MRT maintenance may not be 'sexy', but it is critical to keep rail network humming: Minister Khaw

Staff carrying out maintenance work on an MRT train.
Staff carrying out maintenance work on an MRT train. PHOTO: KHAW BOON WAN'S BLOG

SINGAPORE - Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has highlighted the important role MRT maintenance plays in keeping Singapore's rail network in good shape.

In his latest blog post titled "Maintenance isn't sexy" on Sunday (Oct 25) morning, Mr Khaw said this was "critical work" as a major train disruption could happen should the wear and tear of equipment not be remedied quickly.

And there is only a narrow 3 1/2-hour window for preventive and corrective maintenance to be carried out once train service ends, he said.

Mr Khaw revealed the three major tasks that maintenance personnel faced in that window - check all trains to be put in service the next morning (there are 190 trains for the whole MRT network); inspect the entire track system, tunnels and viaducts once every four to seven days; and swap out defective track components like rails, power supply and electrical cables.

For these tasks to be "done properly" even as the rail network continues to expand, he said many more engineers and technical staff will be needed.


"We are still short of skilled staff. We need to expand the manpower for the entire rail industry," he added.

To help detect the equipment wear and tear earlier, the two MRT operators - SMRT and SBS Transit - will also be installing real-time monitoring systems on trains and at critical locations.

"This raises productivity and enhances our predictive maintenance regime, allowing for timely maintenance before something fails and an incident occurs," Mr Khaw said.

Read his full blog post here.