Communications systems for North-South, East-West lines and Bukit Panjang LRT to be upgraded

When completed, the new communications systems are expected to improve safety, reliability and efficiency of the rail lines.
When completed, the new communications systems are expected to improve safety, reliability and efficiency of the rail lines.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The communications system for the North-South and East-West lines and the Bukit Panjang LRT line will be replaced and upgraded, in the most major works of its kind since the lines started operating more than two decades ago.

The upgrading works will involve 75 locations, comprising stations, interchanges, on-line substations, depots and control centres.

A consortium made up of ST Engineering and Siemens Mobility has won the $180 million contract to carry out the project.

The two contractors said on Thursday (Sept 2) that the communications systems act as the digital backbone of rail networks.

These systems manage and connect various components and systems in trains and stations so as to facilitate smooth rail operations, they said.

The new communications systems will be fully operational in 2029.

When completed, it is expected to improve safety, reliability and efficiency of the rail lines.

Mr Chew Men Leong, president of urban solutions at ST Engineering, said the firm will work together with Siemens to ensure that there is zero disruption while deploying the new communications systems to existing systems and train services.

He said the contract award further strengthens ST Engineering's track record in helping rail operators worldwide tackle their mobility challenges.

The North-South and East-West lines, which both opened 34 years ago, are the most heavily utilised rail lines in the MRT network.

The Land Transport Authority had previously announced that it will renew the six core systems of the two lines to improve rail reliability.

This includes replacements of sleepers and third rail in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and the switch to a new signalling system in 2018.

Sleepers help hold the tracks in place, while the third rail supplies power to the trains.

It will also progressively introduce a new fleet of 66 MRT trains to replace the first-generation trains on the two lines.

Correction note: An earlier version of the article said the North-South and East-West Line opened 24 years ago. This has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.