Singapore

Five DSTA engineers to be attached to SMRT

Embattled rail operator SMRT has called for reinforcement from the defence sector to help review maintenance processes in the wake of serious lapses.

A team of five engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) will be attached to SMRT Trains for six months starting next month, SMRT said yesterday.

DSTA helped SMRT resolve a signalling-related glitch which bedevilled the Circle Line for months last year.

The engineers will review and recommend improvements to SMRT's "operations and support capability, covering organisation and policies, processes and procedures, and competency and training", said SMRT

The Temasek-owned SMRT, led by former chief of defence force Desmond Kuek and some ex-military senior officers, will also have experts from Taipei Metro to help fix its woes.

"The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp will be sending a team to work with SMRT Trains to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review to examine the way we operate and maintain the MRT network," SMRT added.

SMRT has been beset with problems related to staff not adhering to standard operating procedures in recent years.

On Oct 7, MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations were flooded in a downpour, crippling a section of the North-South line for 20 hours.

A maintenance crew may have falsified work logs since last December.

A fire which broke out on the same day was traced to a stray metal bolt left behind after work that was done years before.

In March 2016, two trainee technicians were killed by a train near Pasir Ris station. A court hearing later revealed that track access operating procedures had not been complied with from as early as 2002.

SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming said yesterday: "SMRT needs to critically review its operations and support, and maintenance policies, manuals and procedures."

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng said: "DSTA engineers, due to their job nature, are experienced in critical and precision engineering projects.

"With their engineering expertise and experience, I think they are in a good position... and can play active and positive roles in helping railway engineering to see blind spots, and to elevate the required engineering knowledge to a new level."

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