Singapore’s Transit Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced that since railway components are showing their age, additional hours for engineering are needed for their upgrade and maintenance. This directly affects commuters as it entails shorter operating hours for the trains themselves.
Mr Khaw made this announcement today, November 13, at the SMRT’s Tuas West Depot, at the Future Railway Technology for Depot and Trains, where new technology in development for Singapore’s railways, such as robotics and augmented reality, are on display. He said that the current railway equipment has aged and needs renewal soon, even if the new depot’s power substation comes with a 50 per cent increase in power capacity for all trains.
Mr. Khaw further added that limits on power capacity were already being maximised, since new trains had been added in order to de-load overcrowded trains. The power load at peak hours had gone up to 80 per cent of their capacity for the North-South and East-West lines, a figure expected to increase even more, due to resignalling works and the operation of the new Tuas West Extension line, potentially forcing the SMRT to use its power reserve backups.
In addition to power supply, track circuits, signalling and the trains themselves also need upgrading, hence the announcement of additional engineering hours, which is necessarily done before and after the operating hours for the North-South and East-West lines. These lines are now thirty years old. Mr Khaw said in order for the country to boosts its capacities in preventive maintenance, depots themselves would also need an overall upgrade.
Netizens had a variety of reactions to Khaw’s announcement, with the majority being dismayed at the cost of the shortened operating hours on commuters
Others expressed that the problems should have been foreseen and attended to even before
Yet others made suggestions to hasten the process of upgrading the railway lines