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.

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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

Station Stories: Bras Basah MRT Station

Bras Basah MRT Station: Assistant Station Manager (ASM), Muhammad Ashek Bin Mohd Ali has been with SMRT for six years. As an ASM, part of his duties include patrols around the station.

SMRT ASM Ashek

Being the deepest MRT station in the train network, Ashek has to cover a fair bit of ground. Each patrol takes him up to twenty minutes. During the patrol, Ashek has to be vigilant as he keeps a lookout for defects, safety threats as well as hazards to ensure the safety of passengers.

ASM Ashek's patrol route includes the water feature on the ground level of Bras Basar Station.

ASM Ashek’s patrol route includes the reflection pool on the ground level of Bras Basah Station.

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Bishan Depot

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong found the time in his busy schedule to visit Bishan Depot for the first time.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by his wife, Madam Ho Ching, as well as Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew and NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing.

PM Lee visits SMRT Bishan DepotArriving just after midnight, the Prime Minister was invited to view how sleepers are replaced by our own resleepering team.

Wooden sleepers can weigh up to 250kgs. It takes 4 men to lift one sleeper.

Wooden sleepers can weigh up to 250kgs. It takes 4 men to lift one sleeper.

He also observed how the Track Tamping Vehicle, Rail Grinding Vehicle and the Multi-Function Vehicle all play a part in rail maintenance.

The Track Tamping Vehicle uses vibrations to settle the ballast, which are the small rocks found at the tracks.

The Track Tamping Vehicle uses vibrations to settle the ballast, which are the small rocks found at the tracks.

PM Lee inspects are refurbished train

Prime Minister Lee was also shown the different refurbishments that SMRT has done on the trains, such as the new signalling system, the Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (a quieter and more energy efficient motor), and the Linear Variable Displacement Transducer, a sensor which checks the alignment of the third rail which supplies power to trains.

The new signalling system will service intervals to be shortened to 100 seconds from the current 120 seconds.

The new signalling system will service intervals to be shortened to 100 seconds from the current 120 seconds.

The night visit ended with a rousing dialogue session where staff took the opportunity to speak to PM Lee personally.

PM Lee speaks to the staffPM Lee visit, group shot

PM Lee speaks to the staff at SMRT

Just before he left Bishan Depot, PM Lee expressed his gratitude to the staff present for their hard work on keeping the rail system working well. He also posted this message on his Facebook the following day,

Work on MRT trains does not stop when the last passengers alight and the stations close. I paid a midnight visit to…

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, 26 May 2015

SMRT amongst first rail operators in Asia to be awarded with ISO 55001 certificate

SMRT amongst first rail operators in Asia to be awarded with ISO 55001 certificate as part of its drive towards higher train service reliability

SMRT was presented with the ISO 55001 certificate on 4th May 2015 by TUV SUD PSB, a German-based technical services provider, after months of preparation and reviews in the way it manages its rail assets such as trains, tracks and signaling systems. By benchmarking its maintenance processes and service levels to best-of-class international standards, this certification marks a key milestone for the transport operator towards higher rail reliability and service excellence.

L-R: SMRT President and Group CEO Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT Trains Managing Director Mr Lee Ling Wee, TUV SUD ASEAN Vice President Mr Clement Teo, TUB SUD ASEAN CEO Mr Richard Hong

L-R: SMRT President and Group CEO Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT Trains Managing Director Mr Lee Ling Wee, TUV SUD ASEAN Vice President Mr Clement Teo, TUV SUD ASEAN CEO Mr Richard Hong

The achievement of the ISO 55001 standard is part of the journey that SMRT has embarked on to expand its asset management approach and maintenance regime from one that relies on OEM recommendation (fixed maintenance intervals) to one that includes identification, analysis and mitigation of asset failure risks, where intervals of maintenance works are regularly reviewed based on asset conditions. This risk-based maintenance regime embraces the predictive maintenance approach and will lead towards better resource optimization, reliability and commuter experience.

Mr Lee Ling Wee, Managing Director for SMRT Trains said, “The SMRT Trains team has worked hard for the past year to review and align our systems and processes to ISO 55001 standards. The achievement of this certification affirms that we are moving in the right direction. Having the right systems and processes in place, we now have to apply ourselves to each category of critical assets within the network that we operate, to deliver the highest standards of train service reliability.”

SMRT is currently the only rail operator in Singapore to have the ISO 55001 or equivalent asset management certification, and the second in Asia after Hong Kong’s MTR.

Station Stories: Jurong East MRT Station

Jurong East MRT Station

It’s no easy feat working at one of Singapore’s busiest MRT stations, yet if you ask Assistant Station Manager (ASM) Amran Bin Abdul, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

ASM Amran has been working at Jurong East MRT Station for the last 16 years. In fact this was his first and only posting. Together with Station Manager Yeow Meng Chai, they are the longest serving SMRT staff at Jurong East MRT Station.

JurongEastPSC

Station Manager Yeow Meng Chai and Assistant Station Manager Amran are on hand to assist commuters

 

ASM Amran, who initially wanted to be posted at Choa Chu Kang MRT Station, due to the close proximity of his home, has developed many skills since he first started; one of it being patience. “Before I joined SMRT I use to be very hot tempered, but being thrust into the service line, I’ve learnt to mellow down”.

Over the years, ASM Amran’s job has been getting harder. This is due to increase of passengers at Jurong East MRT station. With many new shopping centers in the vicinity, there’s been a surge in passengers. However, ASM Amran is not one to cower from a challenge. “We have an able team here and with strong team work we will always provide excellent service to our passengers”. The number of passengers is expected to increase once the hospital and the hotel are open. But Jurong East MRT Station is equipped to handle a larger number of passengers. In 2011, under the Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP), the construction of two new platforms and a new track was completed. It is now the only station in Singapore that has six platforms.

Currently, the two new platforms; A and B, are only operational during peak periods. (Monday to Friday, 7am to 10am, 5pm to 8pm)

JurongEastPlatforms

 

Did you know?

  • Among all of SMRT’s stations, Jurong East MRT Station has the most number of surveillance cameras. There are a total of 322.
  • Jurong East MRT Station has 6 platforms. Platform A, D & E serves the North-South line. Platform C & E serves the East line and Platform F serves the West line.
  • It has the most number of Customer Service Ambassadors; 16 during the morning shift and 9 during the evening shift.

Station Stories: Changi Airport MRT Station

Station Stories: We kick off this series of stories on our MRT stations with the terminus stations, the stations at the very end of the lines. 

CG2: Changi Airport Station

The Changi Airport MRT Station (CG2) station was opened on 27 February 2002 by the then Minister for Transport, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong as one of the terminal Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations for the East West Line. It is located in between Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

With no residential areas nearby, Station Manager Muhd Azhari and his team has the unique experience of dealing with tourists. “It is a challenging task as tourists often gets confused and some have difficulties conversing in English” says Muhd Azhari, who has been in SMRT for 8 years.

Changi Airport MRT Station Passenger Service Centre

The Station Staff at Changi Airport MRT Station’s Passenger Service Centre

A.Halid, Assistant Station Manager who has been working in SMRT for 18 years adds “Many passengers who just arrived in Singapore, often asks us on hotels that they can stay in. In most cases they don’t want the high-end hotels but instead asks about the cheap backpackers’ inn. To ensure that we are able to provide our commuters with the best answer we took the initiative to consolidate a list of hotels in Singapore”.

At Changi Airport MRT Station, peak hours are dependent on flight schedules. The station sees a higher flow of commuters from Thursdays to Saturdays as well as Sunday evenings.

Here are 5 things you may not know about Changi Airport MRT Station

  • Changi Airport MRT station has the widest platforms of any underground station in Singapore. It’s 26.5 meters wide.
  • It is one of the three MRT stations that have fare gates on the same level as the platform. (The other two stations are Bishan and Expo station)
  • Almost every day at least one passenger leaves a belonging behind at the platform.
  • The station has a list of every hotel in Singapore as well as the closest MRT station to these places. This is because Changi Airport Station staff commonly receive queries on hotel locations.
  • Grateful tourists thankful for the good service from station staff have presented them with soft toys and keep sakes as farewell gifts. You can see these displayed at the Passenger Service Centre.
Soft toys on display at the Changi Airport MRT Station PSC

Soft toys on display at the Changi Airport MRT Station PSC

Renewing the ageing infrastructure

The Yew Tee to Kranji stretch on the North South Line was described in The Straits Times, as the “most problematic section” of the North South Line (“Wanted: Experts to give rail network thorough health check”). In this blog post, Mr Lee Ling Wee, Managing Director of SMRT Trains, explains how SMRT is working to improve reliability not just along the 4.1 km of tracks between Yew Tee and Kranji, but throughout the North South-East West Line.

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Station Stories: Pasir Ris MRT Station

Station Stories: We kick off this series of stories on our MRT stations with the terminus stations, the stations at the very end of the lines. 

EW 1: Pasir Ris Station

Opened in 1989, Pasir Ris MRT Station (EW1) is the eastern terminal station of the East West Line. It is also the first above ground MRT Station in Singapore to begin installing half height platform screen doors.

At the heart of Pasir Ris New Town and located right next to White Sands Shopping Centre, Pasir Ris MRT Station, is helmed by a seven man strong team throughout the day.

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