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Rail Travel

Singapore - Rail Travel


Although Singapore is an island, it’s still possible to travel by train to other countries (specifically Thailand and Malaysia) as well as to travel by rail within the country. There are three main types of rail transport in Singapore: an international service operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), a rapid transit system (MRT and SMRT), and light trail transit (LRT).

The rail line that provides international connections is the KTM which is operated by Malayan Railways. The track runs along Malaysia’s west coast and then heads on up to Thailand. The only terminal station is located at the Woodlands Checkpoint. There are currently plans to build a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. At this time, however, the travel time between the two cities is around 7 hours.

The MRT network has four main lines and consists of 98.11 miles and 102 stations. SBS Transit operates the North East Line while SMRT trains operate the Circle Line, East West Line, and the North South Line. The newest network is the Circle Line which runs from Marina Bay to Promenade.

There are also forms of light urban rail systems, including the monorail system which can be found on Sentosa Island. At the Jurong Bird Park, a panorail takes visitors through the aviary. The light rails basically work as extensions of the main MRT network lines. They essentially offer connections for residents in outlying areas.

Stations have two areas: the unpaid and the paid. You’ll find General Ticketing Machines that sell tickets for single trips. They also let customers purchase additional value for stored-value tickets. The green colored single tickets are only valid on the day of purchase and can only be used 30 minutes past the travel time. If you need a ticket that can be used repeatedly then you’ll need to purchase one that has stored credit.

You only have to pay one fare and pass just through two gates (entry and exit) in the entire trip. You can extend your journey in the middle of it and pay the difference when you exit at your destination. For more information, visit: http://www.smrt.com.sg

Fares are based on the distance between the start and destination stations. This is in contrast to the fares that are based on zones in places like London. To look at a network map and calculate fares, visit: http://www.smrt.com.sg/Trains/NetworkMap.aspx You can also purchase the ez link card which will deduct the amount from your balance upon your exit from your destination station.

The trains between Singapore and places such as Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are air-conditioned and comfortable. Overnight sleepers are available which might be valuable on a trip such as the one to Bangkok which can take as long as 48 hours (with stopovers). All long distance trips require a reservation in advance and the tickets include either a sleeper or a seat in a designated location and car. You can stop and get off the train whenever you’d like although you can’t buy an “open” ticket. Instead, you can either purchase all of your tickets in advance or buy them as you go. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Woodlands Checkpoint station. Fare prices and more information can be found on the KTM website: http://www.ktmb.com.my.

If you are traveling to Bangkok, it’s cheaper to buy your ticket to Kuala Lumpur and then purchase the ticket for the rest of your journey on into Thailand when you get to Malaysia.


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