The Downtown Line (DTL), Singapore’s fifth MRT line, officially opened to the public on 22 December 2013, linking the eastern part of Singapore to the central and northwest regions.
The DTL MRT line provides a more direct route into the city and reduces travel time by up to 30% for residents living in Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah. On the other hand, residents living in the east can expect fewer bus rides and faster commutes with the existence of the Downtown Line.
To date, the MRT line consists of 34 DTL stations stretching from Bukit Panjang in the northwest to Expo in the east. In the coming years, however, there will be at least 4 more DTL MRT stops as several Downtown Line extensions are in the works.
Additionally, the Downtown Line will transition to a new financing framework in which the Government will bear a part of any losses incurred by operator SBS Transit and get a larger proportion of the earnings. With the exception of the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), which operates under a paradigm where the Government collects tickets and assumes the entire revenue risk, this will bring the DTL in line with the bulk of Singapore’s other rail lines.
Now, let’s dive into the article!
DTL MRT Timeline: 2013 to Date
First operational in 2013, the Downtown Line links many estates in the East and North to the Central Business District (CBD) and central region. Places such as Tampines and Beauty World have a direct train line to CBD-friendly MRT stations such as Downtown and Newton. Citizens also can enjoy improved access to hotspots such as Chinatown, Little India, Rochor, and Bugis.
The conceptualisation for the three stages of the Downtown Line was first announced in 2001, and construction took place in 2008. The final envisioned plan was for the Downtown Line to have 36 MRT stations across 44km. Currently, only 34 stations are operational.
With the exception of Gali Batu Depot, all the train stations run underground. When the Downtown Line (DTL) is completed, it will become the longest, driverless MRT line in Singapore.
List of DTL MRT Stations
The table below displays the MRT stations that currently operate along the Downtown Line, as well as the year they went into operation.
Downtown Line stage 1: 2013
Downtown Line stage 2: 2015
Downtown Line stage 3: 2017
DTL stage one began in 2013 and started with the launch of the main stations, well, downtown, like Bugis, Bayfront and Promenade. In stage two, the northwest stations Hillview, Stevens and Rochor were rolled out. Finally in stage three, the rest of the east and central stations MacPherson, Tampines West and Bendemeer were completed.
List of Downtown Line Extensions: 4 New DTL MRT Stations
As mentioned, there will be four new DTL MRT stations to look forward to. Here’s a summary of the Downtown Line extensions and when we can expect them:
Expected completion date
DT37 Sungei Bedok
Downtown Line Extension: DT36 Xilin & DT37 Sungei Bedok
Turns out that stage 3 of the DTL MRT construction was not exactly complete. An extension to Downtown Line stage 3, known as DTL3e, will extend the present eastern arm of the Downtown Line from its current terminus at Expo MRT station.
There will be two new MRT stations in this eastern Downtown Line extension: DT36 Xilin and DT37 Sungei Bedok.
These new DTL MRT stations will link the Downtown Line to the Thomson-East Coast Line and the future East Coast Integrated Depot, which will serve the East-West Line, Downtown Line, and the Thomson-East Coast Line.
There are no residential properties in the immediate vicinity of Xilin MRT, as it is an industrial estate. However, there are quite a few condos near Sungei Bedok MRT, including Fairmont Condominium, Eastwood Lodge, Eastwood Regency and Laguna 88. There are also many landed homes within the Eastwood Terrace estate across the road.
This stage of the Downtown Line extension is slated to be completed by 2024.
Downtown Line Extension: DT4 Hume DTL MRT Station (2025)
You may have noticed that there is no MRT station between DT3 Hillview and DT5 Beauty World. That’s because DT4, named Hume Station, is actually a shell station with only structural provisions.
The station had remained ‘dormant’ because “developments in the area and ridership growth did not yet warrant the station opening,” according to a Straits Times article.
Fortunately for the 20,000 residents in this area, Hume Station will be refitted and operational around 2025.
While not exactly a Downtown Line extension, the upcoming Hume MRT station is a noteworthy DTL MRT station as there are several prominent condominiums here, such as Hume Park I and Hume Park II, Parc Palais, The Hillside, and Hillview 128.
Nevertheless, prior to its anticipated opening in 2025, construction has already started.
Downtown Line Extension: Sungei Kadut DTL MRT Station (Mid-2030s)
Currently, the DTL terminates at Bukit Panjang as its northwesternmost point. But this will change soon as there are plans to extend the Downtown Line to include Sungei Kadut, expected to be ready by the mid-2030s.
Although we do not know what station number Sungei Kadut will be – since Bukit Panjang is DT 1 – there is much reason to cheer for the upcoming Downtown Line extension to Sungei Kadut.
The upcoming Sungei Kadut DTL MRT station will be built between Kranji and Yew Tee MRT stations on the North-South Line (NSL), and thus connect the DTL to the NSL.
This means residents and workers in northeast Singapore can transfer more easily to the Downtown Line, which will take them to the city centre more quickly. Commuters can potentially save up to 30 minutes in travel time.
A new MRT station isn’t all that’s in store for the industrial area of Sungei Kadut. The area is slated for a revamp in the next few decades and will be modernised as an environmental and agri-tech hub in the north.
DTL: Improving Accessibility for Singapore Residents
The Downtown Line has granted quick access to the CBD area, which has helped to reduce the burden on the existing North-South and East-West lines (EWL). This means that MRT stations will not be as crowded during peak hours.
It is also easier for tourists and locals to access popular locations such as Little India, Chinatown, and Bugis. Prior to the existence of the Downtown Line, those who wanted to access these places had to stop elsewhere and take a bus.
With stage three of the MRT line, those living in the East also have alternate train routes apart from the East-West line.
Want to Live Along the DTL in Singapore?
A study carried out along properties on the Circle Line found that properties located close to an MRT station see an uptick of up to 1.6% in value. This might be even more true for those located next to MRT stations along the Downtown Line since it links to the CBD area.
There are a whopping 34 operational stations on the DTL, so it’s impossible to list all the properties within walking distance to a DTL MRT station. Thankfully, you can narrow down your search with PropertyGuru’s MRT filter.
For extreme convenience, you may be looking to live right downtown, in the heart of the CBD. There are many new condos around the Newton MRT station to consider, like Kopar at Newton, Pullman Residences, The Hyde, and 10 Evelyn. An upcoming condo to look out for is Marina View Residences which will be located next to the Downtown MRT station.
Another central location along the Downtown Line is Rochor MRT station, located close to the bustling Bugis and Jalan Besar districts and a stone’s throw from Plaza Singapura. If you like the idea of living near the city, consider nearby properties like Haus on Handy, The M, and Midtown Modern.
If you find this area too expensive yet want a direct line to the CBD, you can consider looking around the ‘ends’ of the line, either in the northwest or eastern regions.
In Bukit Panjang and Upper Bukit Timah, there are many upcoming condos like Dairy Farm Residences, Phoenix Residences, and Midwood. And on the eastern arm of Downtown Line, popular condos include Treasure at Tampines, The Navian, and Urban Treasures.
Have a specific DTL MRT station you want to live near to? Search for properties nearby on PropertyGuru.
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