Tuas depot, Singapore's newest train depot, is ready for business, with the first train on the East-West Line scheduled to roll into Tuas West on June 18.
At a preview of the sprawling 26ha facility yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the depot will be able to stable 60 six-car trains - more than the other six, namely Bishan, Ulu Pandan, Changi, Kim Chuan, Sengkang and Gali Batu. (Kim Chuan currently holds 70 three-car trains.)
Piling for the project started in 2012. In all, 14,109 piles were sunk, each measuring 35m. A total of 5,710 tonnes of steel and 133,000 cubic metres of concrete were used in the construction.
The authority said the depot will have a number of unique features.
Top of the list is an underfloor tandem wheel lathe, used to reprofile unevenly 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 reprofile four wheels to 30 minutes.
As the train fleet expands in a growing network, the LTA is looking to new technologies to repair and maintain the fleet more efficiently.
The tandem wheel lathe costs $3.4 million, which is more than double the $1.6 million bill for a normal wheel lathe.
The Tuas depot employs an electric train shunter for a similar reason. A shunter is like a tow truck for trains. It is used to move trains into position for maintenance or repairs.
Not much bigger than a golf buggy, the new shunter is able to pull or push 250 tonnes of weight, which is heavier than a six-car train.
Trains in the workshop are not powered and so cannot move on their own. The new shunter 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 in the final rinse. It washes each six-car train in 21/4 minutes.
Trains on the East-West Line will continue westwards from Joo Koon (currently the last station in the west) on June 18. There will be four stops on the Tuas West Extension, which was supposed to have opened last year.
As the extension uses a new signalling system, trains will pause at Pioneer station (one stop from Joo Koon) to switch over to the new system before continuing. Both Pioneer and Joo Koon are equipped with the new signalling system.
The switchover should not take much longer than the usual time a train takes for commuters to embark and disembark.