Works in progress to further improve reliability
1. Starting from the middle of this year, commuters can expect shorter wait times on the MRT during peak as well as off peak periods, as more new trains are added to the rail network. 18 trains will be added progressively to the North East Line (NEL), and 24 trains to the Circle Line (CCL). All 42 trains will have entered revenue service by 2016. For the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), 57 new trains will be added from 2016 to 2019. These 99 new trains will increase the NSEWL, NEL and CCL fleets by close to 50%.
2. For the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT), seven new train-cars will be added to the system by the end of this year, in addition to the six new train-cars added since November last year1. These additional 13 new train-cars will increase the fleet size for BPLRT by 70%. For the Sengkang-Punggol LRT (SPLRT), 16 new train-cars will arrive from 2016, increasing the fleet by about 40%. By then, modification works for 16 of the 41 existing single train-cars for two-car operations will also be completed, further boosting capacity.
Upgrading the current rail network
96% of sleeper replacement works completed on NSL
3. Works are also ongoing to upgrade our rail infrastructure. The replacement of timber sleepers with concrete sleepers on the North-South Line (NSL) is on track for completion by mid-year. As of early March, 96% of sleepers on the NSL have been replaced. Trains are now travelling at full speed on the stretch between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib, and speed restrictions are being lifted for more stretches along the NSL.
4. For the East-West Line (EWL), sleeper replacement works will begin this year, and are expected to be completed by end-2016. Once the re-sleepering project is completed, commuters can look forward to more comfortable and less crowded journeys.
77% of signalling system upgrading completed on NSL
5. Upgrading for the signalling system to allow trains to run at shorter intervals of 100 seconds is on track for completion by 2016 for the NSL, and by 2018 for the EWL. The new signalling system is now installed on more than 77% of the NSL stations and tracks. New signalling equipment is being tested on 32 out of 141 trains in the existing fleet for NSEWL.
Replacement works on the third rail to start in June
6. Replacement of the third rail has begun with the design and type-testing of third rail components. Works on the NSEWL will begin by the middle of this year with the target of completing the replacement by 2017. This will help further improve the reliability of our train services.
Free WiFi access at more station platforms by end of this year
7. WiFi connection is now available at selected platforms at 10 MRT stations2 – Bishan, Buona Vista, City Hall, Dhoby Ghaut*, HarbourFront*, Orchard, Outram Park*, Paya Lebar*, Raffles Place and Serangoon*. The usage has grown consistently to over 200,000 logins per day at these stations, as of February 2015. By the end of this year, free WiFi will be available on the platforms of 32 stations3.
Improving train reliability
8. Train service reliability has generally improved since the formation of the LTA-SMRT and LTA-SBST Joint Teams in 2012. We have halved the normalised train withdrawal rate for our most established line, the NSEWL, to 1.1 in 2014 from 2.2 in 2013; this brings us back to the standards we had in 2007. The normalised rate of service delays lasting more than five minutes for the NSEWL has also fallen to 1.3 delays in 2014 from 1.6 delays in 2012. Similar trends of improvement in reliability are seen on the NEL and CCL.
9. The LTA-SMRT and LTA-SBST Joint Teams are working to further improve reliability this year. On the NSEWL, LTA has been working closely with SMRT to address the challenges of an ageing system and to carry out preventive maintenance. These include rolling out upgrading programmes for the older NSEWL trains and replacing the timber sleepers with concrete ones. Another major project is the replacement of the third rail, which will start this year. For the NEL, the LTA-SBST Joint Team is making enhancements to the existing power system. Replacement works for the Balanced Weight Anchor (BWA) wires were completed in end-2014. For the U-bolts, which together with the BWA wires are components of the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), SBST has completed the replacement works between HarbourFront and Outram Park stations, and is on track to completing the remaining works by the end of this year.
New rail lines to provide more connections
10. Even as we upgrade the current system, the Government is continuing to invest in new rail lines and stations. Between now and 2024, a new rail line or extension will open nearly every year. By the first quarter of 2016, Stage 2 of the Downtown Line (DTL) will open with 12 stations connecting Bukit Panjang Station to Bugis Station. There will also be four stations added to the EWL with the completion of the Tuas West Extension (TWE) in 2016. By 2017, we will open Stage 3 of DTL, connecting Chinatown Station to Expo Station. By then, our rail network will have expanded by about 25%.
11. In 2019, commuters can look forward to the opening of Canberra Station, a new station on the NSL, as well as the opening of the first three stations of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL). The second stretch of six stations and the third stretch of 13 stations along the TEL will be completed by 2020 and 2021 respectively. The East Coast stretch of the TEL will be completed in two stages; the first seven stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore will be ready in 2023, while the remaining two stations will be completed in 2024, together with the remaining two stations of the Downtown Line, Xilin and Sungei Bedok.
12. We are also making progress on several other new rail lines. Studies are ongoing for Circle Line 6 (CCL6), the Jurong Region Line (JRL) and Cross Island Line (CRL). By 2030, we would have doubled the length of our rail network to 360km, and 8 in 10 households will be within a 10-minute walk to a station.
1 As of end-February 2015, six new train-cars have been added to the BPLRT system, increasing the current fleet size to 25.
2 WiFi access is available at these stations, except at certain platforms: Dhoby Ghaut (NEL), Harbourfront (NEL), Outram Park (NEL), Paya Lebar (EWL) and Serangoon (NEL) platforms, which will be ready by mid-2015.
3 The 32 stations are Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Boon Keng, Buangkok, Bukit Batok, Buona Vista, Chinatown, Choa Chu Kang, City Hall, Clarke Quay, Clementi, Dhoby Ghaut, Eunos, Farrer Park, HarbourFront, Hougang, Jurong East, Khatib, Kovan, Little India, Orchard, Outram Park, Paya Lebar, Potong Pasir, Punggol, Raffles Place, Sembawang, Sengkang, Serangoon, Woodleigh and Yishun.