Third Rail Replacement of the North-South East-West Line

Improving the North-South and East-West Lines

SMRT is making good progress in its multi-year, multi-project efforts to renew the NSEWL. This marks the biggest transformation of the Lines since they were built in the 1980s.

SMRT passenger trains are powered by electricity supplied by a powered steel rail. This rail is called the Third Rail because it is fixed next to and slightly above the two running rails on which the train wheels travel.

The Third Rail runs above and alongside the running rails and provides power to the trains.

The Third Rail runs above and alongside the running rails and provides power to the trains.

The Third Rail Assembly holds the third rail in place so that the Current Collector Device on the trains can draw power from it.

The Third Rail Assembly holds the third rail up for the Current Collector Device on the trains to draw power from it.

The Third Rail replacement project now being carried out on the NSEWL marks the first network-wide replacement for the 200km-long Lines since SMRT operations began in 1987. The trains draw electricity from the powered rails through Current Collector Devices (CCD) that make contact with the rail and transfer electricity to the train’s electrical system to power machinery such as the train’s motor, air-conditioning and lights. Each six-car MRT train has 24 CCD shoes that are in constant contact with the Third Rail when in motion and even when it makes a stop at MRT stations.

Over the years, this constant contact adds to wear and tear of the Third Rail and the brackets that are used to support the weight of this steel rail. If the Third Rail sags due to
worn out supports, power faults could occur. The Third Rail replacement project is timely as it will increase the reliability of the electrical system. The work involves turning off the power, unbolting the old Third Rails, replacing them with new ones and re-connecting the rails to the electricity network.

We are making steady progress and expect to complete the work in early 2017.

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