New BPLRT trains to enter service from Q2 2021, renewal to be completed by 2024
Better news for Bukit Panjang residents.
Two new light rail vehicles will enter the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) revenue service from the second quarter of 2021, with more progressively added to the fleet by 2022.
These two new BPLRT light rail vehicles are part of the 19 that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) purchased to replace the first generation light rail vehicles, which have been serving the BPLRT since 1999.
The new light rail vehicles come with a host of new features, including air conditioners which are 20 per cent more powerful and a rail mapping system which detects anomalies in the power rail.
It will also use a signalling system with redundancy so that a back-up system will kick in if the main system fails.
Speaking to the media at the BPLRT depot at Junction 10 on Dec. 3, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the BPLRT has shown improvements in its reliability ever since SMRT intensified their daily maintenance.
Its reliability has nearly doubled from 33,000 car-km mean kilometres between failure (MKBF) in 2015 to more than 60,000 car-km MKBF in 2019.
MKBF refers to the distance travelled by a train between encountering service failures that last more than five minutes.
While this is an achievement, Khaw said that it can do better. For reference, the Sengkang LRT’s MKBF is about 340,000 car-km.
Had to defend BPLRT’s reliability when he served as SMS Transport
Khaw also said that previously, as Senior Minister of State for Transport, he had to defend BPLRT’s poor reliability record.
Returning to MOT in 2015, he decided to address the BPLRT problem “decisively” by overhauling the trains, signalling system, and power rails.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) previously mentioned that it will be bringing in 19 new Light Rail Vehicles, fitted with smart climate control system and energy efficient lights.
A new signalling system will also allow trains to run more closely to each other, hence reducing intervals and create shorter waiting times.
New technology used
Khaw also mentioned tapping on new technology that was not available 20 years ago, specifically the condition monitoring system.
This uses smart sensors to monitor track and train conditions in real time so that faults can be detected early.
This BPLRT renewal project was awarded to Bombardier (Singapore), the original supplier, in 2018. It is expected to be completed in 2024.
Bombardier (Singapore) will also be engaged over 10 years to provide long-term service for spare parts, training, and technical expertise.
Top image courtesy of LTA.