The renewal and upgrade of Singapore’s North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL) has now been completed.
Since 2012, Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Singapore Smart Rapid Transit System (SMRT) have been working to update the NSEWL’s six core systems. The work was completed in phases, starting with the replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete, which was completed in 2016.
This was followed by the replacement of the third rail (2017), and then the introduction of a new communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling system in 2018.
Since then, works have focused on the renewal of the track circuits, power supply and train fleet. A common feature of these three systems is condition monitoring, introduced to support preventive maintenance.
Working in tandem with the CBTC signalling system, over 1,100 new track circuits help to indicate the position of all trains on the track. In the event of a fault, this helps the operator focus its response efforts and speed up the train recovery process.
In addition, the new track circuit system can help to detect broken rails that are in need of repair.
The power supply renewal works consisted of replacing 1,300km of power cables, 250km of fibre-optic cables, 206 power transformers, 172 switchboards and various equipment across 171 substations. All stations upgraded their 64P touch voltage protection systems with new voltage-limiting devices to isolate power faults and prevent line-wide disruptions.
The new power supply system constantly monitors the insulation of traction cables, enabling the operator to take pre-emptive measures when necessary.
In 2018, the LTA ordered 66 trains from what was then Bombardier (now Alstom) to replace the first-generation NSEWL trains, which have been in operation for over 35 years. A further 40 new trains were purchased two years later, to replace the second and third-generation trains.
The new vehicles are also equipped with sensors to monitor the performance of various subsystems and track conditions.
To date, 26 new trains have arrived in Singapore. Seven of these trains are in passenger service, while the remaining vehicles are currently undergoing testing and commissioning.
The rest of the trains will arrive in Singapore and be progressively put into service between now and 2026.
This renewal and upgrade project – the country’s most significant rail network improvement effort to date – has dramatically improved the reliability of the lines.
Since 2019, the NSEWL has recorded a mean kilometre between failure (MKBF) performance of over 1,000,000km since 2019. In 2012, the figures were 70,000km and 60,000km on the NSL and EWL respectively.
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