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North-South, East-West MRT Lines: Completion of 11-Year Core Systems Renewal Programme

North-South, East-West MRT Lines: Completion of 11-Year Core Systems Renewal Programme. (Images: SGTrains, LTA/Facebook, SGTrains)

North-South, East-West MRT Lines: Completion of 11-Year Core Systems Renewal Programme. (Images: SGTrains, LTA/Facebook, SGTrains)

The multi-year programme to renew and upgrade the six core systems on the North-South and East-West MRT lines (NSEWL) – which is Singapore’s most significant rail network improvement effort to date – was officially completed on Wednesday (Oct 25).

First started in 2012, the comprehensive renewal and upgrading of the six core systems on the 36-year-old NSEWL consist of the track sleepers, third rail, signalling system, track circuit system, power supply system and fleet of trains.

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Completion of the North-South and East-West Lines’ Six Core Systems Renewal

Condition monitoring features equipped on three core systems

Replacement of wooden railway sleepers to concrete ones on the NSEWL. (Image: SGTrains)

Replacement of wooden railway sleepers to concrete ones on the NSEWL. (Image: SGTrains)

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), in close collaboration with rail operator SMRT, conducted renewal works of the NSEWL six core systems in phases since 2012.

It completed the replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers in December 2016, the third rail replacement in September 2017 and the commissioning of the moving-block Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system in 2018.

With the three mentioned core systems replaced, LTA and SMRT have focused on renewing the remaining core systems – the track circuit, power supply and fleet of trains.

The three remaining core systems are equipped with condition monitoring features, allowing faults to be pre-emptively addressed, thus preventing train service disruptions before it causes a wider system failure or disruption.

Significant reliability improvement on NSEWL since 2012

Following the successful commissioning of the renewed and upgraded core systems, the reliability of the NSEWL “has improved significantly,” LTA said.

LTA uses the failure measurement metric known as the Mean Kilometres Between Failure (MKBF) to measure the reliability performance across all train lines in Singapore.

Since 2019, it noted that the NSEWL has recorded an MKBF of over 1,000,000 train-km, compared to 70,000 train-km and 60,000 train-km on the NSL and EWL, respectively, in 2012.

As of 2022, in a report published by the LTA on Sep 5, 2023, it stated that the EWL has clocked 2,040,000 train-km for the MKBF and 1,652,000 train-km for the NSL.

Renewal of over 1,100 track circuits across the rail network

Acting Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat officiated the completion of the multi-year core systems renewal of NSEWL at Bishan Depot on Oct 25, 2023. (Image: LTA/Facebook)

Acting Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat officiated the completion of the multi-year core systems renewal of NSEWL at Bishan Depot on Oct 25, 2023. (Image: LTA/Facebook)

LTA had awarded a $73 million contract (R152) to renew the track circuit system of the NSEWL to the double-firm consortium of Siemens Pte Ltd and ENGIE Services Singapore Pte Ltd.

Works then started in 2018 to replace over 1,100 track circuits, which, working in tandem with the CBTC signalling system, will help to indicate the position of all trains on the track.

This allows the operator to focus its response efforts and speed up the train recovery process during faults, minimising the impact on commuters.

The detection of broken rails that require urgent replacement is a feature of the new track circuit system, reducing the risk of disruptions and enabling a more efficient predictive maintenance regime.

Minor track circuit works are ongoing, with completion slated for December 2023.

Renewal of high-voltage and traction power supply systems across the NSEWL

LTA had awarded two contracts to Meiden Singapore Pte Ltd at a sum of $500 million for the renewal of the high-voltage power supply system (R153) and the renewal of the traction power supply system with a SCADA system (R153A).

The upgraded power supply system covered the replacement of 1,300km of power cables, 250km of fibre-optic cables, 206 power transformers, 172 switchboards, and various equipment in 171 substations.

New features equipped on the power supply system that can reduce power-related faults include automatic switching of the power supply source during an outage and a Voltage Limiting Device-Fault Identification System to isolate power faults to specific stretches.

Real-time monitoring and better fault prediction, detection and identification are also possible through the power Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.

The SCADA system will allow engineers to monitor, identify and mitigate faults in the power supply system before they occur.

In 2018, LTA said it would also increase the capacity of traction substations and intake power substations at Yasin, Bishan and Stamford, allowing the support of more running trains and improvement to the overall resilience of the power supply network.

New fleet of 7th-gen Alstom Movia R151 trains entered passenger service

The new 7th-gen Alstom Movia R151 trains for the North-South, East-West MRT lines. (Image: SGTrains)

The new 7th-gen Alstom Movia R151 trains for the North-South, East-West MRT lines. (Image: SGTrains)

LTA had awarded the contract (R151) to Alstom SA – formerly known as Bombardier Transportation – in 2018 and 2020 for the production and delivery of 106 new Alstom Movia R151 trains to progressively replace the 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-generation NSEWL trains.

The Alstom Movia R151 trains are equipped with sensors to monitor the performance of various subsystems onboard and an Automatic Track Inspection (ATI) system for concurrent monitoring of the running rails and trackside equipment to enable early fault detection.

Crowdsourced data by trainspotters on Spotters by SGTrains indicate that seven R151 trains are in service, while the remaining 19 are undergoing testing and commissioning works.

The first R151 train entered passenger service on Jun 4, 2023, and LTA said, “approximately two trains will be put into passenger service every month”.

LTA said the remaining R151 trains will arrive in Singapore and be put into passenger service from now until 2026.

MORE INFO: Alstom Movia R151: SMRT’s Newest 7th-Gen MRT Train Has Entered Passenger Service on Jun 4, 2023 »



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Related Links
North-South Line – SGTrains
East-West Line – SGTrains
Signalling System – SGTrains
Alstom Movia R151 – SGTrains


External Links
“Hooray! 🥳 Together with SMRT, we’ve completed upgrading and renewal works 💪 of the North-South and East-West Lines’ (#NSEWL) 6️⃣ core systems! 💚🚆❤️” – LTA/Facebook [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]
Completion of the North-South and East-West Lines’ Six Core Systems Renewal – LTA [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]
First Batch of New North-South and East-West Lines’ Trains to Be Rolled Out from 4 June – LTA [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]
LTA Awards Contracts to Upgrade and Renew Power Supply & Track Circuit Systems on North-South and East-West Lines – LTA [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]
Completion of Sleeper Replacement Programme on the North-South and East-West Lines – LTA [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]
Performance of Rail Service Reliability – LTA [Accessed 26 Oct 2023]


Images: SGTrains, LTA/Facebook, SGTrains, SGTrains, LTA/Facebook, SGTrains.
This article first appeared on SGTrains.
Last updated on 27 Oct 2023.

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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.