SMRT and University of Birmingham Work to Enhance Rail Reliability

SMRT Corporation and the University of Birmingham, one of the top universities for railway science and education in the United Kingdom, have embarked on four research projects that will enhance the reliability of railway networks.

About 20 SMRT engineers will be involved in research carried out at the University’s state-of-the-art railway laboratories. When necessary, SMRT equipment and engineering staff will be sent to the UK or vice versa depending on the nature of the projects.

The projects are guided by a Master Research & Collaboration Agreement signed between the University of Birmingham and SMRT Corporation promoting joint research into railway engineering by both signatories. Under the agreement, researchers from the University and SMRT Trains will look into projects to improve the reliability of rail infrastructure and power systems.

Commenting on the joint research effort, Mr Ng Bor Kiat, Chief Technology Officer, SMRT Corporation, said: “We are delighted to partner the University of Birmingham once again to deepen and broaden expertise in railway engineering. These research projects complement the effort by SMRT Trains to work towards a reliability-centric maintenance approach. This will benefit commuters as engineering staff can intervene proactively to fix faults before they occur.

“At the heart of this effort is the increased use of condition monitoring devices, simulation tools and data analytics, which are among the research areas spearheaded by the UoB-SMRT research agreement. The pairing of academic know-how with the experience gained by heavy rail engineers is a valuable combination that will lead to better reliability, availability and safety. In short, a better journey for rail commuters.”

Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, said: “We are delighted to be commencing four interesting research projects with SMRT, which will enable us to demonstrate the benefits of our research on a live network. Three of the projects will focus of condition monitoring of different railway assets, and will take forward research that has been previously developed in the laboratory. The fourth project will provide a detailed understanding of the dynamic loads on the railway power system.”

In October 2016, SMRT Corporation and the University of Birmingham jointly announced the launch a post graduate course in railway engineering. The three-year course is the first of its kind for engineers here. It is jointly administered by the SMRT Institute, which serves as the academic centre for SMRT Corporation, and the University’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), whose railway education programmes attract staff from leading metro operators such as the London Underground and the Taipei Metro.

The course is unique because it provides course participants with perspectives from an institute of higher learning for railway education as well as real-world operator experience. The intellectual framework provided by the University of Birmingham, when strengthened with lessons learned by SMRT Trains in the course of running heavy and light rail systems, will contribute to accelerating the development of our rapidly growing railway engineering workforce. This is achieved by providing a strong academic foundation for course participants, tempered by knowledge of how classroom concepts are applied in real-world situations.

Isaac’s very own Train City

At the age of six, Isaac Nathaniel D’Souza was presented with a SMRT train model by one of our colleagues. His fascination with trains grew exponentially, and he is now the proud architect of his very own SMRT Land – an intricately-built miniature city of electrical train models – right in his home.


A true blue train fanatic, Isaac is a Service Ambassador at Jurong East Station. In his quest to build the city, he spent a whooping five-digit figure to remodel his room and purchase materials for details such as the roundel replica and train livery on his walls. Isaac is inspired by his visits to different parts of Japan, where most of his electrical train models come from

SMRT Staff Commended at Singapore Tourism Awards

Delivering a world-class transport service that is safe, reliable and customer-centric is at the heart of what we do.

Senior Station Manager Katijah Bte Sarbu won the Best Customer Service for Transport award at the Singapore Tourism Awards 2017. This was SMRT Corporation’s fourth consecutive win in the category.


Katijah receiving the award from Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (centre) and Mr Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (left).

Katijah has been with SMRT Trains for 32 years. “I love to interact with people. This job allows me to meet people from all walks of life. Through conversations with my passengers, I get to learn something more about them. After some time, it feels like I am meeting up with old friends. We even talk about where to find good food and how each other’s family is doing.” Now stationed at Paya Lebar, she is responsible for the station’s daily operations. She shared that she always tells herself to perform her job to the best of her ability. “As long as my passengers are happy, I am happy.”

She said she is motivated by people featured in the media who had either won service-related awards or had their extraordinary acts published. “These stories help me to identify the different approach that may help me in assisting my passengers in a different way.” When asked to share advice with new joiners, she said it was important to be calm and empathetic. “Always listen attentively to passengers, in order to come up with the right solution to help them. Be objective instead of being too emotional as this will affect decision making. Be open-minded and do not be afraid of challenges.”

Katijah added that she went through a difficult period when her son passed away due to an illness last year. “I hope that this award will motivate and inspire my two other children. No matter how difficult the situation is, nothing is impossible if we put our hearts into it.”

Bus Captain Chia Boon Siong was a finalist in the same category. Having been in the industry for four years, he believes that it is important to treat his passengers with patience and care. He pays special attention to senior citizens, and ensures they board and alight safely, and that elderly commuters are seated before the bus moves off. He once helped an elderly man and wheelchair-bound wife board the bus on a rainy day. Although he was thoroughly drenched in the process, he still continued his work in a most cheerful manner.

A familiar figure to passengers who take Service 858, Boon Siong says that he enjoys helping others, “I always want to bring a smile to every person who journeys with me. Though it seems like a small thing, it makes me very happy.” He has taken the initiative to learn the names and general information of key landmarks along the route so that he can respond effectively to commuter queries.

Organised by the Singapore Tourism Board, the Singapore Tourism Awards celebrates and recognises individuals and organisations in the tourism sector for delivering outstanding experiences and demonstrating enterprise excellence.

Thank you!

Thank you Minister Khaw Boon Wan for your kind words of encouragement and appreciation to all public transport staff.