SMRT Technical Advisory Panel Expresses Confidence in Rail Renewal Efforts
1. A nine-member international panel of rail experts on SMRT’s Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) has assessed that renewal efforts on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) are making steady progress and will contribute to improved reliability on the MRT network.
2. Upon the conclusion of their two-day Technical Meeting at SMRT, panel members also shared that recent challenges faced by SMRT, such as those on the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling project, mirror the experience of overseas metros like the Hong Kong MTR and London Underground.
3. TAP members also expressed confidence that SMRT’s multi-year, multi-project renewal efforts for the 30-year-old NSEWL will deliver better reliability as more parts of the line are rejuvenated. The time needed for results of the ongoing renewal effort to be experienced by SMRT’s commuters is also in line with large-scale and complex engineering work carried out by metro operators in cities like London and Hong Kong.
4. Formed in May 2013, the TAP provides SMRT with independent expert advice on rail matters to augment the company’s engineering capabilities. TAP members provide independent and impartial technical advice on SMRT's strategy in talent development, and on its processes, use and implementation of technology. The panel includes key participants from four local universities and international experts in rail engineering, and provides deep expertise covering mechanical systems, power systems, communications systems, data systems and higher education in railway technology.
5. Over 21 September and 22 September 2017, rail and engineering experts examined the wide range of projects to renew the ageing NSEWL, as well as broader efforts to improve the reliability, availability and maintainability of MRT services. Among the topics discussed were the use of conditioning monitoring devices and data analytics to improve SMRT’s predictive and pre-emptive maintenance processes, and efforts to strengthen the resilience of the power network.
6. TAP Chairman Professor Alfred Huan said: “The Technical Advisory Panel has noted SMRT's progress and commitment towards even higher performance and reliability for its MRT lines. We are confident that the bold and responsible move by LTA and SMRT towards asset renewal is moving in the right direction, and at the right tempo. Assets on the rail network that have been renewed are showing better reliability. The re-signalling project for SMRT’s oldest and longest MRT line is aligned to the global trend among metros to commission signalling systems that are adaptive and intelligent. TAP members who have worked on signalling projects in MRT networks overseas have noted that teething issues faced by the new signalling system mirror the experience of other metros. Once the new signalling system stabilises, commuters will enjoy faster and more reliable train travel.”
7. Mr Ng Bor Kiat, Chief Technology Officer at SMRT Corporation, said: “We are grateful for the rail experts’ rigorous and extensive examination of SMRT’s processes and technologies applied to improve MRT services. TAP members also addressed the development of our engineering staff. Nurturing our people to their fullest potential is essential for SMRT to grow our capacity and capability to operate an enlarged train network. This meeting keeps SMRT abreast of international best practices that we can benchmark our standards to. The perspectives of TAP members who have served with overseas metros is immensely useful in helping our engineering staff plan, manage and execute complex engineering projects professionally and successfully for the benefit of commuters.”