SINGAPORE: Singapore, with its bustling population of over three million daily MRT commuters, is gearing up for a significant upgrade in its rail system. Singaporeans should look forward to more reliable MRT train rides from 2025 onwards with the upcoming Singapore Rail Testing Centre (SRTC), set to be fully operational in 2025.
On Friday, Nov 24 the Land Transport Authority (LTA) shared updates on the new Singapore Rail Testing Centre on their latest issue on CONNECT and on their Facebook page. The driving force behind the SRTC is the need for enhanced maintenance and testing protocols as the 260km rail network continues to expand. The current challenge is the limited time window for testing, given that trains run from 5.30 am to almost midnight. Additionally, the evaluation of new train models, often tested overseas, can take several years before reaching Singapore. The SRTC is poised to revolutionize this landscape.
One of the key advantages of the SRTC is its ability to conduct train testing around the clock, replicating actual operational conditions. This is made possible by dedicated tracks that mimic passenger lines, allowing for more comprehensive testing away from main routes at any time of the day.
The facility, located in Tuas, has three purpose-built tracks.
- An uphill gradient for testing train endurance.
- An “S-shaped” track for performance and integration assessments.
- A straight high-speed track for speeds up to 100 km/h.
These tracks are designed to accommodate all types of signalling and communication systems, ensuring a seamless testing environment for new trains.
Phase 1 of the SRTC, featuring the completion of the high-speed test track (HSTT), concluded in November. The first two Circle Line 6 (CCL6) trains are already undergoing testing and commissioning on the HSTT. Phase 2 is set to follow and will include the construction of two additional test tracks and essential infrastructure, further expanding the testing capabilities of the centre.
A unique advantage of the SRTC is its ability to troubleshoot and rectify faults locally, not just for new lines and trains but also for existing MRT lines simultaneously. The comprehensive capabilities of the centre, coupled with a dedicated workshop for mid-life upgrading of trains, aim to keep the entire fleet in optimal condition.
The SRTC also serves as a collaborative hub for engineers, rail operators, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This shared testing and maintenance platform is anticipated to foster innovation and efficiency, particularly as more OEMs establish a presence in Singapore.
Sustainability is also a key focus of the SRTC, evident in its recent Green Mark Platinum certification from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). The facility meets half of its energy needs through solar panels, and incorporates energy-saving features by using LED lighting and a central cooling system while encouraging eco-friendly commuting with covered walkways and bicycle parking./TISG