Every night our colleagues at Permanent Way (P-Way) race against time to conduct maintenance on our tracks. They only have about three-and-a-half hours to finish their tasks each night before the trains start running again. Our track experts took time off their busy schedule to give us insights into their job which is essential for safe rail journeys.
Line Maintenance North Zone
Assistant Engineer, Noor Effendi Bin Sahari and Technical Officer, Muhammad Johaini Bin Abdul Aziz are part of the Line Maintenance Team for the North Zone. They help with the maintenance of tracks that run from Kranji to Orchard MRT station. They do both preventive and corrective maintenance works. Some of these works includes high speed ramp replacement, turn-out bearers replacement and third rail insulator cleaning.
Emergency Response Unit
Assistant Engineer, Ullas Rajan, and his team are ever-ready to rectify faults on our tracks. If the track needs to be urgently accessed to in the day, he and his team will be deployed to the site. They also perform other duties such as noise monitoring of the track. Armed with their equipment, they station themselves at the walkway to ensure that the noise level meets NEA’s standards.
Maintenance and Engineering
With a torchlight and an iPad the patrolling teams walk on the tracks every night looking for defects. The unit is 17 strong and patrols are conducted in teams of two’s or three’s. It takes them four days to cover the entire network due to the limited track access time. From loose fasteners, broken crossing nose bolt to a loose third rail claw, the teams look out for a myriad of defects. They take photos of the defect and also indicate the area with a marker. If there’s a major defect, they will immediately inform the Night Duty Officer.
Our track renewal team is responsible for renewing tracks with defects or with extensive wear and tear. On a good night, the team can replace up to three rails. Tracks are replaced for various reasons, including when there are hairline cracks, corrugation, or if the track makes unusual noises.
Documents are often brought on site for ease of reference but the original documents are often too big to be read easily. The technical support team redraws these documents to A4 so they can be easily read on track. The technical support team also goes on the track to measure the gauge. They use a track trolley to check the gauge of the track. The trolley has in built sensors and our colleagues push it along the track and it collects information. This information will then be downloaded on to a computer and it presents data on Excel charts.