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Downtown Line services to start later on Sundays for tests from May to August

SINGAPORE — From May 14, train services on the entire Downtown Line (DTL) will start later on Sundays for three-and-a-half months, as testing begins in preparation for the year-end opening of Downtown Line 3.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — From May 14, train services on the entire Downtown Line (DTL) will start later on Sundays for three-and-a-half months, as testing begins in preparation for the year-end opening of Downtown Line 3.

To facilitate the testing of the entire DTL as an integrated network, the first train departing Bukit Panjang Station (towards Expo Station) and Chinatown Station (towards Bukit Panjang) will set off at 7.31am, instead of 5.50am and 6.28am respectively every Sunday. 

This will be done from May 14 to Aug 27, excluding June 25, which is the public holiday weekend of Hari Raya Puasa.

Shuttle buses will be provided between 5.50am and 7.30am, and they will run parallel to Downtown Line 1 and Downtown Line 2, stopping at each of the 18 stations of these two sections of the line. 

Train operator SBS Transit said that the average daily ridership for both sections last year was 220,376,  though it could not provide average ridership data for Sundays. 

On the upcoming later start-time for train services, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SBS Transit said that an extra two hours are needed for the test runs because a round-trip loop between Bukit Panjang and Expo stations would take about two-and-a-half hours. 

More time is also needed for preparatory works before the tests start, and to get the systems ready for the start of passenger service.

Mr Ngien Hoon Ping, chief executive officer of LTA, said: “We are making good progress on the DTL3 and are on track to open 16 new stations by the end of the year. Before this, we need to carry out comprehensive systems testing and run trains along the entire (line). 

“It is therefore necessary that we extend our limited engineering hours once a week to allow our engineers to test the system in an integrated manner.”

Mr Yee Boon Cheow, director of rail systems at LTA, said that the system performance of the whole line, and the train movements and intervals would be checked, among other things.

The testing process will start from 1am once train services on the DTL end at 12.45am on Sundays, and will continue all the way until 6am when the operator prepares to resume train services at 7.30am.

The test runs will start with 35 trains, and the number will be increased progressively.

Some of the testing activities will include removing the boundary safety barricades between Chinatown and Fort Canning stations to allow trains to travel the entire DTL, and post-test checks to ensure that systems are back to normal before passenger services resume.

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