MRT trains 'making good progress' in reliability

Tuas Link Station is one of the four MRT stations on the new Tuas West Extension which will be launched tomorrow.
Tuas Link Station is one of the four MRT stations on the new Tuas West Extension which will be launched tomorrow.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The reliability of MRT trains is improving, with the network clocking over double the distance before having a delay in the first five months of the year, when compared to the same period last year.

Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng described this as "good progress" yesterday, when he revealed that the network travelled 387,000 train-km between delays from January to last month. Last year, it was 168,000 train-km.

Speaking at the new Tuas Link MRT station, at the opening ceremony of the Tuas West Extension, he said: "The LTA (Land Transport Authority) and the operators, both SMRT and SBST, have made very good progress." He added that progress is also being made on the Jurong Region Line, which is expected to be ready in 2025.

Mr Ng announced that in March, a site in Tengah had been gazetted for the depot for the Jurong Region Line, which will connect areas such as the Jurong Innovation District and the Jurong Lake District.

Site preparation works for the depot are ongoing and construction is expected to begin in 2019.

Describing the MRT as the "backbone" of the public transport system, Mr Ng said the Jurong Region Line and the Cross Island Line - which will link Changi to Jurong and is expected to be ready in 2030 - will help improve connectivity for those in the west of the island.

Yesterday, members of the public got the chance to take a sneak peek at the four new stations on the Tuas West Extension - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - ahead of its launch tomorrow. One visitor was Mr K. Thirumurugan, who was there with his wife and two children. Though he does not work in Tuas, he said he had gone for job interviews in the area in the past and found it "ulu" (remote).

"Now with the MRT, it's more convenient to get here," said the 37-year-old engineering executive

The 7.5km Tuas West Extension is expected to serve 100,000 commuters daily. Originally scheduled to begin working end of last year, operations were delayed to allow for "testing and fine-tuning" of its new communications-based signalling system.

As the rest of the East-West Line runs on the fixed-block signalling system, trains will stop for two minutes at Pioneer Station to switch to the new system before continuing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'MRT trains 'making good progress' in reliability'. Print Edition | Subscribe