Media Release - Thales and SMRT Trains Partner on Next-Generation Rail Signalling Technologies for Greener Rides in Singapore

22 September 2022 


Thales and SMRT Trains Partner on Next-Generation Rail Signalling Technologies for Greener Rides in Singapore


  • Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) systems runs on traction power that is inherently green and offers an environmentally sustainable alternative for the nation’s residents.
  • The Automatic Train Control system, developed by Thales during the re-signalling of the North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL), integrates Smart and Green Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) algorithms.
  • These Green CBTC algorithms enable an automated, driverless train that follows optimized curves to save energy while improving punctuality – making Singapore’s oldest rail network more reliable and sustainable.
  • This partnership between Thales and SMRT Trains to further develop the next-generation Green CBTC aims to evaluate the operational effectiveness of its green features using data analytics, and to deepen the potential uses of such intelligent application to reduce traction energy of the NSEW lines by 15%.


As part of its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, SMRT Trains has partnered Thales on a key initiative called “The Next-Generation Green CBTC Project”, which aims to reduce electricity consumption and further improve traction energy efficiency of the North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL), which are the oldest in Singapore’s rail network.


Thales’ SelTracTM CBTC signalling system first entered into service on NSEWL in 2017 and has since enhanced signalling system reliability and passenger experience. As NSEWL are managed by CBTC signalling, the traction-related actions of acceleration, braking and coasting are controlled by the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system.


Since its entry into service, Thales’ Automatic Train Control (ATC) system running on these lines has developed smart algorithms on how a train is controlled, following optimised running curves to achieve best energy-saving results with negligible impact on travel time.


For instance, it uses coasting techniques (where the train is running with the electricity supply to its traction motors shut off and the brakes are not applied) in some predefined locations between the stations – which have been carefully identified to optimize its green features. The topography of the lines and the train speed at different locations of the MRT lines are fully integrated in the software, maximising the use of train coasting mode and thus, saving energy.


At present, traction usage constitutes 60% of total energy use on NSEWL. The direct impact to energy usage on NSEWL from both train movement profiles and operational profiles will be analyzed using revenue operational data collected by the SelTracTM CBTC system to continuously improve the algorithms and recommend suitable changes. By improving train movement profiles through the signalling system and making minor modifications to operational procedures, SMRT Trains and Thales aim to meet a target of 15% reduction in traction power – inherently making passenger rides on NSEWL greener.


“In support of Singapore’s ambitions towards net zero emissions by 2050, Thales is proud to partner SMRT Trains on the Next-Generation Green Communications-Based Train Control Project This serves as a testament to how Thales is working closely with our local customers to provide cutting-edge technology solutions to real-world challenges. Through this collaboration, we’re excited to provide more reliable and greener passenger journeys for Singapore’s commuters.” Emily Tan, Country Director & Chief Executive, Thales in Singapore


“This joint development of the Next-Generation Green CBTC system on NSEWL is a project that shows SMRT’s commitment to long-term sustainability and net-zero emissions. We are glad to partner Thales to enable energy-optimised train operations. In view of rising electricity costs, any reduction of energy usage in our operations will contribute to greater productivity and financial sustainability.” Lam Sheau Kai, President, SMRT Trains


Over the last decade, Thales has reinforced its position as a leading transportation provider for ticketing, communication and signalling solutions in Singapore. In February 2022, Thales and SMRT Trains signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and leverage digital technologies such as Data Analytics to enhance rail maintenance and operations to deliver reliable and sustainable rides in Singapore. This Green CBTC initiative serves as a testament to the strong partnership Thales has with the Singapore rail operator to make green railway journeys a reality, and also marks the 10th anniversary of Thales being selected by SMRT to provide its renowned signalling solutions for Singapore’s oldest rail lines.