PARLIAMENT

New signalling system on NSL stabilising: Khaw

MR KHAW BOON WAN
MR KHAW BOON WAN

The new signalling system on the North-South Line (NSL) is stabilising, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament yesterday.

He pointed to a dip in the number of delays caused by the resignalling project, noting that there were seven such delays last month, down from 27 in June.

The project is progressing "much better" than expected, Mr Khaw told Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who asked for an update on the resignalling and when the system is expected to stabilise.

Mr Khaw noted that the original schedule was pushed back to allow for more testing outside of service hours. This allowed for many glitches to be discovered and fixed before the trains were tested during service hours, he said.

He expects resignalling on the NSL to be completed by the end of the year, and possibly before December.

There remain some glitches that need to be fixed, he said, citing instances where trains exceed platform screen doors by a certain distance when stopping at the station, or doors failing to open.

ENHANCING MANAGEMENT

LTA will use the commuter feedback from the June 28 incident to enhance the management of service disruptions by the rail operators.

MR KHAW BOON WAN, on the NSL and Tuas West Extension service disruption of about two hours on June 28.

Ms Lee also wanted to know if the Land Transport Authority (LTA) was aware of commuter complaints that updates were not provided in real-time when service on the NSL and Tuas West Extension was delayed for about two hours in the evening on June 28.

Mr Khaw said the LTA monitors all train disruptions closely, and holds rail operators accountable for lapses in providing commuters with timely and accurate information.

He noted that during the major disruption on June 28, 500 SMRT staff were deployed to affected NSL stations to "manage crowds, render assistance and disseminate information to commuters".

More than 3,200 announcements were made in stations and trains to update commuters, the minister added, and real-time updates were also broadcast via social media, websites and LTA's mobile app.

"LTA will use the commuter feedback from the June 28 incident to enhance the management of service disruptions by the rail operators," said Mr Khaw.

On whether more city-bound bus services can be deployed so commuters heading to work during disruptions will not have their journeys affected, he told Ms Lee that buses could not match trains for efficiency, due to the difference in capacity.

The minister also said he remains "optimistic" the MRT network can hit the target of trains travelling one million km between delays of more than five minutes by2019.

He cited the multiple ongoing projects to renew core systems on the ageing North-South and East-West lines, in response to Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) who asked about rail reliability.

So far, the sleepers and power-supplying third rail have been replaced on both lines.

In a written reply to Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan, Mr Khaw said there were 149 MRT delays lasting longer than five minutes from January to August this year. Of these, 90 were due to the installation of the new signalling system on the NSL and Tuas West Extension.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'New signalling system on NSL stabilising: Khaw'. Print Edition | Subscribe