Mind Bomb 32: The length of the completed Singapore MRT System

Mind Bomb 32: The length of the completed Singapore MRT System

I am a fan of our Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Sure, it had suffered delays after delays as of recent and had became one of the most overused excuses for late students and workers alike.

One thing is that I suffer from motion sickness, so I'm biased towards trains over other form of transport like buses and taxis. So when they announced the new Thomson-East Coast Line, it kind of got me thinking, how does Singapore MRT system compare to everything else?

So, if you have nothing much to do when you clicked this post (like when I was when researching about it), time to scroll down and have a knowledgeable good time - procrastination is a good thing if you learn something from it =P

Alright, so first I had to determine the current length of the MRT tracks. Using the distance fare calculator, the current length is at 152.3 km. This includes the North South line (Red), East West line (Green), North East line (Purple), Circle line (Orange) and the partially-opened Downtown line (Blue). The LRT lines are not included.

But this length is short compared to what the Singapore government has planned. By 2030, Singapore's MRT system will be about 360 km - That's more than twice the current distance.

To put that in perspective. Here are some fun facts when we put the Singapore MRT system on scale to everything else like.

Wrapping the MRT around Singapore

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

If the MRT tracks wrapped around Singapore's coast line, which is 193 km, it will go around nearly two times (1.865x to be exact).

Going outwards of Singapore

I used freemaptools.com to find the radius.

If the MRT tracks was stretched outwards of Singapore, you can reach about half of Malaysia (just slightly beyond Selangor) and a few places in Indonesia such as Sumatra, Jambi and Dumai.

While there are a lot of islands within the 360 km reach, the most curious one is a lonely island known as Pulau Kepahiang. Just at the tip of the 360 km circumference, south-east of Singapore, it is the largest of the Badas Islands and is part of Indonesia.

World's 4th longest underground tunnel (if combined)

Photo Credit: The Straits Times

Photo Credit: The Straits Times

By 2030, 157.4 km of Singapore's MRT line will be underground. Compared to natural caves, this would put Singapore's combined underground MRT tunnels at 4th, beaten by the Jewel Cave (271 km), the Sistema Sac Actun (333 km) and the Mammoth Cave System (643 km).

  • Disclamier: This is without the inclusion of the Jurong Region Line and future lines because I cannot confirm how much of it will be underground.

The longest underground railway tunnel will be the Gotthard Base Tunnel and is expected to open in 2017 in the heart of the Swiss Alps. At 57 km long, it is around 15km longer than the Downtown line, which upon its completion on 2017 coincidentaily, will be 42 km long.

There is a great article about Singapore's MRT and its rocky road from conceptualisation to its development. It also touched on some of the urban legends about the underground developments.. 

Challenger deep isn't a challenge if our MRT goes downwards

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Flip our MRT line downwards, and we can head down and get up Challenger Deep - the deepest point known to man - 33 times.




We can take the MRT to the International Space Station!

Photo Credit: NOAA

If we flip the MRT line straight up, we will be in the thermosphere. Known as the upper atmosphere, we are above the aurora lights and even the satellites orbiting Earth.

The International Space Station (ISS) is just below us at 330km above sea level. But this will change from time to time, as the ISS hovers from 330km to 425km by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecraft.