Circle Line platform, Dhoby Ghaut Station.
The North South Line, north-bound platform.
The Dhoby Xchange.
Commuters on the Dhoby Ghaut North East Line platform.

Dhoby Ghaut mass rapid transit (MRT) station located on Orchard Road in Singapore is the country’s largest underground railway station. It is owned and maintained by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore and is used by around 20,000 commuters every hour during peak hours.

The station was opened in December 1987 to serve the first metro, the North South Line.

In June 2003, it became an interchange station with the opening of the North East Line and became the first MRT station to serve three lines when the new Circle Line became operational in April 2010.

It is the second deepest railway station in Singapore at 28m below ground level; the deepest being The Bras Basah MRT station. Dhoby Ghaut is also one of the four MRT stations to feature in the Singapore edition of the board game, Monopoly.

Dhoby Ghaut infrastructure

Dhoby Ghaut station was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), a design consultant and construction company. Construction of the station was a challenging task for PB due to its complex structure.

“Dhoby Ghaut is the country’s largest underground railway station.”

It is built above the main drainage of Orchard Road which divided the station site during excavation.

The five basement sections were built on a raft foundation to avoid the piled foundations above ground, so the drainage canal now runs through the station and is maintained from the office complex at The Atrium @ Orchard. The construction was completed in five years.

Dhoby Ghaut station is constructed beneath The Atrium @ Orchard, a two-block commercial complex. A four-storey, glass-enclosed atrium forms a part of the station and the structure is more than 40m deep, comprising five underground levels, six platforms, three pairs of rail tunnels and a station box-shell for future light rail lines.

Level 1 is at street level and basement one (B1) leads to the Dhoby Xchange and Stamford canal. Fare-gates, ticketing machines and station-control transit-link counters for all the lines are in the third basement (B3).

Dhoby Ghaut station’s three-level underground parking garage also serves as a civil defence shelter for 6,000 people. It is designed with provisions such as independent water and ventilation supplies, as well as other measures, to protect people during possible attacks by conventional or chemical weapons.

The four lifts at the station serve all the line concourses, platforms, transfer link-ways and transfer hall.

The lighting and temperature system of the Dhoby Ghaut station are well integrated to adjust the indoor environment with outside weather conditions. The station utilises energy-saving equipment such as electronic regulator ballast, indoor sensors to regulate lighting, radiant heat sensors, automatic adjustable blinds with solar sensors and air conditioners with condensate water-cooling.

Lines and routes connecting Dhoby Ghaut

The 44km North South Line, opened in 1987, passes through Dhoby Ghaut and runs from Marina Bay to Jurong East. It is operated by Singapore mass rapid transit (SMRT).

“The underground parking garage also serves as a civil defence shelter.”

The North East Line is a 20km underground line served by fully-automated, driverless trains. It starts from HarbourFront, passes through Dhoby Ghaut and ends at Punggol. This line is operated by SBS Transit.

Finally, the Circle Line is a 33km section which intersects with the North South Line at Bishan and the North East Line at Serangoon. It also passes through Dhoby Ghaut and runs driverless, fully-automated trains operated by SMRT.

Rolling stock

Dhoby Ghaut station serves 138m long six-car trains running on a standard gauge of 1,435mm. Most of the trains are supplied by Alstom and operate at a speed of 80-90km/h.