SINGAPORE - Train services at 13 stations along the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) will start an hour later on Sundays for six months, from the second half of this year.
Operator SMRT said services between Joo Koon and Queenstown on the EWL, and between Bukit Gombak and Jurong East on the NSL, will start by 7am.
The later openings, which will take effect from June 5 to Dec 18, will not apply on public holidays.
In a statement on Friday (April 16), SMRT explained that the later openings will give its maintenance teams more time during engineering hours - when trains are not in operation - to carry out maintenance work, including replacing sleepers and upgrading the power-supplying third-rail.
Each night, track patrol and maintenance teams have about only three to four hours of engineering hours.
"The later opening will enable these teams to gain the equivalent of 29 additional maintenance nights over the six-month period," SMRT said.
SMRT has advised commuters who need to travel earlier to use bus services to get to other train stations, or use the Circle Line and Downtown Line to get to the city.
A new parallel bus service to ply between Joo Koon and Bukit Gombak in both directions will also be launched.
More details of the route and fares will be made known in the next few weeks, SMRT said.
On Tuesday (April 12), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan called for commuters to allow operators to open some of the MRT lines a bit later in the morning. Mr Khaw said in Parliament that this would give engineers more time to perform maintenance and upgrading.
Giving an update on its rail upgrading works on Friday, SMRT said it has replaced half of the 92,000 timber sleepers on the EWL with concrete ones. Sleepers are used to hold the tracks in place.
An earlier project to upgrade the 96,000 sleepers on the NSL was finished in April last year.
An ongoing project to upgrade the signalling system on the NSL is about 96 per cent completed, while for the EWL, progress is at 67 per cent. Upgrading the signalling system allows trains to run at shorter intervals of 100 seconds during the peak hours, instead of 120 seconds currently.
To reduce power-related faults, the ageing third-rail is also being replaced. SMRT shared that about 27 per cent of the works for the EWL has been completed, while for the NSL, the progress is 6 per cent.