The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced that re-signalling works on trains, stations, depots and the Operations Control Centre of the North-South Line (NSL) have completed, however, it will only become operational in first quarter of 2017.
LTA began the upgrading of the signalling system of the oldest line in 2012, the North-South and East-West Line (NSEWL), from the existing Fixed Block System to the more advanced Communications Based Train Control System, which allows trains to run more closely to each other while continuing to ensure operational safety.
LTA states that with the new signalling system, train intervals can be shortened from the current 120 seconds to 100 seconds, therefore, increasing the maximum line capacity by 20 per cent.
LTA said that although the works had been completed, as the move to an entirely new signalling system is a complex project and problems could impact commuters across the entire line, it still need more time to do more extensive tests to ensure the reliability of the system before launching it as a precautionary measure, which is also on the advice of international metro operators who have carried out similar re-signalling projects in the past.
LTA and SMRT have commenced tests on the new signalling system by running trains fitted with the new system on the NSL during engineering hours.
Meanwhile, on the East-West Line (EWL), LTA said that more than 80 per cent of the works to upgrade the signalling system have been completed, and the new signalling system is on track to be operational in 2018.
According to LTA, 57 trains, which are only fitted with the new signalling system, will be added to the NSEWL fleet. The 57 new trains will be injected into the rail network progressively from now till 2019, and will bring the total train fleet size for the NSEWL from 141 to 198.
In addition, LTA, as owner of rail operating assets under the New Rail Financing Framework, will be calling a tender to replace the 66 first-generation Kawasaki Heavy Industries trains that have been operating for the last 29 years with brand new ones. In the interim, LTA will work with SMRT to improve the reliability of the 66 first-generation trains until their replacement.
LTA also mentioned that the civil, electrical and mechanical works on the four stations along the Tuas West Extension (TWE) have been completed.
LTA states that as the TWE also operates on the new NSEWL signalling system, it will similarly devote more time for testing and fine-tuning it along with SMRT. The TWE will thus open for service in the second quarter of 2017.