Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT - Service Improvements for Bukit Panjang LRT

News Releases 25 Jun 2015 Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT)

Measures to Address Reliability Issues;
40% Increase in Capacity During Peak Hours

1.  LTA and SMRT will be embarking on various efforts to make the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) system more robust with additional targeted measures. Capacity has also increased by 40% with more than half of the 13 new train-cars put into service since last November. The remaining trains will be put into service by the third quarter of this year. From September 2015, SMRT willl also be extending the BPS1 service to the evening peak. Works are ongoing to enhance Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang LRT stations to cater to the higher traffic expected with the opening of Downtown Line 2.

Measures for Repair-Maintenance of System

2.  The LTA-SMRT Joint Team[1] has identified system faults causing the loss of train signals and traction power as the key contributors of past incidents. SMRT  is working with Bombardier Transport which supplied the BPLRT system to address these faults.

3.  To address the issue of traction power tripping and the loss of power to the train-cars, SMRT will be replacing the power rail brackets at LRT crossings where such incidents are more likely. Cameras will also be installed on the under-frame of the train-cars to better monitor the alignment and contact between the train-car’s current collector shoes and power rails. These will also be used to detect the causes for any misalignments so that appropriate preventive measures can be taken to minimise such incidents.

4.  In addition, SMRT will enhance the gap breaker panels with improved features for better isolation and insulation of internal components to reduce the likelihood of arcing between the electrical components and smouldering incidents. As a predictive maintenance measure, SMRT is also replacing the signalling cards and relays on the train-cars.

Increased Day-to-Day System Manning

5.  SMRT will deploy more operations and maintenance staff at the BPLRT stations to provide timely assistance and rectification of faults, in a further effort to minimise inconvenience to commuters in the event of technical faults. This effort includes hiring more staff for BPLRT train-cars and stations, which are designed to operate unmanned, as well as putting out clear signage to notify commuters of free bus services.

6.  In addition, SMRT is working with the train-car manufacturer on remote reset features from the BPLRT Operation Control Centre. When this is completed, operations staff will be able to remote reset the train-cars for faster service recovery.

BPLRT Capacity Improvements

7.  We are also on track to add 13 new train-cars to BPLRT by the third quarter of this year. To date, seven train-cars have been put in service, increasing capacity for commuters especially during the morning and evening peak hours. With more train-cars, commuters can enjoy shorter wait times and a more comfortable ride.

8.  From September 2015, SMRT will also be extending the BPS1 service for the evening peak, i.e. from Choa Chu Kang back to Bukit Panjang, to supplement the BPLRT service. Currently, BPS1 is a unidirectional morning peak trunk service from Segar Road to Choa Chu Kang Interchange, via Jelapang and Senja.

Enhancements to LRT Stations

9.  Bukit Panjang LRT station is being upgraded with additional platforms so that its connectivity with the upcoming Downtown Line 2’s Bukit Panjang station will be improved. Upgrading works will be completed before the opening of Downtown Line 2.

10. To allow better commuter movement at Choa Chu Kang LRT station, LTA will also add two additional station platforms. These two ‘exit only’ platforms will connect to the link bridge leading to the Choa Chu Kang MRT station, and allow the existing centre platform to have more space to cater to boarding passengers. There will be one staircase and one escalator to serve each of the new platforms. Works are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2016.

11. These near-term measures will help provide a more reliable and comfortable service for commuters. As the system will have operated for 20 years by 2019, LTA will be reviewing the future BPLRT plans, as well as work closely with stakeholders and the public transport operators to ensure the adequacy and quality of public transport services for residents of Bukit Panjang town.

[1] The LTA-SMRT Joint Team was formed in 2012 to look into reducing disruptions and increasing the reliability of North-South and East-West Lines, and BPLRT.

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