Crossing the island from Tuas Link to Pasir Ris, and measuring about 57km, the East-West Line (EWL) is the longest train line in operation in Singapore. In all, there are 35 stations on the EWL, with Jurong East MRT station being one of the busiest rail interchanges/terminal stations on the EW and NS Lines. Since the East-West Line is the most heavily utilised rail line in the mass rapid transit (MRT) network, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) embarked on the renewal of six core systems on this line along with the North-South Line.
As part of the renewal, LTA will be introducing new trains to replace the first-generation trains, and these trains will feature a range of technologies for preventive maintenance and detecting faults proactively to increase reliability. Recently, new MRT trains were being tested on the East-West Line (EWL).
New Trains for the East-West Line
The first two of a fleet of 106 new trains for the North-South and East-West MRT lines (NSEWL) arrived in Singapore in February 2022. These new trains also come with an integrated suite of condition monitoring features to aid pre-emptive maintenance (and) commuter-friendly features such as refreshed LCD screens displaying train travel information.
Decked out in green and red stripes, the design of these new trains was conceptualised in Germany before they were manufactured and assembled in China.
Bombardier Transportation is the supplier of various trains and systems in Singapore’s train network. LTA awarded Bombardier Transportation (before its acquisition by Alstom) the contract to initially supply 66 new MRT trains for the NSEWL in 2018.
The order expanded in 2020 with an additional 40 trains purchased of the same design and specification as part of a “long-term fleet renewal programme”.
Testing of New Trains
After these new trains were delivered, they must be stringently tested before being commissioned for public use. These new trains must first pass the static tests, then they can progress to the dynamic testing phase. Finally, they’re brought to the mainline to be tested after train service hours.
Singapore’s East-West Line is managed and operated by SMRT Corporation. The trains on the East-West Line have continued to achieve more than one million Mean Kilometres Between Failure (MKBF). This has been possible because of the hard work of SMRT’s staff and engineers and the renewal project by LTA and SMRT. Commenting on the same, SMRT CEO, Ngien Hoon Ping, said: “We pursue collective and continuous excellence. This is the heart of our Kaizen philosophy.” SMRT CEO further added: “We need to work together – across government, regulators, public transport operators, suppliers, partners, and the communities we serve. When we work together, the good we achieve is not just for ourselves now, but also for the generations that come after us.”
The video of the new trains being tested on the East-West Line was posted by a YouTuber. Singaporeans like the design and interior of the new trains.
Many Singaporeans can’t wait to hop on to the freshly minted trains when they finally enter the tracks. Bombardier and SMRT Corp will also work together to maintain the train assets to the highest levels of reliability and availability throughout their lifecycle and ensure that the trains move people safely and on time to their destinations.
About the Author
Arthur has been working as a data scientist at a leading multi-national company in Singapore for the past 15 years. He is a columnist and likes to share his views on emerging technologies like digital twins, AI, IoT, and more.