North East Line to get new trains from July 28, ahead of new extension in 2024 , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper
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North East Line to get new trains from July 28, ahead of new extension in 2024

Six new trains will be rolled out progressively on the North East Line (NEL) from Friday to raise passenger capacity for an extension to the rail line due to open in 2024.

All six trains, costing $130 million, are expected to be operating by the third quarter of 2023.

This will increase the NEL fleet, from 43 to 49 trains.

Two of the six new trains are equipped with an automatic track inspection system – a first for the line, which is run by SBS Transit.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday that cameras and sensors are installed on the underframe of these two trains to monitor track conditions when they are operating.

These equipment will improve the detection of track defects, such as rail cracks and missing rail fasteners. They will also allow timelier maintenance of tracks and go hand in hand with existing physical track inspections.

Four new trains on the North-South and East-West lines, as well as two plying the Thomson-East Coast Line, are also fitted with this system.

The new NEL trains will increase travel capacity for the forthcoming extension that will connect Punggol MRT station to the new Punggol Coast MRT stop.

The extension will help commuters save up to 15 minutes of travel time from Punggol North to the city centre and other parts of Singapore.

“The new trains will bring about greater convenience for residents and commuters by shortening headway and improving the frequency of NEL services,” said Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat at a launch event for the trains on Thursday.

Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat (centre) at the launch of the new North East Line trains at Sengkang Depot, on July 27, 2023.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Headway refers to the interval between trains.

Manufactured in Spain by French company Alstom, all six new trains come with condition-monitoring systems that collect data from on-board equipment. These systems will facilitate maintenance measures to be taken before faults happen, thereby helping to improve service reliability, LTA said.

The new trains – in striking bold purple, instead of the orange-and-purple striped exterior of the earlier ones – are also fitted with maintenance-friendly features for train staff, such as hinged fire-extinguisher box covers that are easier to open and less prone to accidental dislodging.

Hinged fire-extinguisher box covers that are easier to open and less prone to accidental dislodging are part of the features of the new trains. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

LTA, SBS Transit and Alstom have been testing the new trains comprehensively since their arrival in Singapore in April 2021.

LTA also said that four out of 25 first-generation Alstom Metropolis C751A trains serving the NEL have been refurbished, with the rest to follow by 2026.

These first-generation trains have been in service since the opening of the MRT line in June 2003.

All six new trains come with condition-monitoring systems that collect data from on-board equipment. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

They are due for midlife upgrades before reaching the end of the average train’s lifespan of 30 years.

The upgrades include renovated interiors, new condition-monitoring capabilities, along with improved air-conditioning and ventilation systems.

The NEL fleet also comprises 18 second-generation Alstom Metropolis C751C trains, which have been plying the NEL daily since 2015.

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