6 Interesting Examples of Technology Usage on the Train Network

6 Interesting Examples of Technology Usage on the Train Network

Are you aware of the many different examples of which technology is used on the train network?

The usage of technology is all around us now, from the moment you enter the train station and board the train, to the moment you alight and then exit the station.

Here are six interesting examples of technology usage on the train network, including obscure ones where you might not have noticed during your daily travel!


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1. Signalling System

A Kawasaki-CSR Sifang C151A train alongside Legacy Westinghouse Signaling Systems. (File Photo: SGTrains)

A Kawasaki-CSR Sifang C151A train alongside Legacy Westinghouse Signaling Systems. (File Photo: SGTrains)

The signalling system essentially is the ‘traffic light’ system for the trains, where it ensures safe travel and distancing for every train on the network.

The move to utilising the more computerised Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) Signalling System has allowed for the increase in train frequency during peak hours, better reliability and more consistent train timetabling.

Most recently in 2017, the North-South Line (NSL) and the East-West Line (EWL) had signalling upgrades to the more advanced CBTC Signalling System from Thales SelTrac.

However, the usage of the CBTC Signalling System is not new to Singapore, where it has been utilised on the North East Line (NEL) ever since it opened in 2003.


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2. Passenger Load Information System

Passenger Load Information System (PLIS) at Bugis MRT station. (File Photo: SGTrains)

Passenger Load Information System (PLIS) at Bugis MRT station. (File Photo: SGTrains)

The Passenger Load Information System (PLIS) is a unique piece of information system technology featured on the Downtown Line (DTL).

It displays the level of passenger load from the arriving train through colour-coded icons displayed on the LCD screens at the train platform.

The colour-coding is based on the detected weight of passenger load on incoming trains, which is transmitted wirelessly at one-second intervals to the train station it is arriving at.

When launched in 2018, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that the system “will help to channel more commuters to less crowded train cars for easier boarding.”


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3. Assisted Service Kiosks

“Commuters can speak ‘face-to-face’ with a contact centre officer via video call at the Assisted Service Kiosks (ASK) when they need help with ticketing transactions.” (Photo: S Iswaran/Facebook)

“Commuters can speak ‘face-to-face’ with a contact centre officer via video call at the Assisted Service Kiosks (ASK) when they need help with ticketing transactions.” (Photo: S Iswaran/Facebook)

The Assisted Service Kiosks (ASK) by Cubic are a welcome addition to the train network and was first introduced in 2019, with the opening of Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

It is a ticketing machine which can remotely connect a commuter with a customer service agent at the Ticketing Contact Centre (TCC).

TCC agents can help commuters in several ways, from answering questions through a live audio-video call, to remotely controlling the kiosk to perform an action.


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4. Intelligent Video Analytics

Distributed Intelligent Video Analytics (DIVA) in action on a North East Line (NEL) train. (Image: Thales)

Distributed Intelligent Video Analytics (DIVA) in action on a North East Line (NEL) train. (Image: Thales)

Co-conceptualised with SBS Transit since February 2020, the Distributed Intelligent Video Analytics (DIVA) by French firm Thales is a new addition to the NEL.

According to an article by The Straits Times on Sep 7, 2021, it said that the system leverages the existing closed-circuit television (CCTV) network to analyse visuals.

The system will help staff identify issues of unattended luggage, maskless commuters and unexpected crowds more quickly, and can gauge commuter density at the MRT stations – a functionality that was trialled at Woodleigh MRT station in March 2021.


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5. Cleaning Robots

Robot Cleaners at Circle Line (CCL) stations. (Photo: SMRT)

Robot Cleaners at Circle Line (CCL) stations. (Photo: SMRT)

In a press release by SMRT on Feb 3, 2021, the rail operator said that robot cleaners are deployed at all Circle Line (CCL) stations to supplement existing cleaning efforts.

SMRT added that cleaning staff are also benefitted from the upskilling to manage, troubleshoot and operate these machines, while they can be freed to perform other duties.

The operator also added that they have plans to eventually deploy robot cleaners at all stations on the NSL and EWL.


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6. Wheel Impact Load Detection System

Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) System to identify wheel flats on trains. (Photo: SMRT)

Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) System to identify wheel flats on trains. (Photo: SMRT)

In a Facebook post by SMRT on Jan 14, 2014, the rail operator mentioned the utilisation of the Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) system.

The WILD system relies on fibre optic sensors installed on the running rails to automatically detect and identify trains with wheel flats.

When the system detects a train carriage with a wheel flat, it alerts the control centre immediately, to allow an action for fault rectification.


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Check Out Other Related Posts

10 Facts You Might Not Know About Singapore’s MRT

6 Little Things You May Not Have Noticed in the MRT Network

Is the passenger loading system beneficial?


Related Links
North-South Line – SGTrains
East-West Line – SGTrains
North East Line – SGTrains
Downtown Line – SGTrains
Thomson-East Coast Line – SGTrains
Signalling Systems – SGTrains
Information Systems – SGTrains
Ticketing Machines – SGTrains

External Links
Joint Media Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT – New Signalling System Trial on North-South Line Begins on 28 March 2017 – LTA [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Red, amber, green: New system tells MRT commuters which train cars are empty or crowded – The Straits Times [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Factsheet: Passenger Load Information System Piloted on Downtown Line for Smoother Boarding – LTA [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Cubic’s Assisted Service Kiosk Now Live on Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast Line – Cubic Transportation Systems [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
5 MRT stations to use video analytics to detect maskless commuters, unattended luggage – The Straits Times [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Thales And SBS Transit Collaborate To Deliver Better Travel Experience For MRT Passengers In Singapore – SBS Transit [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Robot cleaners deployed at all Circle Line stations, cleaning staff upskilled to operate the machines – SMRT [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Cleaning robots deployed at Circle Line stations – The Straits Times [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
Robot Cleaners at the CCL – SMRT/YouTube [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]
“Another new technology being used in the system is our Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) system.” – SMRT/Facebook [Accessed 01 Oct 2021]

Images credits to Florian Olivo/Unsplash, S Iswaran/Facebook, Thales Group, SMRT and SMRT/Facebook.
Technology image in the thumbnail for illustrative purposes only.


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Loh

I'm a train enthusiast who is broadly interested in the different means of technology which powers Singapore's train network.