Circle Line Opens Tomorrow

The highly anticipated Circle Line (CCL) Stage 3 will officially open to the public tomorrow morning, Thursday, 28 May 2009. This is the latest addition to the rail network in Singapore. The Circle Line is a fully automated underground train system passing through estates such as Bishan, Serangoon, Paya Lebar and Holland Village. When fully opened, it will be the world’s longest fully automated line at 33.3 kilometres. The Bartley-Marymount section of the Circle Line has a length of 5.7 kilometres, and it takes only eight minutes to travel from end to end. This section of the Circle Line allows passengers to transfer to the North South Line at Bishan Interchange, and to the North East Line at Serangoon Interchange.

The Circle Line is a medium capacity line with only three cars instead of the usual six. Perhaps, another likely reason could be the lack of space to built MRT stations which can accommodate six-car trains, especially since the route runs through high density areas in the heartlands and in the city. In fact, one of the stations, CC4 Promenade, will be Singapore’s first station with stacked side platforms, i.e. platforms are one on top of the other, where trains run directly above the other in opposite directions. Since the southern terminus of the future Bukit Timah Line will perhaps be shifted to this station after the collapse of Nicoll Highway, there is a need to conserve the limited space. The stacked platform is something which I am looking forward to!

If you would like to be the first in everything, the first train leaves Marymount MRT station at 5.37 am. Limited to the first 931 passengers only! However, I don’t think that there will be so many people anyway. During peak hours, the train will arrive every three minutes or so. During off-peak periods, the frequency is 6 to 8 minutes. The first train from other stations are as follows: 

Mondays to Saturdays

  Bartley Serangoon Lorong Chuan Bishan Marymount
Towards Marymount 0553 / 0004 0556 / 0017 0558 / 0019 0600 / 0021  
Towards Bartley   0544 / 0029 0542 / 0027 0540 / 0025 0537 / 0022


Sundays and Public Holidays

  Bartley Serangoon Lorong Chuan Bishan Marymount
Towards Marymount 0613 / 0004 0616 / 0017 0618 / 0019 0620 / 0021  
Towards Bartley   0611 / 0029 0609 / 0027 0607 / 0025 0604 / 0022


To celebrate the opening of the Circle Line, SMRT will be having ten-hour parties on 30 May and 31 May at Bishan Interchange. This is one of the interchanges between the Circle Line and the North South Line, both operated by SMRT, with the other being Dhoby Ghaut Interchange. That is probably one reason why the party is not to be held at Serangoon Interchange. Well, it is more likely that Bishan is more vibrant at the moment with Junction 8 Shopping Centre, while Nex is still under construction at Serangoon.

SingPost will be releasing its fifth issue of the year on the Circle Line. The stamps are designed by SMRT, presenting a ‘miniature exhibition’ of the Circle Line system. From the press release by SMRT earlier today, “SMRT Circle Line First Day Cover is also exclusively available for sale at Bishan Circle Line Interchange Station after 28 May, together with stamps and presentation packs.” Wait, why are the first day covers still available after 28 May? Shouldn’t it be sold only on the day itself? Scrolling down, it reads “Availability: SMRT Bishan Circle Line Interchange Station from 28 to 31 May and at all post offices and the Singapore Philatelic Bureau from 28 May”. Well, first day covers are not first day covers any more.

Last weekend, I was among the thousands of people eager to go into the Circle Line stations. Well, it was not the first time the interior leaked to the public. On 4 April, three stations: Bishan, Lorong Chuan and Bartley were opened to the public during the Singapore Civil Defence Force Shelther Open House.