Saturday, July 7, 2012

We have gone beyond COI recommendations: SMRT

SINGAPORE - SMRT says that in some areas, it has gone beyond the Committee of Inquiry's (COI) recommendations regarding December's MRT breakdowns.

In a statement released to the media today, the transport provider responded to and addressed key recommendations the COI submitted on Monday.

Promising to further follow up on the findings, SMRT said it is reassured the COI recognised that the critical safety systems performed as intended, and commuter safety was not compromised.

SMRT stated that it has followed a maintenance regime that has worked well for past 25 years but recognised that clear challenges arise from the ageing of the MRT system and higher strains from increased train runs and system usage.

However, SMRT maintained that in some areas it has gone beyond the recommendations.

Regarding third rail claws, the committee had recommended that SMRT and LTA review the current design of the Third Rail Support Assemblies (TRSA) with a view to develop a more robust fastening system.

A spokesperson from SMRT said that all third rail claws at floating slab tracks will be changed out to the positive-locking fifth generation claw by the end of August 2012, while new designs are being evaluated for the rest of the system.

SMRT also said that it is now in the evaluation and testing stage of installing sensors on trains to detect sags and "steps" (vertical misalignment) in the third rail.

The company revealed that it commissioned an internal investigation team, independent of management, to help identify improvements. Working closely with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the company also began a programme to improve service reliability and incident response capabilities.

Stating that a number of improvements have been completed, SMRT also said that some are in the midst of implementation, with final completion awaiting the arrival of equipment or materials, or pending successful outcome of trial solutions.

Backup power supply

Earlier this week the COI recommended that SMRT could increase the frequency of checks on the battery of the back up power supply as it was found that the capacity of the battery had deteriorated since the last check about two years earlier.

COI also advised SMRT to consider replacing the existing batteries, which are more than 10 years old, in the first generation trains with new ones.

SMRT said it has already increased the frequency of checks to two years from the three and a half years.

Multi-Function Vehicle (MFV) 

The COI recommended that SMRT replace the existing MFV and enhance the Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) for MFV operation to ensure that staff members operate it in a manner that ensures accurate track measurements.

In response SMRT said it has already improved SOP and is currently in the process of procuring additional vehicles equipped with the latest available technology. It is expected to get the vehicles by 2015.

The company has also scheduled a feasibility study in August this year to upgrade current the MFV with the latest software.

SMRT said it will implement further improvements to the system in order to enhance the reliability and service levels for commuters.

Mr Tan Ek Kia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of SMRT, said that SMRT is proactively changing the way it operates, and working to improve all areas of its organisation and processes.

"We are confident that this will improve our rail system and service," he said.

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