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Singapore to expand rail network by 15% in 2017: LTA

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Singapore will expand its rail network by 15 per cent this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.

SINGAPORE will expand its rail network by 15 per cent this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.

In its rail report issued on Friday, LTA said the opening of Tuas West Extension (TWE) and the Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) will add another 15 per cent of track length to the city-state's rail network to about 228km.

TWE, with four stations, is expected to begin operations in Q2 2017, while DTL3 is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

LTA is also studying the possibility of extending the TEL from Sungei Bedok to serve the future Changi Airport Terminal 5; further extending it to call at the Changi Airport MRT station; and transiting the stretch of the East-West Line (EWL) between Changi Airport and Tanah Merah stations to operate as part of the TEL instead.

The latter can take place from 2025, after the TEL is complete.

This way, commuters in future can enjoy a seamless ride on the TEL from the city centre to any of the terminals in Changi Airport without having to change lines,'' LTA said.

The transport authority will be calling a tender to replace the 66 first-generation trains on the 29-year old North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), Singapore's oldest and most heavily-utilised rail lines.

It will also be carrying out major replacement and enhancement works for the backend power supply system serving the NSEWL. Both have been in use since 1987 and are near the end of their design life.

LTA said it would continue to invest efforts to improve the rail network so that commuters can enjoy shorter waits, smoother rides, and more comfortable journeys.

Last year, trains clocked 30 per cent longer distances before experiencing a service delay of more than five minutes, with the mean kilometre between failure improving from 133,000 train-km in 2015 to 174,000 train-km in 2016.

There was, however, a slight uptick in service delays exceeding thirty minutes, from 15 incidents in 2015 to 16 incidents in 2016.

LTA said that re-signalling works on the trains, stations, depots and the Operations Control Centre for the North-South Line were completed last year, and final testing has started. It intends to transit to the new signalling system progressively. This will start from March 2017.

On the EWL, more than 85 per cent of the re-signalling works have been completed, and the new signalling system is on track to be operational in 2018.

The upgraded re-signalling system will allow trains to be run closer together, with shorter headways between each train. Hence, achieving higher train frequency during peak periods.

Works to replace the third rail system on the NSEWL, which started in mid-2015, are nearing completion. The new system will enhance the reliability of the power supply to trains.

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