New Tuas depot will be among biggest here and feature new technology

The new 26-hectare Tuas Depot is the largest train depot. It has an underfloor tandem wheel lathe which is capable of machining worn wheelsets in half the time as the conventional wheel lathe.
The new train depot in Tuas West is the largest train depot in Singapore.
The new train depot in Tuas West is the largest train depot in Singapore.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
An employee working on a train in the new Tuas West depot, on May 17, 2017.
An employee working on a train in the new Tuas West depot, on May 17, 2017.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's newest train depot in Tuas will have features not seen in the other six depots here.

Top of the list is an underfloor tandem wheel lathe, used to re-profile worn train wheels. Unlike the current wheel lathes, the tandem model can work on two wheel sets, or four wheels, at the same time.

This effectively halves the time taken to re-profile the wheels to 30 minutes.

As the train fleet expands in a growing network, the Land Transport Authority is looking to new technologies to repair and maintain the fleet more efficiently.

The tandem wheel lathe costs $3.4 million, more than double the $1.6 million bill for a normal wheel lathe.

The Tuas depot also employs an electric train shunter for a similar reason. It is not much bigger than a golf buggy, but can pull and push 250 tonnes of weight - which is heavier than a six-car train. The shunter is used to move trains into position for maintenance or repairs. Trains are not powered in the workshop and so cannot move on their own.

The new shunter, which costs around $500,000, can move on tracks as well as on tarmac.

The latest depot has a unique train wash as well. The fully-automated system is the first one to harvest rainwater as a supplementary water source. It also recycles water after each wash, and uses Newater as the final rinse. It washes each six-car train in 2.25 minutes.

Finally, its workshop has a 25m high ceiling, creating a bright and breezy working environment with minimal need for artificial ventilation.

During a press preview of the facility on Wednesday, the LTA said the Tuas depot is the seventh and the third largest train depot here. The others are Bishan, Ulu Pandan, Changi, Kim Chuan, Sengkang and Gali Batu. However, it currently has the biggest stabling facility. The 26-hectare depot can accommodate 60 six-car trains. (Kim Chuan currently holds 70 three-car trains.)

Piling for Tuas depot started in 2012. In total, 14,109 35m piles were used. About 5,710 tonnes of steel and 133,000 cubic metres of concrete - enough to fill 53 Olympic-size swimming pools - were used in the construction.