Monday, May 24, 2010

Mapping out 'future' MRT lines

FIVE years after Calvin Teo created a map of Singapore's MRT network and put it online, the drawing - which includes possible future rail lines - is still creating a stir.

The map even shows a near-accurate depiction of Downtown Lines 1 and 2, which were not announced by the Ministry of Transport until two years after the map was drawn.

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport chairman Lim Wee Kiak said: 'The plan looks great. I do believe at the current rate we are investing in the rail system, we can achieve a network similar in density over the next 50 years.'

Mr Teo, 20, formerly a student at Raffles Institution and now an NSman, said he has always been interested in public transport.

He said information on future rail lines is 'out there', it just takes a bit of searching to find. His resources: Urban Redevelopment Authority masterplans, National Library archives, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) website and articles in The Straits Times.

He cautioned that not all the lines on the map will be as accurate as the Downtown Line, which is expected to be completed by 2015.

'The further into the future a line is, the less accurate,' he said.

He added that other enthusiasts have added to the map, putting in lines that go to Johor Baru and through Serangoon Gardens.

LTA chief executive Yam Ah Mee remembers Mr Teo well. He invited the young man over for tea when the map first surfaced in 2005.

'It's great that our young people are so keen about the land transport system - it belongs to them,' Mr Yam said.

The LTA however would not comment on lines shown on the map that have not been announced in detail officially. These include the Thomson Line, Downtown Line 3 and Eastern Region Line.

Mr Yam would say only that the rail network will continue to grow with the population.

The map has nevertheless become a favourite among property agents. It has been lifted from its Wikipedia page and posted on real estate sites such as

Land transport blogger Daniel Chin, 28, said similar maps have surfaced.

'There are unannounced new rail lines being studied and possibly implemented in the longer term, but whether or not they bear fruit depends on many factors,' he said.

Source: Straits Times, 24 May 2010

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