The Light Rail Transit (LRT), also known as the Light Rapid Transit, is the light rail component of Singapore's rail network, consisting of localised rail systems acting as feeder services to the Mass Rapid Transit network. The first LRT line was opened in 1999 and the system has since expanded to three lines, each serving a public housing estate, namely Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol. Trains on these lines link to the MRT network at Choa Chu Kang, Sengkang and Punggol stations respectively while the Bukit Panjang LRT will link to a second MRT station, Bukit Panjang by 2016.
The system is closer to an automated people mover (APM) system such as those found in many airports around the world than a traditional light rail system. All the lines are fully automated and elevated, and run on viaducts in order to save scarce land space in Singapore.
The concept of having rail lines which could bring people from door to door without requiring the use of road-based buses was much favoured by the government transport planners, especially with the increased emphasis on a rail-based public transport network. For intra town travel, LRTs were favoured over buses because trains run on dedicated elevated guideways, bypassing any traffic congestion and traffic lights on the roads, and do not add to road traffic. Train arrival and departure times are also almost guaranteed this way. It is also cleaner as the trains are electrically powered, and therefore lessens the effects of air pollution.
Opening of linesEdit
The Bukit Panjang LRT opened on 6 November 1999, with all 14 stations opened at the same time.
The Sengkang LRT opened in two main stages, the East Loop opening first on 18 January 2003 and most of the West Loop on 29 January 2005. Farmway on the West Loop opened on 15 November 2007, but Cheng Lim and Kupang stations remain closed due to less development within the area. On 1 January 2013, Cheng Lim opened for passenger service.
For the Punggol LRT, the East Loop started operating on the same day as the Sengkang LRT's West Loop, with two stations closed. Oasis was opened for service on 15 June 2007, after more residents moved into Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats in the station's vicinity. Damai was opened on June 20, 2011. The West Loop remains closed and will only be opened for passenger service when the station surroundings are further developed.
On 1 January 2013, Sengkang West LRT operated in both directions throughout the day, instead of only during the morning and evening peak hours which is the case currently.
During the unveiling of Urban Redevelopment Authority Concept Plans in 2001, there have been a number of previously proposed LRT Systems. The government had also looked into the feasibility of using it to connect neighboring towns with one another such as one that would link and connect the towns of Bedok and Tampines. Others such as Yishun, Orchard Road, Bras Basah, Marina South, Lim Chu Kang and Buona Vista were also proposed. All of which would have been rejected for impracticalities.
Originally there are plans to have LRTs in Jurong Region, this had turned into Jurong Region Tram, which would have served and linked the planning areas in Jurong, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang and Tengah. However, the LTA announced in 2008 that there were no plans to develop the LRT line. It has been upgraded to the MRT line and is set to be ready by 2025.
On 31 October 2012, LTA announced that by 2016, Sengkang and Punggol LRT systems will be upgraded to a two-car system for 16 of the 41 existing train cars, allowing double the number of passengers to board at any one time. Each train car can take up to 105 passengers. Hence, there is also the need to modify the signalling and communication system.
|Line and livery||Opening year||Termini||Stations||Length (km)||Depot|
|SMRT Light Rail|
|Bukit Panjang LRT||1999||Choa Chu Kang||Ten Mile Junction||14||7.8||Ten Mile Junction Depot|
|Sengkang LRT||2003||Sengkang (East Loop)||6||10.7||Sengkang Depot|
|2005||Sengkang (West Loop)||9†|
|Punggol LRT||2005||Punggol (East Loop)||8||10.3|
|Not in operation||Punggol (West Loop)||8|
|† excluding Kupang, which is not operational.|
Since the LRT was built in the 1990s, plans for barrier-free facilities were included during the planning stages. All 43 stations are equipped with these facilities, thus there will be no difficulty for the handicapped. Barrier free facilities include lifts, ramps, tactile guidance system and toilets with handicapped friendly facilities; all stations include wide faregates. These barrier free facilities will be included in all future LRT stations.
Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT)Edit
The Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) is a 7.8 km light rail line opened in 1999 and part of Singapore's light rail system.
Sengkang LRT (SKLRT)Edit
The Sengkang LRT (SKLRT) is a 10.7 km light rail line which partly opened on 18 January 2003. It forms part of the LRT system together with the other two lines.
Punggol LRT (PGLRT)Edit
The Punggol LRT (PGLRT) is a light rail line in Singapore within the LRT system. Its first phase, which comprises a 10.3 km light rail line with 15 stations, began operating on 29 January 2005 (with the exception of Oasis, which was opened on 15 June 2007 and Damai, which was opened on 20 June 2011).
- Main article: List of Singapore LRT stations
The LRT network has 43 stations, but only 34 stations are in operation, as the stations' surroundings are not yet built up and will open at a later date. This includes, Cheng Lim and Kupang on the West loop of the Sengkang LRT Line and the entire West Loop of the Punggol LRT Line. On 1 January 2013, Cheng Lim opened for passenger service.
The LRT system consists of two depots, which run the maintenance, inspection, train overhaul facilities and house the cars overnight. The Ten Mile Junction Depot houses cars for Bukit Panjang LRT, and the Sengkang Depot houses cars for the Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT, together with the North East Line of the Mass Rapid Transit.
The trains on the LRT system are fitted with rubber tyres, rather than steel wheels, on specially-constructed guideways from which its power is also sourced. All cars are fully automated and driverless, and are controlled from their respective depots.
19 Bombardier CX-100s operate on the Bukit Panjang LRT. Capable of operating at a maximum speed of 55 km/h, its pioneers can be traced to as early as 1990, when Westinghouse and Adtranz (acquired by Bombardier) co-operatively built the skytrain system for the Singapore Changi Airport with the same design. However, the Bombardier stock was fraught with unreliability and technical glitches. The CX-100 cars can be coupled to operate in pairs during peak hours.
The Crystal Mover are the newer rolling stock of the Singapore LRT system, operating on the Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT. Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, it currently maintains a cleaner record of reliability. The Crystal Movers are used on Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain system.
Fares and ticketingEdit
The Light Rail Transit uses the same ticketing system as the Mass Rapid Transit. It uses the contactless EZ-Link smart card and a standard single trip ticket. EZ-Link adult fares range from S$0.68 to S$0.90 (excluding a transfer rebate of $0.50). Single trip ticket fares for adults on the LRT range from S$1.00 to S$1.20.