LTA buys 40 new trains for two oldest MRT lines
Costing about $338m, the trains will serve the North-South and East-West lines from 2024
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday bought 40 new trains for the North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL), as renewal works for Singapore's two oldest MRT lines continue apace.
The trains, costing about $337.8 million, will replace the second- and third-generation trains supplied by Siemens and Kawasaki-Nippon Sharyo that have been running for at least two decades.
The first of these new trains will begin rolling on the tracks in 2024, and will have upgraded features such as more open spaces for strollers and wheelchair users, as well as new LCD screens displaying travel information.
This is the second such contract awarded to rail company Bombardier Transportation, which in 2018 was tasked to replace 66 trains on the NSEWL.
This means 106 of the 198 trains on these two lines, which have been in operation since 1987, will eventually be supplied by Bombardier Transportation.
With this deal, the renewal project for NSEWL, that began in 2012, has passed the halfway mark and the most difficult replacement processes have been completed, Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung said at the contract-signing yesterday.
"The objectives of this renewal are to replace major parts of the system that have been subjected to wear and tear, and also to improve the capability and performance of the system," he said.
"The Government and rail operators have invested billions of dollars and countless hours into this."
In the past decade, the signalling system, or the entire software of the MRT system, has been changed, allowing it to run trains at 100-second instead of 120-second intervals.
More than 100,000 track sleepers, or the parts on which the train wheels sit, have also been mechanically taken out and reinstalled during periods when the trains are not running.
This enabled train services to be maintained despite some periods of higher frequencies of disruptions.
The Government's decision to work more closely with Bombardier Transportation is partly motivated by cost concerns, LTA said yesterday.
This way, trains can be bought at a cheaper price and the types of trains reduced, allowing engineers to know them more thoroughly and react better to faults.
SMRT also signed a 10-year contract with Bombardier Transportation for the company to provide technical support and spare parts for train repairs and system upgrades or replacements for the first 10 years. This can be extended for another 20 years later.
Meanwhile, LTA is exploring ways to keep some of the carriages of these old trains in institutions such as schools and government agencies to preserve the country's transport heritage.