In the Singapore Rail Technology Conference held on 18 November 2016, Desmond Kuek, CEO of SMRT gave the welcome speech. Speaking of achieving higher rail reliability, he said: “In Parliament in early November 2016, the Minister for Transport reiterated the aim of reaching 400,000 mean-kilometers between failure (MKBF) by 2018. It is an ambitious aspirational target. What this means in more graphic terms is that our trains cumulatively travel no less than 10 times around the equator, or more than 4,000 times across the length of our North-South and East-West Lines, before incurring a single delay of more than 5 minutes.” He stated that this is a prodigious target, and a very few operators across the world have achieved this steadily.
As of October 2016, the North-South and East-West Lines, Singapore’s 29-year-old lines, achieved 144,000 MKBF (Mean Kilometre Between Failure). This, according to Desmond Kuek is a performance that is better than SMRT’s prior recorded history. The newer Circle Line clocked 233,000 MKBF, but has a long way to go to reach 400,000 MKBF.
Desmond Kuek said – “We are working hard to achieve this, and are encouraged by the steady progress already made. Getting to such a level of rail excellence requires multiple and concerted effort by many parties.”
He also outlined six key areas that would take the rail network towards their targets:
- Renewing and upgrading the rail network on time
- Recovering swiftly from occasional service faults and failures
- Setting the right structure and framework in place for rail sustainability
- Enhancing the maintenance regime
- Developing the engineering professional workforce
- Harnessing technology as an enabler and game changer
With these areas of work taking place, we can hope to expect a facelift in Singapore’s rail network in the years to come.