Project Case Study

Thomson-East Coast Line, Singapore


Land Transport Authority, Singapore


Opened in stages from 2020


Metro & Depot


Customer challenge

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore wanted to improve the connectivity between northern, central and eastern parts of the island. To achieve this, in 2014 it announced plans to extend the country’s MRT system with a new line – the Thomson-East Coast Line. When complete, the high-capacity, fully underground line would span 43km and add 32 new stations to the existing rail network, providing alternative travel routes for the millions of Singaporean commuters who use public transport daily.

Taiwanese construction company CTCI was appointed to build the track inside the underground tunnels for phase 1 of the project and, thanks to Pandrol’s 30-year track record of supplying products for Singapore’s metro system, we were invited to bid for the design and supply of the rail fastening system. The LTA issued a detailed specification and our team created a design, submitted a bid and was awarded the contract for the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line.

Pandrol solution

The fastening system chosen for the Thomson-East Coast Line was DRS Baseplate – a double-resilience e-clip fastening assembly that is ideal for use on non-ballasted tracks when ground-borne noise and vibration reduction is required. Originally introduced in the 1980s and known as VIPA DRS, today’s evolution of the baseplate is the trusted solution for metro, light rail and mainline non-ballasted tracks worldwide.

DRS Baseplate’s long history of reliability and durability made it the perfect choice for the Thomson-East Coast Line, which will be extremely intensively used once fully open. With trains running every two minutes during peak periods and the line operating 18 hours a day, large numbers of commuters will be affected if a fastening solution proves unreliable.

We modified the DRS Baseplate design to meet the LTA’s specific requirements for the Thomson-East Coast Line. The toe load was adjusted and we enhanced the resilience of the system, creating a low stiffness fastening to ensure effective noise and vibration mitigation as the line runs under densely populated urban areas.

The manufacture and testing of components drew on global expertise. The clips were made in the UK, while other components were manufactured in India and China. Every element of the fastening assembly underwent rigorous, complex testing at independent laboratories in Hungary and Spain.

Between early 2016 and 2018, Pandrol supplied a total of 185,830 fastening assemblies to temporary storage areas along the route of the Thomson-East Coast Line. The contractor’s team then assembled the track and fastenings in short panels, before lowering them into the tunnel and forming the final slab track. DRS Baseplate is quick and simple to install, which helped to ensure the efficiency of on-site assembly.

Following the successful design and supply of DRS Baseplate for the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line, Pandrol went on to win the contract to supply a further 66,000 fastening assemblies for the second phase with a new contractor, CRFG. To ensure seamless service across the full length of the line, we supplied identical DRS Baseplate components, successfully negotiating the supply challenges of the pandemic to deliver the fastening assemblies to a constantly shifting schedule.

Alongside the delivery of the fastening system, Pandrol also provided the third rail solution for the Thomson-East Coast Line. Through our joint venture with Constellium Group, Railtech Alu-Singen, our team of product engineers and designers created a conductor rail to meet the needs of the line’s rolling stock and track. The third rail solution is made of aluminium and stainless steel, using a coextrusion manufacturing process to ensure high levels of reliability and safety, with no delamination (separation of the combined metals).

In addition, Pandrol supplied QTrack® for use in depot areas on the Thomson-East Coast Line, where road vehicles run in the same space as the railway track. QTrack® is an embedded, ballastless track system in which the rail is completely encapsulated by elastic prefabricated resin-bonded rubber profiles with a unique shape and adapted stiffness characteristics. Quick to install, versatile and long-lasting, QTrack® was the ideal solution for increasing track quality in depot areas, thanks to even distribution of loads and lower vibration emissions.


Since the first sections of the Thomson-East Coast Line opened in 2020, Pandrol’s products have been performing well and are proving easy to install and maintain in situ. The resilience provided by the DRS Baseplate’s rubber pad is successfully mitigating the effects of ground-borne vibration and secondary noise in the urban areas served by the new stations.

The line will be fully operational from the start of 2024 and is initially expected to transport approximately 500,000 commuters daily, rising to a million in the future. The line will be one of the world’s largest driverless MRT lines, with trains capable of fully-automated operations and able to run without an attendant on board.

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