Rethink track work with long-term efficiency in mind

With the recent reports on tunnel flooding and disruptions (Experts call for more measures after MRT disruption; Oct 9, and LTA, SMRT should take the blame, by Mr Patrick Tan Siong Kuan; Forum Online, Oct 10), I am concerned that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and rail operator SMRT will rush into carrying out any intended work.

From previous articles, I understand that the pumps and equipment are installed along and under the tracks.

This makes maintenance, inspections and repairs fraught with danger and difficulty.

With more redundancies being planned to complement the system, much more resources would be needed for the new maintenance regime.

The question is: Has a cost analysis been carried out, so that comparisons can be made to see if other methods of keeping water out of the tunnel would be more effective, more resilient and less resource-intensive?

Has the LTA or SMRT explored covering the short stretch of exposed track with some form of shelter?

There are many advantages to having such a shelter.

Rainwater run-off can be channelled easily into a discharge system.

All equipment and maintenance work associated with keeping rain out of the tunnel would also be above track level.

This allows all kinds of work to be carried out safely and unhindered by train operations.

The track is expected to last well into the next 50 years.

Factors such as long-term efficiency and optimal resource allocation should be key considerations.

Jeffrey Lee Heng Kheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Rethink track work with long-term efficiency in mind'. Print Edition | Subscribe