When I moved into my place in the Old Airport Road area in 2002, one of the highlights was having a Circle Line MRT station nearby which goes directly into the city by 2008, and being able to transfer to the existing MRT and NEL lines at various interchanges.
However, the Nicoll Highway tunnel collapse in 2004 delayed the opening of both Phase 1 and 2 to 2010 beyond the 2009 opening of Phase 3. On Saturday, 17 April 2010, Phase 1 and 2 of the Circle Line officially started operations from 6am.
We were excited to try out the new station and trains on the first day since it was practically in our backyard. So, we decided to have a family dinner at Tung Lok Seafood in Orchard Central.
We left home at around 7pm and started walking to the Mountbatten MRT station which was around 500m away. We took the city bound train to Dhoby Ghaut interchange to transfer to the North-South line. It was fairly crowded when we boarded, but most of the passengers alighted at the next station, Stadium, as 2 concerts were being held there that night. The ride through 6 stations to Dhoby Ghaut took about 20 minutes.
Surprisingly, the transfer to the North-South line was a breeze, it was much closer than the walk between the North-South line and North-East line at the same interchange. The transfer consisted of a ride up the escalator to the transfer deck, a short walk of about 10-20 meters to the escalator to the existing North-South line and the ride down the escalator.
We took the north-bound train and alighted at the Somerset station. In all, the transit from home to Somerset, including walking to the station, waiting for the trains and the transfer at Dhoby Ghaut took slightly more than 30 minutes. In comparison, taking a bus would have taken around 45 minutes. Driving was not an option as traffic into the city is nightmarish on a Saturday evening.
Dinner was uneventful. It was neither fantastic nor was it terrible. Typical chinese cuisine from Tung Lok. We adjourned to the roof garden to take in the night view. The view of the lights in Orchard Road and the horizon was nice.
The trip back home in the opposite direction also took about 30 minutes. In all, the new alternative route that the Circle Line provides into the city is definitely appreciated, especially with public transport being more crowded and owning a car being more expensive.