Singapore’s First Postgraduate Railway Course Launched by SMRT

Heard of a postgraduate course in Railway Studies? Sounds quite interesting to learn all about rails, how they are engineered and how they function, right?

Did you know that the University of Birmingham, the leading university in the UK on railway research and education, offers one of the most reputed programmes in Railway Studies? Singapore’s very own metro – SMRT has partnered with the University of Birmingham in October this year, to further strengthen the professionalism of their rail engineers. This comes as a part of SMRT’s strategy to provide better train journeys by improving reliability, stability and maintenance standards, by deepening the expertise of SMRT engineering staff. A welcome move indeed!

This collaboration of SMRT with the University of Birmingham offers a postgraduate certificate in Urban Railway Engineering for SMRT’s engineering staff, the first of its kind certificate course in Singapore. This is one step ahead in SMRT’s wider effort to support rail engineering talent from the National Institute of Technical Education Certificate (NITEC) all the way to the post graduate level, while exposing them to best-of-class practices.

Watch this video where Benjamin Chen, Manager of Train Operations at SMRT and Prof. Clive Roberts, Head for Railway Research and Education at University of Birmingham, explain how this course could be massively beneficial for those who intend to work in the railway industry:

The ultimate intent is to nurture a sustainable group of engineering professionals to support and stand for better rail reliability, and this course, we believe, would serve as the perfect pedestal to achieve that.

SMRT partners with Community Chest for an Inclusive Playground

When the entire community steps in to step up a vulnerable group, it instills a great sense of unity and belonging Community Chest is one such organization which facilitates community service in the aim of reaching out to the less fortunate in every segment of the society.

And how does this organization carry out its goal?
Community Chest operates alongside a network of partners who actively step up their Corporate Social Responsibility to use their business strengths and networks to bring joy to the lesser privileged. SMRT too has partnered with Community Chest since 2015 to engage in serving the lesser fortunate people of Singapore.

In this video, the various partners speak about their association with Community Chest. SMRT CEO, Desmond Kuek speaks about the Inclusive Playground, made for children with special needs to be able to play together. Jointly created by SMRT and Community Chest, this Inclusive Playground was launched in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2015. “Supporting the needy of the community is in alignment with the primary motto of SMRT – Moving people and Enhancing Lives”, says Desmond Kuek.

Furthering the partnership, this year, another Inclusive Playground was opened in Ghim Moh, which also includes a fitness corner for seniors. A great way to promote interaction across generations, this playground has been received very well across the community as it helps in enabling mobility for all.

SMRT and NTU launch joint research laboratory to boost rail reliability

SMRT and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have launched a joint research laboratory to develop technology-driven solutions to build an urban rail system that is even more resilient and reliable as Singapore moves towards a car-lite future. The new SMRT-NTU Smart Urban Rail Corporate Laboratory was officially launched today by the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan. The $60 million Corporate Laboratory will integrate the rail operations and engineering capabilities of SMRT with NTU’s research strengths in engineering.

The joint laboratory is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under its Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme, which funds key corporate laboratories set up through public-private partnerships. It is aimed at driving the effective translation of research into solutions that have direct relevance in addressing our national needs and meeting global challenges. The SMRT-NTU Smart Urban Rail Corporate Laboratory is the first laboratory under this scheme to focus on rail transport capabilities.

NRF Chief Executive Officer Prof Low Teck Seng said, “The SMRT-NTU Smart Urban Rail Corporate Laboratory is yet another collaboration under NRF’s Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme that will enable Singapore universities to carry out industry-relevant research. We are hopeful that the two partners will establish a strong collaboration that enables research to be translated into eventual benefits not just for the industry, but also Singaporeans.”

NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said, “Singapore’s rail system is an important pillar supporting public transportation and economic growth, and it is important that it remains reliable and sustainable. This joint lab will leverage NTU’s established strengths in engineering and technology to develop innovative rail solutions that will not only enhance Singapore’s rail system but benefit the global transportation industry.”

SMRT President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Desmond Kuek, said, “The SMRT-NTU Corporate Laboratory marks a significant milestone in SMRT’s journey to improving rail reliability and delivering commuter-centric services. It is an excellent collaborative platform that brings together the operational and engineering experience of SMRT, and the scientific and research capabilities of NTU to deliver operational solutions that better serve the needs of our ageing and expanding rail transport network. These innovations will help solve some of the more intractable problems faced today, as well as proactively address the anticipated future challenges of a sustainable rail system that is safe and reliable for all.”

The SMRT-NTU Corporate Laboratory will focus on two complementary research tracks in the development of innovative urban rail solutions. Projects include developing real-time condition monitoring systems and enhancing the reliability of rail infrastructure and assets.

Track One: Eliminating problems before they occur
The first research track focuses on developing better detection methods and monitoring systems so that potential issues can be addressed quickly and accurately, even before they happen. With real-time data from sensors which monitor critical rail equipment, timely and accurate decisions can be made to address a fault before a potential service delay.
For example, new condition monitoring sensors such as thermo-acoustic sensors which detect temperature fluctuations within materials, can be used to find cracks and defects that lie deep within components such as rail foots and joints.
Through 3D printing, these sensors can also be customised to fit inaccessible spots.
This research track aims to allow components and parts to be repaired or replaced immediately on the same day. This greatly reduces the need to disrupt train services during operation hours and prevents technical issues from escalating into a problem.

Track Two: Enhancing reliability of existing rail assets
The second research track aims to enhance the reliability of existing rail assets by optimising maintenance and servicing processes. By using prediction methodologies and analytical tools to produce accurate data, the life span of train components and systems can be better assessed.
For example, prediction-analytical methods will be used to accurately assess wheel-rail wear and fatigue, and vibration and structural stresses that affect the longevity of critical rail and train components.
Track Two’s research projects will help in refining maintenance schedules to reduce potential problems, and ensure that train and track components are performing at their best.
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research, said, “The new SMRT-NTU corporate lab will pave the way towards developing next-generation urban rail technologies and nurturing professionals that will contribute to Singapore’s smart mobility eco-system and network. This partnership also builds on NTU’s strong track record of collaboration with local and multinational companies including ST Engineering, Rolls-Royce, and BMW Group.”
Managing Director, SMRT Trains, Mr Lee Ling Wee, said, “Both research tracks supported by the SMRT-NTU Corporate Laboratory aim to strengthen the operational resilience of our rail network.
“By leveraging on the expertise of NTU, we hope to strengthen our current condition monitoring system capabilities and enhance the resilience of our rail infrastructure and trains. SMRT intends to integrate techniques from both complementary research tracks to improve rail reliability and better serve our commuters. The collaborative effort will also provide an opportunity to nurture our rail engineers and instil greater engineering passion while acquiring new knowledge and skills.”

Nurturing next-gen professional engineers
NRF’s Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme ensures that universities achieve impact by developing cutting edge solutions for problems faced by industries. The scheme, which promotes multi-party collaboration, also seeks to create employment opportunities in technology-driven industries and train a pool of industry-ready research manpower who can push the technology boundaries for these industries.
The SMRT-NTU Smart Urban Rail Corporate Laboratory will nurture engineering specialists in the rail industry who are prepared to tackle future national transportation challenges and develop innovative transportation solutions that can be used globally.
The joint lab will provide training opportunities for over 100 undergraduates, 35 graduate students and 60 researchers, across a broad range of specialisations.

SMRT Services and 2getthere form a joint venture to bring Automated Vehicles to the Asia-Pacific

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SMRT Services Pte. Ltd. (SMRT Services) and 2 Getthere Holding B.V. (2getthere) today announced a Joint Venture (JV) to market, supply and operate 2getthere’s Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region. In anticipation of the growing demand in the Asia-Pacific region for Automated Vehicles, SMRT Services and 2getthere are also working to deepen our strategic relationship with the view to better support the latter’s development and growth.

The agreement was jointly announced by Colin Lim, Managing Director, SMRT Services, and Carel van Helsdingen, Chairman and founder of 2getthere. A replica of the Automated Vehicle was unveiled in the presence of Jacques Werner, Dutch Ambassador to Singapore, and Desmond Kuek, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, SMRT Corporation Ltd.

The new Singapore-based JV, called 2getthere Asia Pte Ltd will market, install, operate and maintain the Automated Vehicle systems for customers in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific. The JV aims to showcase 2getthere’s 3rd Generation Group Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicle capabilities in Singapore by the end of the year. This showcase will highlight the vehicle’s enhanced and new features.

2getthere’s vehicles are unique in being able to operate autonomously in demanding weather conditions, using artificial landmarks for navigation. The 3rd generation GRT vehicles are able to carry up to 24 passengers each, and can operate as a low-cost automated transit system that can cater for up to 8,000 passengers per hour in any single direction. Additionally, 2getthere is also incrementally shifting to mixed-use traffic operations through active participation in several research programmes worldwide. 2getthere Asia will pursue both automated and mixed-use transit projects in Singapore and the region.

Carel van Helsdingen said, “We are delighted to join forces with SMRT Services to further market 2getthere’s proven systems in the Asia-Pacific region, a high-growth sector for innovative transport technologies in the coming years. Building on decades of technological development and experience gathered through projects implemented worldwide, our innovative technology will be able to optimise the efficiency, reliability and safety of transport networks.”

Colin Lim said, “There is a growing national push to implement future mobility solutions that can meet our first and last-mile connectivity needs in Singapore. As part of the JV, SMRT Services will leverage on our experience in installation, operations and maintenance of transit systems to realise these solutions locally. The Automated Vehicles will complement our existing multi-modal transport operations to bring about seamless connectivity for commuters”.

The signing of this agreement establishes 2getthere Asia as a strong regional player in the Automated Vehicles industry. For SMRT Services, this partnership forms part of its larger strategy to widen its transport capabilities through investments in innovative technologies.

Statement from SMRT President and Group CEO on 22 March 2016

It is with deep sadness that two SMRT staff, Nasrulhudin Bin Najumudin and Muhammad Asyraf Bin Ahmad Buhari, passed away today. At around 11am on 22 March, a signalling condition monitoring device near Pasir Ris Station was triggered, and maintenance teams from the Permanent Way and Signal departments were sent to investigate. The teams moved in a single file along the walkway beside the track to the investigation location. Unfortunately, during the process, the accident occurred.
The safety of our people has always been the utmost priority and we are assisting the Police in their investigations into how the accident happened.
SMRT conveys our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. We are in touch with the families and will be supporting them through this difficult time.

Desmond Kuek
SMRT President and Group CEO