Sembawang MRT Station
by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala
Sembawang Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station was constructed as a part of the Woodlands MRT Line during the 1990s.1 This station has the largest number of bicycle stands than any other MRT station on the Woodlands Line.2
In 1991, Sembawang MRT station was slated to be a provisional station, along with Kadut station.3 Just a year later, however, the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC) brought forward the opening of Sembawang MRT Station. The MRTC not only noted that Singapore’s population could increase faster than expected by 2000, but also that the government planned to attract more people to live and work in the northern part of the island. The Woodlands Line was then scheduled to have six stations instead of the originally planned four.4
The design of Sembawang MRT Station revived an old habit among the residents to ride their bicycles. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Sembawang Naval Base and other British bases were still in operation, uniformed personnel were ferried between Sembawang and Chye Kay Village on bicycles. Bicycles became less common after the withdrawal of the British from the late 1960s onwards. Fast forward to the 1990s, workers from the Sembawang shipyard requested the Land Transport Authority for more bicycle stands at the station to facilitate their travel between the station and their work. The station is now equipped with 350 bicycle stands, the most among all the stations on the Woodlands MRT Line.5 There are two bicycle parks and both are exceptionally well utilised with at least 100 bicycles parked there at one time, even at 3 or 4 am when the trains have stopped running.6
To increase the comfort of commuters, bus bays at the MRT stations on the Woodlands Line are located right at the entrance of the station. The bus bays are 36 m long, much longer than the 14-metre-wide bus bays in the older stations, allowing up to three buses at a time. All the bus bays are sheltered with four-metre-high roofs. Additional features of the train stations along the Woodlands Line include covered linkways, overhead bridges with escalators and conveniently located taxi stands.7 The MRT stations are also fitted with real-time electronic display boards with information on train schedules, service disruptions and diversions as well as mobilisation exercises.8 The 19 new trains added to this line are specially designed with improved automated public address systems, better propulsion systems and extended braking systems for smoother rides.9
The station building, along with others on the Woodlands Line, features colours that blend in with the surroundings. It also has a kampong-style roof.10 There are more shopping opportunities at the station – four shopping units spread over 1,489 sq m – to cater to the larger number of commuters using the station. The shops are located with greater visibility and easy accessibility in mind – on the concourse at one side of the station, unlike in older stations where one would have to walk past the many train commuters to reach the shops.11
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
1. Better layouts for six new MRT stations. (1992, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Step off the bus and into the MRT station. (1996, January 31). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Kwan, C. T. (1991, November 20). Station names for Woodlands line have ties to surroundings. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tan, C. (1992, November 19). Another station added to Woodlands MRT line. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Step off the bus and into the MRT station. (1996, January 31). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Yim, C. P. (2001). Sembawang town: Aesthetically yours. Singapore: Roseapple Books, p. 18. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 YIM-[HIS])
7. Step off the bus and into the MRT station. (1996, January 31). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Nadarajah, I., & Kee, J. (1996, January 21). Residents prepare for easier life with Woodlands MRT line. The Straits Times, p. 24; Woodlands line tells train times. (1996, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Clearer messages smoother rides on Woodlands trains. (1992, December 14). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Nadarajah, I., & Kee, J. (1996, January 21). Residents prepare for easier life with Woodlands MRT line. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Tan, C. (1992, December 10). More retail space for Woodlands MRT stops. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Woodlands commuters get real-time timetables. (1995, April 29). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Yeo, G. (1996, February 8). MRT shops: What works and why. The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.