. ^ "CBTC testing starts on Singapore Downtown Line". 
  42. ^ "LTA Awards 6 Downtown Line Contracts Totalling $1.13 Billion". 7 November 2008. 
  43. ^ "The Challenges of Delivering the Downtown Line Signalling System".