Parliament: Half of major MRT upgrading to be completed by June; rest to be completed by early 2020s

A programme to replace the signalling system on the North-South line has wrapped up, while that for the East-West line is "more than 90 per cent" done, and will be done by June.
A programme to replace the signalling system on the North-South line has wrapped up, while that for the East-West line is "more than 90 per cent" done, and will be done by June.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Three out of six major renewal programmes for the North-South, East-West MRT lines will be completed by middle of this year, with the remaining three slated for completion by early-2020s.

As such, commuters should expect early closures and late openings of the train network to continue beyond June to give engineers more time to do carry out such upgrading work.

In a joint statement on Wednesday (March 7), the Land Transport Authority and rail operator SMRT said programmes to replace the rail sleepers and power-supplying third rail have been completed.

A programme to replace the signalling system on the North-South line has wrapped up, while that for the East-West line is "more than 90 per cent" done, and will be done by June.

Three other upgrading programmes will also be rolled out soon - upgrading the power supply system to cope with the higher train load; replacing track circuit system (a system related to the signalling system); and the replacement of 66 first-generation trains.

As such, commuters can expect shorter hours on these lines to continue "beyond June 2018".

Speaking during his ministry's Budget debate on Wednesday (March 7), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We are determined to make our system among the best in the world. Until all the ageing assets are fully replaced and upgraded, we may still encounter some delays or disruptions.

 
 

"But we are doing our best to eliminate such risks and should they happen, to minimise inconvenience to commuters."

He said the shorter operating hours on Fridays and weekends will continue, but did not say when they will end.

Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) had asked on Tuesday if these shorter hours will become "a permanent feature".