SMRT and LTA which were secretive and did not respond to FactWire’s requests for comment about the publications investigative report that SMRT secretly shipped 35 PRC-made trains back to China for repairs has commented on the topic to the local mainstream media.
Managing director of SMRT Trains Lee Ling Wee said that the defective trains are still under warranty and will be repaired by the manufacturer by 2023. He further claimed that its engineers had discovered the cracks and since then, it had worked closely with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the manufacturer to rectify the defects.
Mr Lee added, “to ensure that the trains are safe for passenger service at all times, we have been monitoring the defects closely. A monthly safety assessment is also conducted by the LTA and manufacturer before the train is put into service.”
And LTA said:
“(Defects) are not safety-critical and do not affect the train’s systems or performance”, adding that it has been working closely with the manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang after defects were found on the trains purchased under C151A. The train manufacturer will be required to make good the defects as part of their warranty.
Trains on the rail network are extensively tested to ensure the safety and reliability of the train. Every train also undergoes a comprehensive regime of static and dynamic testing as well as interface testing to ensure its structural and operational integrity. After the testing is completed, the trains are delivered to Singapore for further testing before they are placed for passenger service.”
It is unclear if the mainstream media journalist asked LTA and SMRT why they did not inform the commuting public earlier about the defects, but both the public transport operator as well as the transport regulator did not specify why they had not done so.
The mainstream media has also drawn flak from some quarters for their lack of coverage of the issue prior and for allowing a foreign media to break such a news of public interest.