Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT - More Engineering Hours to Improve Rail Reliability Sooner

News Releases 07 Mar 2018 Committee of Supply (COS) rail reliability

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and train operator SMRT have made significant progress in rejuvenating the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) through additional engineering hours over 10 weekends since December 2017. The early closure, late opening and full Sunday closure of MRT stations on weekends have provided additional time for our engineering teams to carry out planned maintenance and renewal works on the tracks, stations and train depots.

Upgrading of Signalling System Accelerated

2.  As a result, LTA, SMRT and signalling supplier Thales have completed the equivalent of more than 40 nights of additional installation and testing work for the new signalling system on the East-West Line (EWL). This has helped to accelerate the EWL re-signalling programme by six months, bringing forward the completion to June 2018.

Maintenance Works Intensified

3.  The additional engineering hours have also provided SMRT more time to carry out preventive maintenance and repairs along closed sectors. On average, this has more than doubled the progress. For example, SMRT’s engineering teams have been able to deploy engineering vehicles longer to support maintenance works, enabling more work to be covered over a larger section of track each night. Maintenance of station facilities such as platform screen doors and other station facilities have also been stepped up.

Two Done, Four to Go

4.  With the additional engineering hours, the overhaul of the 100km NSEWL network is expected to be completed by the early 2020s:

i)   Completed ­– Sleeper replacement programme where 188,000 wooden sleepers were replaced with concrete sleepers along the NSEWL.

ii)  CompletedPower rail replacement programme where about 12,000 pieces of power rail were replaced on the NSEWL. Besides the improved design of the new power rail, SMRT installed the Linear Variable Differential Transformer device on trains to provide real-time condition monitoring of the alignment of the power rail and allows the maintenance team to quickly identify, inspect and rectify any potential faults with the power rail.

OngoingRe-signalling completed on the North-South Line (NSL) and on-going for the EWL. As of January this year, works on the EWL are more than 90% completed with the rest of the works targeted for completion by June.  We have also commenced testing of the new signalling system along the EWL during engineering hours.

Ongoing – Upgrading and renewing of the power supply system. The new power supply system will be equipped with features that significantly reduce the number of power-related faults and allow for real-time monitoring and better fault prediction, detection and identification.

Ongoing – Replacement of track circuit system used to detect the location of trains on the line and facilitate speedier recovery from a signalling system failure.

UpcomingReplacement of 66 first-generation NSEWL trains which will have sensors to monitor the performance of various train-borne sub-systems. These trains will also be equipped with imaging sensors and laser scanners to monitor track conditions for early signs of anomalies so that they can be addressed before a fault occurs.

More Engineering Hours in 2018

5.  Extended engineering hours will continue beyond June 2018 as we continue to renew the NSEWL’s critical rail systems.  Parallel shuttle buses will be provided between affected MRT stations. Commuters are advised to plan their journeys in advance, and seek alternative transport via other MRT lines or bus services where possible. They can also get the latest updates on affected train services and alternative transport arrangements on LTA and SMRT’s websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.


6.  To improve rail reliability for commuters, the Government expects to spend about $4 billion over the next five years to continue the renewal of our rail network. This is in addition to the $20 billion committed to build new public transport infrastructure.

7.  LTA will continue to work closely with the operators to maintain the current momentum and deliver improved rail reliability for commuters sooner.

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