Heavy investments in maintaining rail network: SMRT

SMRT makes significant investments to maintain and upkeep its rail network ("Reinforce culture of dedication to rail excellence" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; last Friday).

Over the last four quarters of our financial year, SMRT's rail maintenance-related expenditure has accounted for up to 53 per cent of our rail revenue.

The measurement of mean distance travelled by trains before a service delay occurs is an international performance metric used by metros around the world, including Singapore, as one measure of rail service reliability.

Between January and March, the East-West Line achieved a distance of more than 210,000km travelled before a delay of more than five minutes occurred. This is a significant improvement over last year, when trains travelled an average of 165,000km before such a delay occurred.

We agree that this should not be the only metric used as an indicator of rail service reliability.

Mr Chan can refer to the SMRT website for data that demonstrates our commitment to improving the reliability of the North-South and East-West Lines. These include our rail maintenance-related expenses as well as train service availability, train punctuality, train delays and service disruptions. These statistics are updated quarterly.

While it is useful to benchmark against the best in class around the world, straight-line comparisons between different rail networks are difficult to make, as we operate on different models.

As senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan has suggested in the commentary "Long way to catch up with Hong Kong's rail reliability" (May 19), "one reason the MTR can run the system better is that the designer, builder and operator are one and the same party".

We assure Mr Chan that SMRT has indeed embraced a "culture of dedication to rail excellence". Last October, we published a primer, Your Journey Matters, on our ongoing efforts to renew and improve the North-South and East-West Lines. It highlights our investment in condition-monitoring equipment as well as our preventive and predictive maintenance programmes, as part of broader efforts to improve the service and reliability of the rail network.

Lee Ling Wee

Managing Director

SMRT Trains

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2016, with the headline 'Heavy investments in maintaining rail network: SMRT'. Print Edition | Subscribe