Saturday, 7 December 2013

Downtown Line 1 - A step closer

Downtown Line 1 (DTL1) had its Open House event today to introduce the new line to the public. At its first debut, the line was thrown open to commuters for 8 hours with free rides and festivities going on at the 6 stations that form stage 1 of the eventual 42km long line. Stretching from Bugis interchange on the East-West Line (EWL) to Chinatown on the North-East Line (NEL), the 4.3km section takes 8.5 minutes to travel end-to-end.

Poster for DTL1 Open House

With the line being open for several hours, this gives operator SBS Transit an opportunity to simulate "normal" operating conditions once the line becomes officially operational come 22 December. Trains were operating at about 5-minute intervals with 4 train sets in use (Sets 003, 008, 009 and 010).

Set number 008

Set number 003

All stations were accessible during the open house with the exception of Bayfront station due to difficulties in allowing access through the already operational Circle Line (CCL) station. Over the next two weeks, operator SBS Transit will review the line's performance during the Open House and take into account any final adjustments needed before officially throwing the line open for use. Additionally, commuters will enjoy 11 days of free travel along the DTL1 once it opens (do note, you must tap in & out from any DTL1 station to enjoy this promotion).

Bayfront station was the only station not accessible during the Open House

During the Open House, trains ran smoothly between stations in cool air-conditioned comfort. It so happened that at one point, the Guest-of-Honour Ms. Josephine Teo boarded one of the trains along with the media covering the event. The train seemed to get a little warmer when there was a tremendous load of people on board. Ride comfort however, did not suffer adversely even with the added load.

As pointed out previously, since most of the stations along DTL1 are of the side-platform layout, where the running tracks are bounded by platforms on either side, operator SBS Transit has introduced announcements indicating the arrival of trains on the respective platforms for commuters' ease of navigation.

A view of Downtown station showing a side platform configuration as viewed from the concourse level

Views like this will become rare on future lines

Do stay tuned as more photos get uploaded over the next few days, where the focus shifts to the architectural finishings of the stations. For now, we're just glad that they are indeed cross-displaying train arrival information regardless of operators.

SMRT information being displayed at the SMRT Bugis station

SBST information being displayed at the SMRT Bugis station

Additionally, the presence of a spare train at Bugis shows the length of the overrun tunnels which stretch all the way to the Queen Street shaft, now handed over to Contract 921's builder, Ssangyong E&C.

Spare train in the Bugis overrun tunnel

Till the next update, we hope you've enjoyed the DTL1 Open House and exploring the stations. Can't wait for Downtown Line 2 to open as the next stage of the line.

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