Results of the investigations into the 7 July NSEWL incident

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT held a press conference this afternoon (29 Jul’15) to update the media that the joint investigation, which was carried out with the assistance from consultants from Sweden and Japan, have determined the cause of the North-South East-West Line (NSEWL) train disruption on 7 July 2015.

 

What was the root cause?

It was found that water was dripping onto the third rail near an insulator in a stretch of tunnel between Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place. The water (which had natural mineral content) reduced the effectiveness of the insulator. This led to electricity flowing from the third rail into the ground.

This activated the 64P safety mechanism which tripped the power system, causing our trains to stall. The 64P, or “Touch Voltage Protection Relay” is a safety feature on the NSEWL and is used in rail systems all over the world.

 

What we are doing to prevent a similar incident.

To prevent similar incidents from happening again, SMRT has checked the entire NSEWL tunnels to ensure that there are no other leaks with dripping water.

All third rail insulators are being replaced, starting with those that have shown signs of ineffectiveness. Data loggers are also being installed at all substations to better monitor the condition of the insulators.

The 64P settings will be raised from 136 Volts to 200V, which will make the network less sensitive to power trips. The higher voltage setting, however, is in line with international standards, so the safety of our passengers will not be compromised by this adjustment.

The full media release can be found on the SMRT website here.

Titans in our network

With millions of passengers in transit through the MRT network every day, we need an efficient and accurate fare collection system to handle the high passenger volume. To meet this challenge, our engineers had developed the Titan Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates which have several smart features.
The Titans operate at 100 frames per second- faster than most CCTV cameras- which enable them to accurately detect and differentiate people from inanimate objects. The cutting-edge sensor technology can detect ankle movements which allow the gates not only to operate safely in high commuter traffic but to detect fare evasion as well.

Titans SMRT

Titan Automatic Fare Collection gates-SMRT

The Titans are 10% more energy efficient, sleeker and require less maintenance than the old fare gates. We are progressively replacing the older generation gates with the Titans. You can spot them easily with their LED and LCD displays.

Ho Wai Yin, Principal Engineer, Systems and Technology is proud to be involved in the design and deployment of the new SMRT fare gates. I wouldn’t have imagined doing this when I first joined as a Technical Officer in 1993.

Ho Wai Yin

Ho Wai Yin- 1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have accumulated fare system knowledge and engineering expertise within SMRT since 1987. Some of my Fare Systems teammates have been working in this area for more than 25 years. Throughout the years, we have built a very cohesive team, and a very supportive towards one another.

Fare Payment Evolution

Until the MRT came about, commuters paid cash fares to bus conductors when boarding a bus. This changed in 1987 when a fully automated fare collection system was implemented to handle the large volume of train passengers daily.

An integrated ticketing system was implemented in 1990 to provide a common fare payment system on both rail and bus services, which by then, had a total daily ridership of 2.6 million. The magnetic ticket, called the “farecard”, became the first major stored-value facility to be introduced in Singapore. Transit Link Pte Ltd ( TransitLink) was set up to collect and disburse fares received from passengers.

SMRT Magnetic Farecards

SMRT Magnetic Farecards

SMRT Magnetic Farecards with a wide range of designs

SMRT Magnetic Farecards with a wide range of designs

To enhance Singapore’s transport ticketing system, LTA introduced contactless smart cards as the new ticket medium. Following pilot tests in 2000 and 2001, LTA rolled out the Enhanced Integrated Fare System, using contactless smart cards known as ez-link cards, to replace in the magnetic cards. This was a significant milestone in the evolution of e-payments in public transport.

Pilot tests for contactless smart cards were conducted in 2000 and 2001

Pilot tests for contactless smart cards were conducted in 2000 and 2001

With the launch of the new ez-link card system, Transitlink was appointed to manage the sale, revaluation, replacement and refund of ez-link cards.
TransitLink, which was incorporated in Novemeber 1987, later became a subsidiary of LTA in April 2010.

ang-siew-tee SMRTAng Siew Tee, who has been with SMRT since 1992, was part of the group that tested the new ez-link system before it was implemented nation-wide. This picture was taken in City Hall MRT station. It was during the trial period when farecards were going to be replaced by ez-link cards. MRT staff were amongst the first to try out the new system.

For more videos like this, check out our YouTube page.

7 Taxis in SMRT

How Different are our Taxis? We look at the Seven Taxi Models that we have on the streets.

SMRT Epica Taxi

SMRT Chevrolet Epica Taxi

Chevrolet Epica

The tinted windows on the Epica keep the interior cooler on sunny days, providing a more comfortable ride.

Engine Capacity: 2ltr
Country of Origin: South Korea
Max. no of passengers: 4
Flag-Down rate: $3.60

SMRT Chrysler C300 Taxi

SMRT Chrysler C300 Taxi

Chrysler C300

The black beauty is the cab of choice for commuters who want to travel in style and comfort, and can claim cab fare.

Engine Capacity: 3ltr
Country of Origin: United States
Max. no of passengers: 4
Flag-Down rate: $5.00

SMRT Hyundai Azera Taxi

SMRT Hyundai Azera Taxi

Hyundai Azera

The Azera has one of the largest engine capacity in the fleet and its Eco-friendly too; running on natural gas for fuel.

Engine Capacity: 3.3ltr
Country of Origin: South Korea
Max. no of passengers: 4
Flag-Down rate: $3.80

SMRT Hyundai Starex Taxi

SMRT Hyundai Starex Taxi

Hyundai Starex

The Starex has facilities built into it to accommodate passengers with wheelchairs.

Engine Capacity: 2.5ltr
Country of Origin: South Korea
Max. no of passengers: 5 + 1 wheelchair bound
Flag-Down rate: $3.90

SMRT London TX4 Taxi

SMRT London TX4 Taxi

London TX4

Wedding couples and commuters who think they are Sherlock Holmes love the TX4. It also has enough room for one wheelchair.

Engine Capacity: 2.5ltr
Country of Origin: China
Max. no of passengers: 6
Flag-Down rate: $3.90

SMRT Ssangyong Rodius- Taxi

SMRT Ssangyong Rodius Taxi

Ssangyong Rodius

The rodius has plenty of room for a family and their luggage, perfect for those jetting off on holiday.

Engine Capacity: 2.7ltr
Country of Origin: South Korea
Max. no of passengers: 7
Flag-Down rate: $3.90

SMRT Toyota Prius Taxi

SMRT Toyota Prius Taxi

Toyota Prius

This Eco-friendly hybrid is spacious, making it perfect for that trip home after shopping.

Engine Capacity: 1.8ltr
Country of Origin: Japan
Max. no of passengers: 4
Flag-Down rate: $3.80

7 July NSEWL disruption investigation updates

Work on improving the robustness of the network of power cables, switches and substations that provides traction power to trains on the North-South East-West Line (NSEWL) has been put on the fast track following the 7 July 2015 power fault that disrupted train services on Singapore’s oldest MRT line.

 

1. What is SMRT doing to prevent an incident similar to 7/7 from happening again?

Work on improving the robustness of the network of power cables, switches and substations that provides traction power to trains on the NSEWL have been put on the fast track.

SMRT will work with LTA to segment the network of cables that supply power to the NSEWL where possible. This improvement will mean that a power fault on one part of the line will be unlikely to disrupt travel on other parts of the network. This is to be done even as trackside components are renewed.

The 7/7 NSEWL disruption underscores the urgency for SMRT engineering staff to renew NSEWL power-related infrastructure and also highlights the importance of condition monitoring efforts initiated by us a year ago.

 

2. How did the NSEWL break down?

SMRT has narrowed down the likely cause of the 7/7 disruption to the insulation of the third rail.

This insulation is part of the trackside infrastructure that is used to protect power cables that supply electricity to the third rail. Investigations point to the likelihood that the insulation of third rail could have affected the supply of traction power which in turn led to the tripping of the Touch Voltage Protection Relay (known by its code 64P) along multiple stretches of the NSEWL.

 

3. What is 64P and why did it have an impact on the decision to halt train services?

To protect the safety of commuters, the 64P relays are designed as a safety measure to mitigate the possibility of unacceptable touch voltage.

During the 7/7 disruption, the decision was made to halt train services temporarily to investigate the cause of the relays being tripped. It was these trips that resulted in loss of power that affected the train motors, air-conditioning and cabin lighting.

This decision was made to avoid a situation where a power trip would leave trains stalled in tunnels or on viaducts, which would then force commuters to detrain on track.

 

4. What was done to investigate the incident?

SMRT spared no effort to investigate the cause of power trips. The full and comprehensive investigation over the past nine days covered the following areas:

  • 200 km of train tracks on both bounds of the NSEWL;
  • All 67 power substations that support the NSEWL; and
  • All 115 MRT trains that were used on 7 July, and 26 additional trains at train depots.

On 11 and 12 July, the team re-enacted the incident on the NSEWL in an effort to trace the cause of the power trips. The re-enactment helped investigators rule out two earlier suspected possibilities for the power trips – two track voltage balancing cables and a relay in a power substation. This led the engineering staff to focus investigation works on the insulation of the third rail as the possible cause.

SMRT approached international operators, including London Underground, for a rail operator’s views on our preliminary assessment of the incident. This is part of SMRT’s pledge for an independent consultation into the 7 July incident, which is essential for the Company to learn from the incident and deal with it decisively to strengthen the safety and reliability of the NSEWL.

SMRT has also engaged retired staff to assist.  Two of them were part of the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation team involved in the development of the power network in the early years.  They will assist with concurrent investigative works and mitigation efforts, including the project to segregate the power network of the North-South from the East-West lines.

In the meantime, as the joint investigations by SMRT and LTA continue over the weekend to determine the root cause conclusively, with the support of the appointed external consultants, SMRT is taking all possible precautionary and preventive measures to safeguard the system in terms of safety and service reliability.

 

The full press release can be read on the SMRT Corporate website.

Questions about the 7 July NSEWL incident

A press release on the breakdown of the North-South East-West Line (NSEWL) was made public on 10 July, Friday. The information from that press release answers some frequently asked questions about the incident.

Read more

Inside SMRT: Smooth train traffic with a Depot Controller

When Roslan Bin Mohamed Akif is on duty, he has to ensure that he remains vigilant throughout his shift. Roslan has been with SMRT for the last 21 years and has the mammoth task of controlling the train movements in the depot and ensuring that the highest safety standards are adhered to. Read more

SMRT to improve bus service safety and reliability with the opening of BTEC

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SMRT’s Bus Training and Evaluation Centre (BTEC), Singapore’s first team-based bus training centre, was declared opened today by Guest of Honour, Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport.

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Located at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East, BTEC (formerly known as the Bus Career Development Centre) offers simulator training for bus staff who drive buses and staff who manage bus operations from a command centre.

It was set up in collaboration with e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in September 2014 as part of a joint initiative to drive the professionalisation of Singapore’s bus industry.

The centre was named BTEC to underscore its expanded role as a centre for research, development, training and evaluation to promote better management of bus service safety and reliability. This is done through closer coordination between Bus Captains and service coordinators, who monitor buses during their journey with the help of GPS satellite trackers.

During the launch, SMS Josephine Teo was given a tour of the facility and hands-on training on the iDSC simulator which employs the latest simulation technologies to create virtual traffic scenarios. This makes it possible for bus captains to be trained and well prepared for situations which may be dangerous for bus drivers to practise in real life, to enhance safe driving skills.

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Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group Chief Executive Officer said: “The establishment of BTEC underscores SMRT’s drive towards better safety and bus service reliability. By using technology as a key enabler through the use of simulators for customised, team and scenario-based learning, we hope to develop a highly skilled and well-trained workforce to better serve all bus commuters in Singapore.

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SMRT has designed and developed the centre which houses an Integrated Driving and Service Control (iDSC) simulator to enable networked training amongst bus captains and service controllers. This structured development of team-based competency will improve bus service reliability and improve commuters’ travelling experience. BTEC will also leverage on a Professional Learning Management System which employs data analytics to constantly monitor driving performance for continuous improvement.

The iDSC simulator will be the first of its kind in Singapore to incorporate a Service Control Management System (SCMS) to allow team-based training. The SCMS allows up to 16 bus captains can to train together with two service controllers to improve deployment and headway, and ultimately reduce bus bunching and improve bus service reliability.

With a total of 16 simulators – eight Full Cabin Simulators and eight Bus Simulator Trainers – BTEC will improve training quality and safety as drivers learn how to navigate different buses, weather, and road conditions virtually before starting on the job.