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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(copypasta from my thread at SGForums.com)

I'm not sure if this has ever been discussed before, but here goes...

Sometime ago I kept having persistent dreams of strange, unknown MRT tunnels running around in Singapore. A few days ago, while thinking about it, I realised that there indeed are what I could call "phantom" MRT stations around Singapore - and I don't mean Woodleigh either.

Most of you already know about the empty boxes lying at Punggol and Changi Airport MRT stations, intended for the future North Shore (or North Coast) Line. I have also started to hear rumours about already-existing provisions for the Thomson Line to hook up with Orchard, with ION floor plans revealing hints of a MRT station (that is not Orchard Station) nearby. I have seen it myself and I was quite surprised to see what clearly appears to be a floor plan of an MRT station in the basements of ION Orchard, hidden away from the main shopping area - complete with what appears to be an island platform. I sometimes wonder about it when I'm at ION Orchard, just thinking about what's hidden behind all those walls.

After seeing this and thinking about it, I suddenly realised - our government, being the far-ahead thinkers they are, could had built such phantom stations and even tunnels elsewhere, to sit empty and dark for years or even decades until the lines that use them are announced and built.

Apart from the known boxes at Punggol and Changi Airport, and the suspected one at ION Orchard, I wonder if there are other such "phantom" MRT stations or even whole tunnel segments already built somewhere around the island, sitting unused and unknown to most of the public right now, waiting one day in the future to become eventually used...

With earlier URA concept plans showing a huge mass of MRT lines all over the island, I won't be surprised if the authorities, following the concept plans, built provisions for some of them a long while ago. I could, for example, easily imagine a phantom station sitting right below the North-South MRT Line between Yew Tee and Kranji, where the future Sugnei Kadut station will supposedly go - remember, what we now know as the Downtown Line stage 2 is shown in earlier URA concept plans to have it's north-western terminus exactly at where this unbuilt station could go.

Other places that could potentially be home to such "phantom" stations and tunnels include the missing NE2 station - they could have had put in a few columns and pillars there, in addition to strengthening the tunnel walls, when they built that stretch with the idea of a future station being built there later in mind - and possibly, around and above the Esplanade MRT station, as well as the large four-way underpass near Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay that links to it as well as CityLink Mall nearby. Esplanade station itself has an unused elevator shaft, the concourse area is strangely divided into two, and that four-way underpass fishily looks like an MRT station without the MRT to me when I first saw it. Also, remember the blueprints for Esplanade MRT station showing an "Arts Centre Line" crossing it? Who knows, LTA may had already built a bit of it when they built the Circle Line...

I know this all sounds like I'm going crazy, but the evidence for the existence of some of these "phantom" stations and tunnels are already there. Any thoughts?
 

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i think i can shed a little light on some of this:

for the hidden box at ION, please note that it will be part of orchard, unless it is way too far, likely they make it to like cityhall/ espalande via citylink, to what i forsee, it is likely to be for the next upcoming thomson line TSL

the same applies to the unbuilt NE2, how they are going to do it well only i guess top LTA officials would know.

for Changi airport, likely to be for the extension to future terminals.

for the Esplanade the strange area somehow still remains a mystery, the unused elevator shaft however is optional to SMRT on deciding where a 3rd lift should be added.
 

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I wonder if there are provisions built at Caldecott (correct sp?) station, since the TSL gonna intersect the CCL there. Also sometimes I wonder if it will become a cross-transfer station if there's a box built below the CCL platform.

Botanic Gardens as well. If there's an extra station box below the current one, the DTL can just use it and continue towards Bt Panjang, since the station is oriented in a west south west direction, and the DTL can bend towards TKK station without too much of turning radius.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now this is interesting...

Someone mentioned this on SGForums

Ang Mo Kio Station , after you tap your card in and at the very back of the station there is a white colour wall with a door and a lock on it. I managed to peep through it and there's a escalator going downwards. I think thats the Future Tampines line Ang Mo kio station.
As we have already seen in the Thomson Line plans, TS7 will be a cross-platform interchange with a future line, and there is already speculation that this line will also interchange with Ang Mo Kio. It's quite surprising that provisions for this future line is not only being planned now with the future Thomson Line, but already built way back in the 1980's with the original MRT system. I'm beginning to wonder if such provisions and phantom stations are more common than we think - anyone has the different iterations of the URA concept plans? Those might provide clues as to where they might be.

i think i can shed a little light on some of this:
...
for Changi airport, likely to be for the extension to future terminals.

for the Esplanade the strange area somehow still remains a mystery, the unused elevator shaft however is optional to SMRT on deciding where a 3rd lift should be added.
For Changi Airport, that should be in the form of overrun tunnels, but an entire station box seems unlikely and implausible unless LTA is planning extra platforms for the station to accommodate new train services to the proposed Terminal 4 once it is built.

For Esplanade, explain that four-way underpass. Maybe it's just coincidence, but that thing just looks too much like an MRT station concourse to me...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What four-way underpass? Map?

I am going on a MRT ride for 3 hours later, I will try to check out Somerset, maybe Ion Orchard too.
It's the underpass between CityLink Mall, Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay, and is underneath the junction of Stamford Road, Nicoll Highway, Esplanade Drive, and Raffles Avenue. The one where lots of skaters and stunt cyclists like to gather in to practice their stunts.
 

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Where are the floor plans for ION showing the station?

It feels like there's a station hidden somewhere there but I can't ascertain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Where are the floor plans for ION showing the station?

It feels like there's a station hidden somewhere there but I can't ascertain.
It's somewhere near where Muji is located. Behind it, in fact, if I'm not wrong.

Check the interactive maps, B3 level.
 

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I do not know how true this it, but I was told about this some years back.
When the underpass linking Tg Pagar station to Amoy St was built, there seems to be some form of tunnels already provided for during the construction, under the current Wallich St. (This road will make way for the new white site development and a new Wallich St will be constructed later which will link to Peck Seah St).

Anyway, that is why I always 'know' that Tg Pagar will not be a simple MRT station. Its fate is to be an MRT interchange eventually.
 

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No doubt there are provisions made for future extensions. This doesn't come much to a surprise for me as recently I read up a book by one of my favourite railway analyst, Kawashima Ryouzou from Japan.


For people whom are familiar with the Shinkansen system in Japan, why does the Jōetsu Shinkansen start from Omiya (its start point to operations and passengers is Tokyo, by structure wise it shares with Tohoku Shinkansen to Omiya)? In fact it was planned to start from Shinjuku, but with issues largely related to the population (noise etc) the plan was set aside, making the line 'incomplete' till now. However, Shinjuku station has plans marked out where the tunnels and station box will be built for the Shinkansen, including spaces made out for them, all the way to Omiya.


Why does the Toei Oeido Line form a circle but with a seemingly spur line extending north-west? It was actually designed to run as a shape of '8', with two circles just like Yamanote Line but on a bigger scale. Due to construction costs and various issues this was put aside, but just like the Shinkansen case, provision is made for the extension, including tunnel and track structures.

Lesson that I learnt from these and many other examples is, plans are made way ahead for new system lines, even before we thought of it. It may just be a little diversion in track, a little up or down in gradient, a little door or space, but these things are common as planning authorities have them in mind, perhaps as much as 30 years ahead.

So these mysterious structures, after some thought, may not be as mysterious afterall.
 

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Hmmm, eX.A.K.R., could I just check with you your definition of phantom station? Sorry to be so technical here. Do you consider the platforms at Promenade phantom platforms too? :)

I'm surprised to learn about Changi Airport. Would you be able to shed more light on it for me as its the first time I'm hearing about this. Thanks in advance!

Otherwise, here's what I know:
1) Chinatown NEL station was built with provisions for DTE/DTL station. Configuration is such: NEL platforms are the lowest level at B3, NEL concourse & DTL platforms are on the same level at B2, NEL mezzanine (for People's Park & Chinatown Point exits) & DTL concourse same level at B1. At the northern most part of the station at NEL platform level, you can see a roller shuttered area. This roller shutter is cage-like with holes you can clearly see through. With a little help from the Connections board, my guess is that the staircase you see will lead you to the Bukit Panjang bound platform. There seems to be an extra hole covered up next to the staircase which I believe is for a future escalator to be installed. To the right is a linkway that I believe will lead to a lift up to the platform.

2) Promenade has cross-platform provisions for a future line. What line, no idea.

3) Punggol has box tunnel provisions under the NEL platforms.

4) MacPherson has a similar box to Punggol I believe. Its situated below the CCL platforms and will be expanded for the DTL (ie. not the whole station box is built yet).

5) Esplanade has that concourse thing, just not sure whether it is for a future line as indicated in the location plans.

Others I'm pretty sure about (I think these do not qualify as "Phantom" stations as no structure exists):
1) Botanic Gardens - a new station is being built for DTL. Here, linkway provisions were made at the CCL station to connect with the then future BTL station, now which is a DTL station.

2) Stevens - Has provision of knock-out panels for linkage to future underground infrastructure, which we believe would be the TSL station.

Questionable:
1) Holland Village for future linkage to a future Holland Line.

2) HarbourFront - I'm pretty sure CCL was not built as part of the station but a shell structure was built after NEL was constructed? Its kind of evident with the alterations that CCL was not factored in at the time of the original construction of NEL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hmmm, eX.A.K.R., could I just check with you your definition of phantom station? Sorry to be so technical here. Do you consider the platforms at Promenade phantom platforms too? :)
Those probably could be the only ones the public has knowledge about, and is visible to most people. What I'm talking about here are less-known ones, especially those hidden from view.

No doubt there are provisions made for future extensions. This doesn't come much to a surprise for me as recently I read up a book by one of my favourite railway analyst, Kawashima Ryouzou from Japan.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Diagrama_da_linha_Joetsu-Shinkansen.png
For people whom are familiar with the Shinkansen system in Japan, why does the Jōetsu Shinkansen start from Omiya (its start point to operations and passengers is Tokyo, by structure wise it shares with Tohoku Shinkansen to Omiya)? In fact it was planned to start from Shinjuku, but with issues largely related to the population (noise etc) the plan was set aside, making the line 'incomplete' till now. However, Shinjuku station has plans marked out where the tunnels and station box will be built for the Shinkansen, including spaces made out for them, all the way to Omiya.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...rnment_Bureau_of_Transportation_Oedo_Line.PNG
Why does the Toei Oeido Line form a circle but with a seemingly spur line extending north-west? It was actually designed to run as a shape of '8', with two circles just like Yamanote Line but on a bigger scale. Due to construction costs and various issues this was put aside, but just like the Shinkansen case, provision is made for the extension, including tunnel and track structures.
The big surprise comes in the fact that some provisions here are made with such great foresight. Take the case of Ang Mo Kio. While still not confirmed (Seloloving, was the whole area cordoned off or what?), the fact that provisions have been made for a line not in the original plans speak a great deal about how far off our urban planners look to, and hint at how MRT lines are planned. Back when the original MRT system was being built, the only two other lines on the drawing board that I know of were the North-East Line and the Circle Line. When Punggol, Chinatown, Changi Airport, MacPherson, Esplanade etc. were built, the lines they have provisioned for were already on the drawing board - Eastern Region Line (now Downtown Line stage 3), North Shore Line, Marina Line (now Circle Line stage 1 and Downtown Line stage 1) etc. were all already on the drawing board by the mid-1990's to 2000's. But for Ang Mo Kio, the provisions were made for a line that has not even been given an official name or been explicitly mentioned anywhere other than possibly in the Thomson Line tender documents (and was apparently put on the drawing board only in the late 1990's or early 2000's), yet they were supposedly already there in the 1980's. Even if the provision was for the other line that is planned to interchange with Ang Mo Kio (the 1996 LTA white paper mentioned a proposed line from Ang Mo Kio to Kallang via the North-East Line), that was not thought of, or at least not talked about until 1996 - more than a decade after construction of the original MRT system began.

Of course, they might not had these lines in mind and intended it for something else that in the future might need the escalators, or they might had decided to put something in there so that when they plan new lines in that area in the future, Ang Mo Kio could become the first station of choice to hook the new line up with - in this case we have to know whether the chicken or egg came first.

Still, it's quite surprising to find out how they plan so far ahead - especially given how I once came across an anecdote that mentioned the original MRT system not being built or planned with future expansions in mind (it was in that LTA book about the history of land transport in Singapore, I believe).
 

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Just wondering, with all these provisions built to prepare for future MRT lines, what if such provisions will not be needed anymore forever? For example, the station box for Punggol will not be needed anymore forever.

I know it's a very unlikely case but I'm just wondering.
 

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^^ the provisions are not fully built up or prove to be extremely intrusive, most likely they are just enough to avoid having to divert traffic and tear open roads again. I think they will still require extensive alterations to be usable (HBF). thus, even if they are unused they are unlikely to disturb things. alternatively they could always be converted for some other possible uses. additional storage area, admin office space or even shopping spaces maybe? (SMRT will love the latter suggestion)

this is very likely to happen with north coast line and TSL's "T7" line provisions. so much may change between the time the provision was made till actual announcement (which is in the next decade, and we just started this one!)
 

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^^ I think it would simply remain as that, a provision. Usually the station boxes aren't built in entirety. For Punggol, I'm assuming that its been built at a fraction of what is intended. After all, do you know how long the trains on the future line there will be? 3-car, 4-car or 6-car or even a configuration we've not seen yet? So the provisions are there to minimise disruption to commuters when the additional line/infrastructure is being built.

And usually I would assume that they would be sealed off. For instance, MacPherson doesn't seem to have any visible area to get to the DTL provision box. But from the renders we know where it will be located. As for AMK, I'm not sure if the mentioned escalator is for a future line really. Even for DTL at Chinatown, they didn't install the transfer escalators yet... So why would they install an escalator at AMK for a line not confirmed yet.
 

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Urban planning is always extremely far-sighted. I once did a plan that has a development timeline of 50 years. Although over time the plans will eventually be superseeded by another one, or with revisions made. In fact some cities do make all these provisions publicly known, and there are also cases where in the end these provisions were never used, leading to complaints by people on the wastage of resources. That is probably why LTA tries to withhold information on these provisions to avoid them becoming politicised.
 
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