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5 reasons the SRTC is breaking barriers to rail reliability

Posted on | 24 Nov 2023

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More reliable MRT train rides from 2025 onwards!

Did you know that over three million people ride the MRT in Singapore every day? As the approximately 260km rail network continues to grow, even more rigorous maintenance and testing is required to maintain the reliability of our rail system!

Yet, with trains running from 5.30am in the morning to almost midnight, there is only a small window of time for testing to take place. In addition, new trains are currently being tested overseas, which means that it can take up to a few years for new models to reach us.

All of this is set to change with the new Singapore Rail Test Centre (SRTC), in Tuas. As the name suggests, the SRTC, which is expected to be fully operational in 2025, will improve train testing facilities, enhance train and rail reliability, and provide greater convenience. Here’s how:

#1 Test all day, everyday

By replicating the conditions on actual operational passenger lines, the SRTC allows for train testing to be carried out away from the main lines at any time of day.

This frees up time and space for other track maintenance activities to be carried out during the precious 12am to 5.30am engineering hours, which reduces the risk of track faults to boot

#2 Inspection of all trains, any trains

New trains are tested overseas as they must be evaluated on a specific set of signalling and communication systems, which the SRTC will have.

The facility will house three tracks: One with an uphill gradient to test train endurance; an “S-shaped” track for assessing performance and integration; and finally, a straight high-speed track that has minimal curvature and gradient, suitable for testing speeds of up to 100km/h.

Aeriel view of the SRTC building
These tracks are designed to be interoperable and can accommodate all types of signalling and communication systems. They are also equipped with two types of power systems: third-rail power systems located at the side of the track and overhead catenary power systems at the top—both of which are used by trains in Singapore.
Did You Know?

Phase 1 of the SRTC, which involved the construction of the high-speed test track (HSTT) was completed in November this year!

The first two Circle Line 6 (CCL6) trains are undergoing testing and commissioning work on the HSTT. Phase 2 of the SRTC will include construction of the two other test tracks (a 3-kilometre endurance looped track and a 2.8-kilometre performance and integration looped track), as well as the three-storey Administration Building, Operations Control Centre Building, maintenance and refurbishment workshops.

Testing new trains in Singapore means they will be available more quickly, and since it can be done while an MRT line is being developed—even before depots are ready—we will be better able to identify and fix teething problems before new stations open. Which brings us to the next point...

#3 Troubleshooting at any time, right at our shores

It's not just the new lines and trains that benefit! The SRTC's comprehensive capabilities ensure that Singapore is also able to test the trains and systems of our existing MRT lines simultaneously.

With troubleshooting done locally, diagnosis and rectification of faults is sped up. This, coupled with a workshop dedicated to mid-life upgrading of trains, keeps our trains in tip-top condition and ready to offer overall better rail reliability for all.

#4 Training up new capabilities

By offering a shared testing and maintenance platform, the SRTC is an ideal hub for our Land Transport Authority (LTA) engineers, rail operators, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate and innovate to improve rail capabilities.

As more OEMs set up shop in Singapore, we can look forward to timely and cost-effective support for trains. And with more partnerships in the industry, local rail capabilities and overall services will also grow.

#5 Making a stand for sustainability

As the fight against climate change heats up, reliable public transportation systems are also built with sustainability in mind. The SRTC meets these requirements as well, having earned the Green Mark Platinum certification from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Half of its energy needs are met by solar panels, and the facility is equipped with energy-saving features such as LED and a central cooling system. There are also covered connecting walkways and bicycle parking to facilitate connectivity and encourage people to walk and bike.

Check out the below video on the new SRTC and how it will sustain and enhance our rail reliability efforts!
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