Defective MRT trains sent back to China manufacturer
26 China-made MRT trains found to be defective, sent back to manufacturer for repairs
Several China-made MRT trains have been found to be defective and are being shipped back to their manufacturer.
In a statement to the media yesterday, Mr Lee Ling Wee, the managing director of SMRT Trains, said cracks were found in 26 trains that were delivered in 2013.
"Our engineers discovered that 26 of the 35 trains delivered by the manufacturer had cracks in the structure connecting the car body and the bogie," he said.
A bogie refers to the structure underneath a train to which axles and wheels are attached.
Mr Lee said that all 26 defective trains are still under warranty and will be repaired by the manufacturer by 2023.
The defects were brought to light after online news portal FactWire reported yesterday that several train cars were seen being transported from SMRT's Bishan Depot to Jurong Port, and were believed to have been shipped to Qingdao, China, last month.
The report also alleged that these defects could have a serious impact.
FactWire quoted former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation acting chief executive officer Samuel Lai, who was reported as saying that train components usually cracked due to age.
He told FactWire: "It is very unusual for cracks to appear in new components, and you don't know how much pressure it can withstand after that, because running puts a lot of pressure on the train's car body."
A spokesman for the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it had been working closely with train manufacturer, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang, on the defects.
The defects, said the spokesman, "are not safety-critical" and "do not affect the train's systems or performance".
Kawasaki Heavy Industries is a Japanese company that oversees the design of the trains, while CSR Sifang is a Chinese company that manufactures and tests them. The two formed a consortium and have won multiple contracts from SMRT, supplying other batches of trains.
In May last year, a report in The Straits Times noted that a batch of 45 new trains from the consortium were being delivered for use on the North-South and East-West lines.
Both SMRT and LTA said that trains in Singapore are extensively tested before being put into service.
"To ensure that the trains are safe for passenger service at all times, we have been monitoring the defects closely," said Mr Lee.
"A monthly safety assessment is also conducted by the LTA and manufacturer before the train is put into service."
It is not known if any of the defective trains were previously used in service before the defects were detected.
The LTA spokesman said: "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."