Making Track Inspection Safe, Efficient and Productive

Every night, patrollers walk the railway lines to check on the condition of the tracks. Running rails (rails on which the train wheels are supported and guided) are important assets that may affect passenger comfort, journey time or even the safety of operations if they are damaged. As running rails are subjected to wear and tear, capturing and analysing rail-wear data allows efficient and more timely planning of long-term running rail asset renewal.

These inspections, when done manually, are time consuming and can be physically straining for staff. In a bid to improve the effectiveness of rail inspection, SMRT Trains’ Maintenance Permanent Way team worked with GRAW, a measurement-systems vendor to develop a custom-made measurement device, known as the Laser Track Trolley to allow quicker, continuous and more accurate inspection of the running rails.

The Laser Track Trolley measures not only running rail wear but also track geometry data at the same time. It improves data coverage and reduces the number of operations required for inspection. Data collected is then recorded in an integrated control panel and subsequently synced to its software for analysis by the engineers. Incorporating the Trolley into SMRT’s maintenance regime has enhanced productivity by freeing up valuable track access for other maintenance and renewal activities.

With its modular, portable and user-friendly design, the Laser Track Trolley allows running rail inspection to be conducted efficiently.

Mazlan Bin Mohamed Ali, Technical Officer, Permanent Way using the Laser Track Trolley during Engineering Hours

The Laser Track Trolley initiative has improved the safety and workplace health of SMRT maintenance staff. What’s notable is that the Laser Track Trolley can be flexibly deployed on other rail networks. SMRT is also exploring possible ways of adapting the same technology for maintenance of other critical rail assets such as the power rail, track foundation and tunnel infrastructure.

On 20 Nov, 2018, the Permanent Way division of SMRT Trains won the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) International Railway Group Award 2018 for Improvement within Health and Safety. The award was given in recognition for their maintenance initiative of the Laser Track Trolley, which has enhanced infrastructure asset integrity and improved workforce safety and health.

Jean-Francois Chassin (L), Principal Fellow with Tan Jun Khiang (R) Senior Engineer from SMRT Permanent Way division receiving the International Railway Group Award 2018 for Improvement within Health and Safety

Paving the Way for Better Journeys III – Survey Winners

Better Journeys 3 SMRT Brochure

SMRT Trains is working to renew the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), Singapore’s oldest and most heavily utilised MRT lines.

In May, SMRT published ‘Paving the Way for Better Journeys: Edition 3’ to inform residents of these upgrading efforts that aim to bring commuters better connectivity, greater convenience, more comfortable rides, timely information, smoother transitions, and safer and more reliable journeys.

This complex set of engineering projects is the first major upgrade for the lines since operations began in 1987. With trains serving commuters around 20 hours every day, work crews optimise the remaining hours to maintain and renew the network.

Thank you for your feedback and support. We take your comments seriously, and will continue our rail renewal efforts to provide you with better journeys.

The following winners have won an exclusive stored-value card, and will receive an email from us shortly. If you did not provide your email address, do look out for a phone call.

Click the image to view a larger version.

Wheels@Ubin 2018

Participants at the Wheels@Ubin event last Friday (2 Mar) experienced a new twist to first and last mile connectivity when SMRT taxi partners picked them up from their homes and brought them safely to Changi Sailing Club, where they were then ferried to Pulau Ubin aboard a Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) landing craft. They were then ferried to the RSN Museum at Changi Naval Base. From their door-step right to Ubin and back, Wheels@Ubin participants who relied on mobility aids were in safe hands.

First-time volunteer Lee Kuan Yee said, “This is a good initiative and I am glad to be part of this meaningful event.” His assigned beneficiary, Tan Bee Lian, was at Pulau Ubin for the first time. The 50-year-old, who has congenital cerebral palsy since birth, thoroughly enjoyed her day, “I had a fun and exciting day, and I’m very happy with the transport arrangements.” 

Lee Kuan Yee & Tan Bee Lian

Another first-timer to Pulau Ubin is Jurani Bin Basri. The 52-year old who had a stroke six years ago said, “I was excited to be outdoors. This event is also a great platform for me to meet and make friends.” His accompanying taxi driver, Sim Hee Hock, said: “This is my second time volunteering for this event. It was a heartwarming experience to provide assistance to passengers with mobility needs.” 

Jurani Bin BasriSim Hee Hock & Lim Chye Lye

Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, SMRT President and Group CEO, Mr Desmond Kuek, and SMRT Taxis & Private Hire Services Managing Director, Mr Tony Heng lent their support for the event. Mr Kuek said: “Last year, as part of SMRT’s 30th Anniversary, we set up the $30 million Gift of Mobility Fund to better the lives of the needy and those with special needs. Today, we are delighted to support this meaningful project to provide Wheels@Ubin beneficiaries with greater mobility. It is heartening to see many of our Taxi partners volunteering their time to support the event. Quite a few of our partners have even taken time off from driving to spend the day with these beneficiaries. This is the spirit of SMRT’s vision of ‘Moving People, Enhancing Lives.”

Taxi PartnersTony & CEORSN Fast Craft Utility

Wheels@Ubin is a community project founded by Dennis Quek and Wilson Ang in 2015, which aims to raise awareness of accessibility in Singapore.