Singapore

Khaw: Bukit Panjang LRT built as an 'afterthought'

The Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT), which opened in 1999, was an "afterthought" to a built-up town, and constructed because of "political pressure", Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

"No LRT is designed that way, in such a masochistic manner, when you force yourself up and down (with) twists and turns," he added, alluding to the structure of the BPLRT, which has several sharp bends over undulating terrain.

Quipping that the BPLRT is like a "roller coaster", he added: "I have taken the BPLRT a few times as a commuter. I won't say I enjoyed the ride, (it) caused me dizziness also."

Pointing to last Saturday's disruption on the BPLRT caused by rail support brackets being "sheared off", Mr Khaw reiterated that the reliability of the 18-year-old system is on the Government's radar.

In March, it was announced that the line will get a complete overhaul, with new trains, power rail, signalling system and other components.

Mr Khaw said it was not feasible to scrap the BPLRT and do with a bus-only system, as the capacity would be insufficient.

The 7.8km BPLRT, which has 14 stations, was built at a cost of $285 million.

Asked about Mr Khaw's comments, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa said: "I appreciate the minister's candidness and him not giving up on improving the BPLRT's reliability. It is a daunting engineering challenge, and we know the system may take some time to achieve desired reliability." - THE STRAITS TIMES

Khaw Boon WanBukit PanjangTRAINS