Expect more reliable MRT services as power rails replaced: Khaw Boon Wan

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan was given a demonstration of how the power rail was replaced, at the Bishan Depot’s training track. Photo: LTA

Fewer power faults and better reliability – this is what train commuters can expect as the power rails on the MRT network’s North South and East West lines (NSEWL) have been replaced. The project took two years to complete, starting from September 2015.

The Land Transport Authority and SMRT announced at the completion ceremony at Bishan Depot that some 180km of power rail had been replaced. The power or “third” rail supplies electricity to trains to operate the air conditioners, lights and motors.

According to media reports on Tuesday (12 Sept), this is the second major effort to refurbish the ageing MRT lines, parts of which have been in service since 1987.

More than 400 workers reportedly worked on the project, which reportedly meant them working during off-service hours – from 1.30am to 4.30am.

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said at the ceremony that commuters can soon expect to have more reliable train services as significant progress is made with each refurbishment project. According to a Today report, Khaw said, “If we keep on track, commuters will be able to experience vast improvements in reliability by 2019. We are halfway there.”

Khaw also announced that the overhaul of the North-South East-West Lines would be completed by 2024.

In Parliament on Monday, Khaw said the new signalling system on the North South Line was “stablising”, adding that the number of delays due to re-signalling had declined from 20 in May to six in August. He was also optimistic that the re-signalling of the North South Line would be completed earlier than the end-of-year deadline.

As work on the signalling system continues, Khaw sought the understanding of commuters, many of whom recall the massive train breakdown of 2015 and the many frustrating delays since then. “Please bear with us,” he said.


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