Expect teething problems on new DTL2: Khaw

The 12-station, 16.6km DTL2 will open officially on Sunday.
The 12-station, 16.6km DTL2 will open officially on Sunday.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has warned commuters about teething problems that the new section of the Downtown Line (DTL2) may face in the first few months of its operation.

In a blog post yesterday morning, he drew an analogy between the new MRT line and the teething pains of his first daughter.

"My wife and I felt helpless, not quite knowing what to do to relieve our girl's discomfort," he wrote.

"Well, I will soon experience my first rail line's 'teething'."

The 12-station, 16.6km DTL2 will open officially on Sunday. It starts in Bukit Panjang, and passes through the Bukit Timah corridor towards Rochor before connecting to the Downtown Line 1 (DTL1) at Bugis station.

Mr Khaw said that engineers from the Land Transport Authority and SBS Transit conducted thousands of tests on the system, but they could not "fully replicate how the system will actually perform in a live environment involving thousands of commuters".

He said: "The engineers told me to expect a 'bedding-in' period of several months before the system stabilises. This is common for all new lines."

The DTL1, which opened in December 2013, suffered its own share of disruptions. A train fault caused the line to break down on its first day of operations. A few days later, it broke down again after a power trip.

Mr Khaw also mentioned disruptions in January and March last year that involved a train's emergency brake and a power trip.

"This time round, when we need to integrate a new stretch of the line with another that is already in operation, we can expect more challenges," he said.

However, he added: "We are working hard to minimise any disruptions in this teething process. We must also anticipate the worst, and have drawer plans for contingencies in the event that disruptions do occur.

"We want to be proud parents, not stressed-out ones."

Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'Expect teething problems on new DTL2: Khaw'. Print Edition | Subscribe