Tanah Merah MRT Viaduct May Be Converted Into an Elevated Green Corridor
Currently, Tanah Merah MRT station has two platforms and three train tracks. The station’s name is derived from the local Malay language meaning “red earth”. The station is also the terminus of the Changi Airport branch line, which will eventually be converted into the Thomson-East Coast Line. During this phase, the Tanah Merah station will be refurbished to include a third platform. This will allow trains to travel from Tanah Merah to Pasir Ris and from Pasir Ris to Changi Airport.
The station is also undergoing enhancement works to accommodate the future transfer of trains to the Thomson-East Coast Line. These include a new platform for trains to Pasir Ris and an extra track. This will improve waiting times at the station. Also, the station’s code will be changed from “EW4” to “CG” in 2021. This will allow the station to be a terminus for the Thomson-East Coast Line and will be the first elevated MRT interchange in Singapore.
The idea of converting the viaduct into a green space isn’t a new one. Many other cities around the world have successfully converted decommissioned rail lines into green spaces. For instance, New York has the High Line, a 2.3km elevated public park that runs along a disused freight rail line. Other than reusing existing infrastructure, this project also has the potential to convert parts of the road below into car-free zones. The Land Transport Authority has been working with the National Parks Board to assess the feasibility of the plan.
In addition to repurposing the viaduct, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has also been calling for tenders for improvements to the Changi region. The agency has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence to build capabilities for train testing centres in Singapore and the United Kingdom. It’s hoped that this initiative will make Singapore one of the top train testing centres in the world. The plan also includes the construction of 3.5km of new cycling paths along Tanah Merah Coast Road.
According to the LTA, the simplest and most obvious is to convert the Tanah Merah MRT viaduct into an elevated green corridor. In fact, it’s the only way to do it. This is because the viaduct is too narrow to be utilized for other purposes. For example, a solar panel installation along the viaduct would need to be studied in order to determine whether or not it will adversely affect the nearby train operations. This is especially true if the new tracks are also used by regular EWL trains. However, it may be possible to build one or two storeys above the viaduct to create a space of its own.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also be constructing a new MRT track that runs parallel to the old one. This will allow trains to travel from Tanah Miah station to Simei MRT station without having to transfer tracks. The new track will be part of the Thomson-East Coast Line extension, which will link Sungei Bedok station with Changi Airport. It is expected that this extension will be completed by 2024.