Train disruptions caused by track circuit failures, unrelated to sleeper replacement
I refer to the article “Train disruptions caused by track circuit failures, unrelated to sleeper replacement: SMRT” (Straits Times, Jan 29).
The article states that disruptions on the East-West MRT line earlier this month were caused by faulty track circuits and were unrelated to the replacement of sleepers on the ageing line, as said by SMRT on its blog on Sunday (29 Jan).
4-year project to upgrade sleepers on the 30-year-old North-South and East-West lines completed last month
The four-year project to upgrade sleepers on the 30-year-old North-South and East-West lines was completed last month.”
Who really cares about whether due to reason x, y or z?
When I read the above – I was flabbergasted. From a commuter’s perspective – what does it matter to us – whether the delays since the year started – were due to “faulty track circuits” – and not due to “the replacement of sleepers” – or for that matter whether it was due to reason x, y or z?
Is it more frequent and longer breakdowns?
What may irk commuters may be that there seem to be more frequent and longer breakdowns.
Still more “meaningless words”?
The report on SMRT blog goes on to state:
Track circuits are integral to the signalling system, said SMRT, as they send signals to the operations control centre to monitor the speed, location and identity of trains.
SMRT said that track circuit failure could be caused by an equipment failure either at a signal equipment room within an MRT station or at track side.
While a hardware failure in the signal equipment room can be quickly rectified, for trackside failures engineering staff must go down to the track to investigate the cause.
The transport operator said that this can be “very challenging” when the track is on a rail viaduct, particularly in cases of heavy rain or lightning risks.
Replacement of the signalling system, which began in 2012, will substitute the old track circuits with a “more advanced system that is more reliable”, said SMRT.
“After we renew the signalling system, faulty track circuits will no longer cause prolonged delays for commuters.”
New signalling system operational by end of 2018?
More than 85 per cent of signalling upgrading works on the East-West line have been completed, and the new signalling system is expected to be operational by the end of next year” –
So what do all these “many, many words” mean from a commuters’ perspective?
Does it mean (or will it mean – only the future will tell) that we have to live with the delays until “the end of next year”?
20 seconds vs 30 minutes?
With regard to “The new system is also expected to increase train frequency as it will allow trains to run at intervals of 100 seconds, instead of 120 seconds now” – what’s the point of making a hoo-ha about trains that may come such that we may have to wait 20 seconds less between trains – but in recent years – the last trains keep getting earlier, and the first trains keep getting later?
For example, “Train services between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris stations and between Joo Koon and Jurong East stations, will end up to half an hour earlier from Sundays to Thursdays, except on the eve of public holidays.
In a statement, SMRT said from Sunday (Feb 14, 2016) commuters who board the trains after 11.15 pm on the East-West Line are advised to plan their journey and consider alternative transport arrangements such as bus services.”
Still more reasons, more words?
In respect of “In a blog post last month, SMRT Trains managing director Lee Ling Wee said that a third of train delays that lasted more than five minutes last year on the East-West and North-South lines were signal-related.
“When a track circuit fails, trains have to travel at a lower speed over the affected stretch for safety reasons,” said the rail operator, adding that the slower speeds of trains caused congestion during peak hours” – this may be akin to “still more words” that may have very little meaning from a commuters’ perspective.
Aiyah – suggest why not just tell us whether the delays so far in the first three plus weeks of January this year, may be the worse ever in the history of the MRT in the January (s) of every year in the past?
Less meaningful statistics?
This may in a sense be somewhat like telling you the statistics that has less meaning or arguably, no meaning at all to you.
Learn about statistics?
Maybe the people who run trains may need to have a refresher course in statistics – can use SkillsFuture Credit or not?”