'Tip-up' seats on new MRT trains to allow for more passenger standing room

The Land Transport Authority unveiled trains that can pack in 100 more commuters each, through the use of tip-up seats. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Two trains which will join the North-South East-West MRT fleet soon will be able to accommodate more commuters during rush hours.

They will have rows of tip-up seats, which the operator will tip up or down depending on passenger load. Once up or down, they are locked in place, and only the operator can access the unlocking mechanism.

If all these seats - 12 per car - are tipped up, each six-car train will have standing room for 100 more passengers, increasing its peak capacity by around 6 per cent to 1,700.

Another feature of the new trains is their red-and-green livery, representing the colours of the two lines, and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) logo. This signifies the ownership of MRT trains under the New Rail Financing Framework, where the Government owns all rail assets.

Previously, the operator owned the train fleet.

The new trains are also fitted with automatic alerts which will be activated once any of their power collector shoes - which draw electricity from the power-supplying rail - is dislodged. This helps the operator to fix any problem in a more timely fashion.

The LTA showed the media one of the new trains at the Tuas Depot on Wednesday (Feb28).

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Twelve Kawasaki-Sifang trains - all slated for the North-South and East-West lines - will have these three new features.

Two have arrived and will go into service in the second half of the year. The rest are slated to go into service next year - along with the remaining batch of new trains delivered from last year.

By then, the two lines will have 198 trains, up from 181 now.

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Meanwhile, the authority said 66 first-generation trains - which have been in service for 30 years - will be retired in the next few years.

A contract for their replacement will be awarded in the second quarter of this year, and the new trains are slated to arrive from 2022.

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