On 10 Dec (Sunday), Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) wrote a Facebook post, saying that its teams of engineers and technicians have started work through the night as several stations along the North-South (NSL) and East-West Lines (EWL) close for the full-day.
It said that a total of 160 SMRT staff, who separated into 40 SMRT teams, were spread across the 19 affected stations to carry out renewal, repair and maintenance works on Sunday (10 December).
SMRT had earlier announced that 17 MRT stations on East-West Line (EWL) and two MRT stations on North-South Line (NSL) will be fully closed on 10 and 17 Dec (Both Sundays) to allow for extended engineering hours.
Other than the closure, the 17 MRT stations from Tiong Bahru to Tuas Link along EWL and the two stations on NSL, Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak will close earlier on Friday and Saturday at 11pm and open later on Saturdays and Sundays at 8am from 8 December to 31 December.
SMRT stated that some of the corrective maintenance work being carried out include replacing track circuits, cleaning of station lighting and jet fans, and replacing rollers and belts of half-height platform screen doors.
On a separate post, it said that it also worked on the Rail Grinding Vehicle (RGV), which is used to reprofile the train tracks so that commuters can enjoy a smoother and more comfortable ride.
It noted that on a usual night, a RGV can cover about 800m of track works, however, it said that with the extended hours, it is able to double up the work.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Siu Yow Wee, SMRT Trains’ director for building and facilities, said that these include replacing components of the platform screens, such as rollers, which require workers to go down onto the tracks.
He said, "Everybody is competing for track access to clean these components, so today, we have the opportunity to do all this cleaning. Station closures do help us hasten these corrective maintenance work, adding that the track circuits, which detect the whereabouts of trains and set the speeds at which they should travel, were also being replaced.
Principal fellow for signalling and communications with SMRT Trains, Mr Keith Lim, said that workers typically take two or three nights to replace one track circuit, which spans about 150m. However, SMRT, which has two teams totalling nearly 20 working on the circuits on Sunday, was targeting to replace three circuits within the day.
He noted that, basically, they were squeezing two to three nights into one day work.
Mr Lim said that the rail operator is working to replace about 1,300 track circuits across the North-South and East-West Lines and that between 40 and 50 have been completed to date.
He said that the operator was working with its contractor to ramp things up further by putting on another team of workers by next month.
Ms Siu then added, "We’ll continue to make full use of the time given and would like to thank commuters for their patience and understanding."