The East West line (EWL) is a high-capacity MRT line, operated by SMRT. It is the second Mass Rapid Transit line to be built in Singapore. The line is 57.2 kilometres (35.5 mi) long with 35 stations, 8 of which are below ground,[1] making it the longest MRT line in Singapore. It runs from Pasir Ris, in eastern Singapore, to Tuas Link in the west. A separate spur line links Tanah Merah and Changi Airport via Expo. The line is coloured green on system maps, and began operations on 12 December 1987.


As its name implies, the line connects central Singapore to both eastern and western parts of the island, with an additional branch between Changi Airport and Tanah Merah, operated as a separate shuttle service. The line runs mostly on overhead viaducts but goes underground in the city area between Kallang and Redhill, Bedok and Kembangan, and between Expo and Changi Airport. Travelling from one end of the line to the other takes about 78 minutes.

The East West line was constructed alongside the North South line. As such, they both utilise identical signalling equipment and rolling stock.


The first segment of the East West line, between City Hall to Outram Park stations, was opened on 12 December 1987. It was extended to Clementi on 12 March 1988 and to Lakeside on 5 November 1988. The eastern extension to Tanah Merah was opened on 4 November 1989. The "East West line" name was adopted to reflect the operational split from the North South line. The line was extended to Pasir Ris on 16 December 1989. The last station of the original system, Boon Lay opened on 6 July 1990.

Dover MRT station

The building of the station was met with reservations by some members of the public over the small area it serviced when construction of the station began in June 1998. There were criticisms over the spending of "taxpayers' money" chiefly for use only by students of one educational institution.[2] The Land Transport Authority proceeded with the construction anyway, to serve commuters along Singapore Polytechnic with Dover housing estate.[3][4] Originally, it was named Singapore Polytechnic MRT station in the planning stage. With the change of plans, it was renamed to Dover.

On 18 October 2001, Dover station, built as an infill station, was opened.[5] Before it was opened, there were test runs from 13 to 17 October 2001 when the trains stopped at this station but did not open their doors.[6]

Changi Airport branch

The idea of extending the Mass Rapid Transit system to Changi Airport was being reconsidered when Terminal 3 of Changi Airport was being built[7]. The earlier plans had long been made for a new line branching off from the existing East West line at Tanah Merah,[8] with some conceptual plans showing a tentative route alignment up to the airport along Airport Boulevard, continuing beyond the airport to Changi Point, before turning southwest back towards the city along the east coast of the island. When the extension to the airport was finally announced, however, the route alignment showed a deviation from previous plans.[9][10] The final plan involved building only the first two stations, namely Expo, and the Changi Airport station, the underground station built between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The alignment of the station at the airport has been switched perpendicularly to an east–west direction, such that the station leads to two of the terminals directly from either end of the station.

Expo station opened on 10 January 2001 and Changi Airport station on 27 February 2002. The Tanah Merah-Expo route was initially operated as a shuttle service; through services from Boon Lay commenced after the opening of this station[11]. However, due to low ridership, the route reverted to being operated as a shuttle service from 22 July 2003.[12]

Boon Lay extension (BLE)

The extension was announced by the LTA on 30 December 2004. The extension is to cater for the residents in Jurong West Town area and those working in the Jurong Industrial Estate. Pioneer and Joo Koon stations were officially opened to the public on 28 February 2009.[13]

Joo Koon station, before the installation of half-platform screen doors

Tuas West extension (TWE)

Tuas Link MRT station

On 11 January 2011, the Tuas West extension, an extension of the East West line from Joo Koon to Tuas Link was announced. It consists of a 7.5-kilometre-long (4.7 mi) twin-tracked MRT viaduct, four above-ground stations and a 26-hectare depot to provide stabling and maintenance facilities for the additional trains that will be bought for the extension and to cater for future expansion of the line.[14] The viaduct is integrated with part of a 4.8-kilometre-long (3.0 mi) road viaduct along Pioneer Road, which will increase the road capacity to cope with anticipated increase in traffic. The stations are Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road, and Tuas Link. On 4 May 2012, the Land Transport Authority marked the start of construction of the Tuas West extension with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Tuas Link station.[15]

The Tuas West extension began service on 18 June 2017.[16][17][18] Westbound trains will alternate their terminus between Joo Koon and Tuas Link, where for every two trains, one train will terminate at the former, while the other train will terminate at the latter.[19] From November 2017 to June 2018, all westbound trains on East West line will terminate at Joo Koon, to facilitate quicker resignalling works. Affected commuters who intend to travel beyond Joo Koon will have to alight the train to take a complementary bridging bus service that will take them to Gul Circle station, in order to continue their journey. Likewise, commuters travelling eastbound will have to alight at Gul Circle to take the bridging bus to Joo Koon.[20]

Additional platform at Tanah Merah station

On 25 August 2014, the Land Transport Authority announced that a new platform will be constructed and added to the existing Tanah Merah station, enabling faster travel and shorter waiting times for commuters heading towards Expo and Changi Airport on the Changi Airport branch line of the East West line.[21]

On 26 October 2016, the Land Transport Authority awarded the civil contract to Lum Chang Building Contractors Pte. Ltd. to build a new platform at Tanah Merah station and viaducts for a contract sum of S$325 million. In addition to the new platforms, the existing East West line tracks will be extended to connect the line to the new four-in-one East Coast Integrated Depot at Changi.[22] When completed in 2024, it will be the second station to have triple island platforms after Jurong East.

Half-height platform screen door installations

There were calls for platform screen doors to be installed at above-ground stations after several incidents in which passengers were killed or seriously injured by oncoming trains when they fell onto the railway tracks at above-ground stations. Underground stations already featured the doors since 1987. The authorities initially rejected the proposal by casting doubts over functionality and concerns about the high installation costs,[23] but made an about-turn when the government announced plans to install half-height platform screen doors on the elevated stations in January 2008, citing lower costs due to its becoming a more common feature worldwide.[24] They were first installed at Jurong East and Pasir Ris stations in 2009 as trial runs.[25] Installation of platform screen doors began at Clementi and Lakeside stations in April 2010. On 31 August 2011, the last station, Expo, began installation of half-height platform screen doors.[26][not in citation given]

Timeline of stations opened

Improvement works

Timber to concrete sleeper replacement works

The timber sleepers on the East West line were required to be replaced as they were near the end of their 15- to 25-year lifespan. The replacement sleepers, made of concrete, have a significantly longer lifespan.[27] In order to carry out works at night when trains are not operational, train services were ended earlier on the East West line. The work was divided into three phases: Phase 1 (Bugis - Tanah Merah), Phase 2 (Joo Koon - Jurong East, Tanah Merah - Pasir Ris) and Phase 3 (Jurong East - Outram Park). The sleepers were fully replaced on 18 February 2017.[28]

Re-signalling works

A new signalling system, supplied by Thales, will replace the current ageing signalling system on the East West line. The new signalling system, costing $195 million, will reduce waiting times for trains during peak periods from the current 120 seconds to 100 seconds.[29] The new system became operational between Pioneer and Tuas Link stations on 18 June 2017. Commuters may experience train delays for the East West line while resignalling works are ongoing.[30] New rolling stock, such as the C151B, will be equipped for use solely on the new signalling system.[31]

On 21 November 2017, the Land Transport Authority and SMRT said from 8 December 2017 to 31 December 2017, 17 East West line stations from Tiong Bahru to Tuas Link, and 2 North South line stations from Bukit Batok to Bukit Gombak, will close earlier on Fridays & Saturdays (at 11pm) and open later on Saturdays and Sundays (at 8am) to facilitate resignalling works and accelerate the timeline for the entire EWL to run on the new communications-based train control system. MRT stations will be fully closed on 10 December 2017 and 17 December 2017 to allow for extended engineering hours. As such, westbound train services will terminate at Outram Park.[32][33][34][35]

On 15 December 2017, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority said that from 5 January 2018 to 28 January 2018, 10 East West line stations from Pasir Ris to Paya Lebar, Expo and Changi Airport stations will close earlier on Fridays and Saturdays (at 11pm) and open later on Saturdays and Sundays (at 8am) as maintenance and renewal works on the rail line continue. MRT stations will be fully closed on 21 January 2018 and 28 January 2018 to allow for extended engineering hours. As such, eastbound train services will terminate at Aljunied. Four shuttle buses would be provided between Aljunied and Pasir Ris, Tanah Merah and Changi Airport, one way shuttle bus service from Aljunied to MacPherson, and an express service between Changi Airport and Bugis station.[36][37][38]

On 19 January 2018, SMRT said the arrangement is expected to continue until the first weekend of February from 2 to 4 February 2018. In addition, all 35 stations on the East West line will have shortened weekend operating hours from 2 March 2018 to 1 April 2018. These stations will close earlier on Fridays and Saturdays (at 11pm) and open later on Saturdays and Sundays (at 8am) as maintenance and renewal works on the rail line continue. MRT stations will have additional 2 days of shortened operating hours on 12 March 2018 and 14 March 2018, where they will close earlier at 10.30pm. [39][40] On 22 March 2018, SMRT said that the arrangement is expected to continue until 29 April 2018.[41][42][43][44]

Third-rail replacement

Replacement works on the third rail, which provides electricity to the trains, were carried out between September 2015 and August 2017.[45] The new third rail replaces its 30-year-old predecessor, and is expected to increase reliability of the East West line's electrical system.[46]


1993 Clementi train collision

Before the start of service, a maintenance vehicle spilt oil on the tracks between Clementi and Jurong East. The first ten eastbound trains reported braking problems. Then, at 7.50 am on 5 August 1993, the eleventh east-bound train from Jurong stopped at the Clementi station for two minutes longer than scheduled due to it using its emergency brakes to stop at the station, and was then hit by the twelfth east bound train when it failed to stop in time. 156 passengers were injured by the collision.[47]

7 July 2015 line disruption

During the evening peak hours on 7 July 2015, the NSEWL was completely shut down due to massive power trips detected. This was the worst breakdown in SMRT history and the first major breakdown for the East West line. Investigations were completed and the cause narrowed down to damaged insulators which failed to supply power properly.[48] For this disruption that brought inconvenience to 413,000 commuters, LTA imposed a 'record' fine of S$5.4 million on SMRT.[49]

22 March 2016 staff fatalities

At 11.08 am on 22 March 2016, two SMRT track-maintenance trainee staff were run over by a C151 train approaching Pasir Ris station.[50] The two employees joined SMRT in January 2016 and worked as technicians. They were part of a technical team of 15 staff led by a supervisor and were tasked to go down to the tracks to investigate an alarm triggered by a possible signalling equipment fault close by the station. The operator said the team had permission to access the tracks, but did not coordinate with a Signal Unit in the station to ensure trains could not travel in the area where the team was.[51] This incident resulted in a 2.5 hour service delay between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris stations, affecting at least 10,000 commuters.[52]

Patrick Nathan, SMRT Vice-president, promised that "SMRT will review all safety protocols particularly those involving track access".[53] SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek apologised for the incident and said SMRT will investigate how "the [two men] got hit by the train".

On 2 December 2016, SMRT was formally accused of failing to ensure that its employees complied with approved operating procedures when accessing the track, facing a fine of up to S$500,000. On 28 February 2017, SMRT pleaded guilty to its charges and was fined S$400000.[54] Teo Wee Kiat, SMRT's director of control operations, faces the same charge as SMRT. If convicted, Teo faces being fined up to $200,000 and/or jailed for up to two years. Lim Say Heng, meanwhile, was charged the day before, with failing to ensure trains could not enter the track before the men accessed it. For causing death by committing a negligent act, he faces fines or jail terms.

Investigations are still ongoing against the two men charged for the incident.[55]

15 November 2017 train collision and delays

On 15 November 2017 at approximately 8.18am, 2 C151A trains collided at Joo Koon MRT station. A train fault caused the first train heading in the direction of Tuas Link to stall at the station. A minute later, a second train stopped behind the first and then "moved forward unexpectedly", resulting in the collision. 36 passengers and 2 SMRT staff sustained light to moderate injuries, and have been conveyed to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and National University Hospital. This is the second of such incidents after 5 August 1993, with the first being when 2 C151 trains collided at Clementi.[56][57][58][59][60][61]

As a result, train services between Tuas Link and Joo Koon stations were temporally suspended on both directions for 2 hours on the day itself and for the entire day on 16 November 2017, resulting that the westbound trains would terminate at Joo Koon station.[62][63]

An update by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT on 16 November 2017 stated that LTA and SMRT have decided to isolate for up to one month the operations of the Tuas West extension, which runs on the new signalling system, from the rest of the East West line, which runs on the old signalling system. This will enable LTA engineers to carry out further assurance checks together with Thales.[64] Train service on the line resumed on 20 November, with the Tuas West extension between Gul Circle and Tuas Link using the new signalling system and the section between Pasir Ris and Joo Koon, together with the Changi Airport Branch continuing to run on the old signalling system. Train services between Joo Koon and Gul Circle have been suspended, and a free bridging bus service is available between the two stations. It is expected that continuous service between Joo Koon and Gul Circle will not resume until June 2018, once the entire line is equipped with the new signalling system.[65][66][67][68]


East West MRT Line
Pasir Ris
Left arrow Bukit Panjang
 EW2  DT32 
Changi Airport
  Sungei Bedok Right arrow
 CG1  DT35 
 EW4   CG  
Tanah Merah
 EW8  CC9 
Paya Lebar
Left arrow HarbourFront
  Dhoby Ghaut Right arrow
Left arrow Bukit Panjang
  Sungei Bedok Right arrow
 EW12  DT14 
Left arrow Jurong East
 EW13  NS25 
City Hall
 EW14  NS26 
Raffles Place
  Marina South Pier Right arrow
Tanjong Pagar
Left arrow Sungei Bedok
Left arrow Punggol
  HarbourFront Right arrow
 EW16  NE3  TE17 
Outram Park
Left arrow Woodlands North
Tiong Bahru
Left arrow Dhoby Ghaut
  HarbourFront Right arrow
 EW21  CC22 
Buona Vista
 EW24  NS1 
Jurong East
Left arrow Marina South Pier
Chinese Garden
Boon Lay
Joo Koon
Gul Circle
Tuas Crescent
Tuas West Road
Tuas Link
Station names of the East-West line
Station Number Station Name Image Interchange/Notes
 EW1  Pasir Ris PasirRisMRTStation.JPG Terminus for trains from either Joo Koon or Tuas Link (before collision). Terminus for train services from Joo Koon.

Platform A is for train to Joo Koon. Platform B is for train to Tuas Link (before collision). Currently, platform B is used alternately for trains to Joo Koon.

 EW2  DT32  Tampines Ew2tampines mrt stn.jpg Interchange with the Downtown line
 EW3  Simei Ew3 Simei.jpg  
 EW4   CG  Tanah Merah C151 tnm cgl.jpg Cross-Platform Interchange with train services to Expo or Changi Airport stations.

Terminus for train services from Changi Airport.

 EW5  Bedok Bedok MRT.JPG  
 EW6  Kembangan Ew8kembangan.jpg  
 EW7  Eunos
 EW8  CC9  Paya Lebar Paya Lebar MRT Station - panoramio (3).jpg Interchange with the Circle line
 EW9  Aljunied AljuinedMRT.JPG  
 EW10  Kallang KAL PLAT.JPG  
 EW11  Lavender Lavender MRT.JPG  
 EW12  DT14  Bugis Bugis MRT 3.JPG Interchange with the Downtown line
 EW13  NS25  City Hall City Hall MRT Station entrance 20161203.jpg Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
 EW14  NS26  Raffles Place Raffles Place MRT Interchange Station Entrance 3, Dec 05.JPG Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
 EW15  Tanjong Pagar TJP PLAT.JPG  
 EW16  NE3  TE17  Outram Park Outram Park Station East West Line Platform.jpg Interchange with the North East line and the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)
 EW17  Tiong Bahru Tiong Bahru MRT 2.JPG  
 EW18  Redhill RedHillMRTfromAbove.jpg  
 EW19  Queenstown Queenstown MRT station.JPG  
 EW20  Commonwealth Commonwealth-mrt.JPG  
 EW21  CC22  Buona Vista BuonavistaMRT.JPG Interchange with the Circle line
 EW22  Dover DoverMRTStation-20050808.jpg  Station added on operational line
 EW23  Clementi Clementi MRT Station.jpeg  
 EW24  NS1  Jurong East Ns1ew24jurongeast exterior.jpg Cross-Platform Interchange with the North South line
 EW25  Chinese Garden Chinesegarden-mrt.JPG  
 EW26  Lakeside Lakeside MRT Station with HHPSD.jpg  
 EW27  Boon Lay Ew27 Boon Lay.jpg
 EW28  Pioneer PNnite.JPG
 EW29  Joo Koon Joo Koon Platforms A and B.JPG Ex-terminus and terminus for half of the westbound trains from 18 June 2017 before the collisions. Temporary terminus for train services from Pasir Ris.
 EW30  Gul Circle Gul Circle station.jpg Temporary terminus for train services from Tuas Link.
 EW31  Tuas Crescent Tuas Crescent station.jpg
 EW32  Tuas West Road Tuas West Road station.jpg
 EW33  Tuas Link Tuas link platform overview open house.jpg Current terminus and terminus for half of the westbound trains before the collision. Terminus for train services from Gul Circle.
Changi Airport Branch Line (CG)
 CG1  DT35  Expo Expo MRT Station.JPG Interchange with the Downtown line
 CG2  Changi Airport CGA PLAT.JPG Terminus for train services from Tanah Merah.

With effect from 18 June 2017, westbound train service will alternate their western terminus between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations, where out of 2 trains, 1 train will terminate at the former and the other train at the latter. Any train withdrawal after morning and evening peak period will also terminate at Joo Koon.[69]

SMRT used to operate the branch sector of Tanah Merah to Changi Airport as a through service from Boon Lay from 18 November 2001 until 22 July 2003, when it was replaced with a shuttle service.

Rolling stock

The East West line consists of the following rolling stock: the C151, C151A, C651 and C751B. These trains operate from the three depots along the line, the Ulu Pandan Depot between Jurong East and Clementi, the Changi Depot near Tanah Merah and from 2017, the new Tuas Depot located near Tuas Link. C151B trains can only operate on the Tuas West extension as it is the only section that has an operational CBTC signalling system.

Train control

Half-Platform Screen Doors installed in Tanah Merah station

The East West line is currently equipped with Westinghouse fixed block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 2 (STO). The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Relay interlocking system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.

The stretch of track between Pioneer and Tuas Link stations was equipped with the new signalling system which came into use in June 2017. As the section of track between Pioneer and Joo Koon support 'mixed-mode' of both signalling systems, trains terminating at either Joo Koon or Tuas Link would have to change signalling modes at Pioneer MRT station as trains terminating at Joo Koon would proceed to a turn back siding which was built as part of the TWE which only supports the new signalling system. Eastbound trains towards Pasir Ris would have to change back to the old signalling system at Pioneer MRT station. This procedure was temporarily removed after the train collision at Joo Koon as trains terminated at Joo Koon.

In the future, the entire line will be upgraded to Thales SelTrac® Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system in stages. Testing was done for the late night hours since 11 June 2017. Weekend tests were being postponed until after 19 September 2017, the day when Hungry Ghost Festival (7th Month) is over.[70][not in citation given] with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 3 (DTO).[71] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, NetTrac MT Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.[72] The oldest signalling system will be retired by 2021.[citation needed]

Automatic full-height platform screen doors by Westinghouse were originally installed in all underground stations since opening, and half-height platform screen gates by ST Electronics were installed at a later date on elevated stations. Tuas West extension stations have had half-height platform screen doors by Fangda from their opening.[73]


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External links