In order to provide more time for tests of the new signalling system, all 35 MRT stations on the East West Line (EWL) will continue to close earlier and open later during weekends in April, said SMRT on Thursday (22 March).
The affected stations will continue to close at 11pm every Friday and Saturday, and open later at 8am every Saturday and Sunday, said the rail operator in a statement.
SMRT added that six shuttle bus services and four express bus services will continue to serve as an alternative travel option for affected commuters.
However, they advised commuters to make provisions for additional travel time while using these services, and advised those travelling longer distances to seek alternate routes and travel options.
Train services on the EWL have been ending earlier and starting later on weekends since 2 March “to provide more time for engineering staff to intensify testing of the new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system”, SMRT added.
The extended engineering hours allow for more time “to run the line fully on the CBTC system, and to test the system’s integration with the North South Line (NSL)”, with up to 100 trains having been deployed on both the EWL and NSL on selected nights to “stress-test the system”.
This “progressive approach” will prepare the system for eventual tests during EWL passenger service hours in the coming months, SMRT said.
The additional off-service hours have also allowed SMRT to “step up maintenance and inspection of the rail network” as well as “accelerate improvement works, such as the replacement of track circuits, rail grinding and track tamping”.
SMRT cited the replacement of a concrete track bed near Raffles Place MRT Station earlier this year as an example, and added that “similar works” are being carried out along the stretch between Outram Park and Tiong Bahru MRT stations.
“To facilitate these works, and as a safety precaution, trains will travel at a slightly lower speed along the affected stretch during the morning peak period,” said SMRT.