It takes 51 seconds for commuters to ride the escalators from the concourse level to the platform at the new Tuas Crescent MRT station.
With a vertical rise of 17.5m, it will be one of the longest escalators in the rail network, second only to the 17.56m escalators at Promenade MRT station on the Downtown Line.
Tall escalators are among the unique features of three of the four stations on the upcoming 7.5km Tuas West Extension, which opens on June 18, and will extend the East-West Line further west.
At Tuas Link station, the last stop on the line, the escalators have a rise of close to 15m, while at Tuas West Road station, the rise is about 15.9m.
Most escalators at MRT stationshave a rise of 6m or less.
Mr Koh Kia Jun, the Land Transport Authority’s deputy project manager for rail services, said the long vertical rise is due to high platform levels, and it also improves access. The escalators at Tuas Crescent, for example, “provide direct access from the concourse to the platform, (and commuters) do not need to change to another set of escalators”.
The Tuas West Extension soars above the industrial heartland of Tuas, with the rail viaduct peaking at 23m – making it Singapore’s tallest viaduct – after it crosses the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) and as it enters the Gul Circle station, the first stop of the extension.
The station’s ceiling is about 10 storeys high at 33m, making it the tallest MRT station. The viaducts are higher than normal to clear the AYE, and a 2.4km section will integrate with a 4.8km road viaduct.
Ubi station on the Downtown Line 3, which will open later this year, will have escalators that rise 18.15m.
When the third stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line is completed in around 2021, escalators at the underground Shenton Way station will have a vertical rise of 22.95m.
Mr Koh said this trend is due to the limited space available for station infrastructure, adding that escalators at MRT stations are built according to the strictest safety standards due to their heavy usage.
He added that devices are installed to detect abnormalities and wear-and-tear. These include a step sag detection device that monitors when the escalator track’s rollers are worn out, which results in the steps sagging.
Mr Quah Eng Hing, secretary of the Singapore Lift and Escalator Contractors and Manufacturers Association, said that designs for higher-rise escalators are more robust, and they are equipped with additional barriers.
Still, he urged users to exercise care. “Falling down the steps on higher-rise escalators can be more serious… Hence, it is prudent for users to stand firmly, (and) avoid running up or down the steps. Hold firmly onto the handrails. Do not use mobile phones,” he said.
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