Singapore has allocated $100 million to building simulation facilities for all rail lines across the island to increase the robustness of testing and minimises potential disruption to passenger service, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wed (26 Feb).
Simulation facilities at Gali Batu Depot and Mandai Depot for the Downtown Line (DTL) and Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) respectively are among the first ones that have been set up jointly with Singapore’s rail operators and manufacturers Siemens and Alstom.
“These facilities are equipped with hardware and software similar to the actual signalling systems operating on our rail lines. This allows software patches to be rigorously tested under a controlled environment and with local conditions, before the software is rolled out to the mainline,” said LTA.
Engineers in rail operator companies will also benefit from the simulation facilities in terms of practical experience, as said facilities “replicate the functionality of the mainline signalling system”, LTA added.
The simulation facilities involve testing how signalling software modifications interact with regular train operations such as headway regulation, implementation of a temporary speed restriction, and the ability to hold a train at a platform during emergency situations, according to LTA.
All existing MRT lines will have access to simulation capabilities by 2023, said the Authority.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said earlier today, at the opening of the second simulation facility at Gali Batu Depot, that the simulation facilities act as “virtual twin” to existing train lines, which will free up more time for track maintenance work that could only be carried out in a small two- to three-hour window every night previously.
Having long-term providers such as Siemens and Alstom will enable them to set up a base or hub for expansion in the region, which Mr Khaw said will “further anchor world-class rail expertise here and provide good jobs for talented Singaporeans”.