Rail network on course to meet reliability target: Transport Minister Khaw

MRT trains in Singapore. (FILE PHOTO: Yahoo Magazines)

Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan said on Friday (2 November) that Singapore’s rail network is on course to meet its reliability target, as seen by improvements made this year.

He revealed during the Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance that, over the first three quarters of this year, the overall MRT system achieved 660,000 train-kilometres between delays.

This statistic, commonly termed as MKBF, calculates the average distance travelled before a train fault lasting more than five minutes. For the whole of last year, the MKBF was 180,000 train-kilometres.

Khaw noted that this year’s statistic is two-thirds to his target of 1,000,000 train-kilometres rail reliability by 2020.

Downtown, North East lines have met target

He revealed that the Downtown Line and North East Line – both operated by SBS Transit – have already met the target. He is confident that the Circle Line, North-South Line and East-West Line – all operated by SMRT – should be able to catch up soon as they “have put in enormous efforts and made significant improvements over the last few years”.

After reaching an acceptable level of reliability, Khaw said the challenge would be to maintain it at that high level.

“At the end of the day, it’s to serve customers,” he said. “And what they want is to move from point A to B safely, predictably and reliably, and also in an affordable manner.”

He added that transport authorities are looking to foster long-term relationships with engineering firms and equipment manufacturers that service Singapore’s trains. This would lead to business opportunities as well as jobs for engineers.

Upgrading continues

The North-South and East-West Lines have also completed their transition to the communications-based train control signalling system. This leaves three more aspects to be renewed – power, track circuits and the first-generation trains.

Khaw said the power renewal project involves the replacement of 1,300km of power cables, 250km of fibre optic cables, 206 power transformers, 172 switchboards and 171 substations. It was previously announced that 66 first-generation North-South Line and East-West Line trains will be replaced from 2021.

“We have turned the corner but our mission is not yet accomplished,” he said. “Any lapse in execution and we will lose the public confidence that we have painstakingly rebuilt. We must remain focused on our mission, to move commuters in a safe and reliable manner.”

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