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Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) [free access]

June 1, 2018

Developer/Operator: The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) is the developer and SMRT Corporation (SMRT) and SBS Transit are the operators of the mass rapid transit (MRT) system in Singapore.


Project description: Expansion and modernisation of the Singapore MRT system. 


Background: The system forms the backbone of the rail-based transportation network in the country and is the second-oldest metro system in Asia after the Manila light-rail transit (LRT) in the Philippines. 


Network: The current MRT network comprises five lines, which together span 199 km and covers 141 stations.



Ridership: The system recorded an average daily ridership of 3.09 million passengers in 2016, an increase of 7.29 per cent compared to the ridership of 2.88 million passengers in 2015.


MRT has a 43 per cent modal share in public transport.


Rolling stock and technology: The current fleet comprises 1,410 railcarssupplied by Alstom, Kawasaki, Siemens and Bombardier.


In April 2018, Alstom secured a EUR150-million contract from the Singapore LTA to supply six six-car Metropolis trains for the extension of NEL and 11 three-car Metropolis trains for CCL6.


Thales has installed communications-based train control (CBTC) on the NSL and EWL; Alstom has installed CBTC on NEL and CCL; and Invensys Rail has provided Sirius CBTC technology and Rail 9000 automatic train stop (ATS) technology for DTL.


In May 2018, the LTA commenced a six-month pilot of passenger load information system (PLIS) on the DTL. The system displays the load level of each railcar through liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens at the platforms. The trains are equipped with passenger load sensors that transmit data wirelessly at one-second intervals to the next train station.  Bombardier Transportation has installed the software solution on DTL’s existing train control monitoring system (TCMS). The software solution features an on-board system to detect passenger weight load from the vehicle’s braking system and then transmit the information to the passengers waiting at the next station.


In March 2018, the SMRT has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom-based McLaren Applied Technologies (McLaren) to test Formula 1 performance optimisation technology for public transit in Singapore by end-2018. The scope of work includes the development of customised condition-monitoring solutions for train motors, brakes, pneumatic systems and gearboxes fitted on mass rapid transit (MRT) trains and supply of vehicle maintenance technology.


Track and power: Tracks are standard guage (1,435 mm). All train lines are powered by the 750V DC third rail with the exception of the North East Line which is powered by 1,500V DC overhead lines.


Fare system: EZ-Link and NETS are the two smartcards used for fare collection on the MRT system. The fare system is integrated across all public transport modes and operators.


Pilot projects have been implemented to assess the feasibility of launching mobile ticketing and bank cards (by Mastercard).


Extensions/Capital plans: LTA plans to expand the MRT network to 360 km by 2030. The following lines/extensions are currently under construction:



Further two more lines are planned to be developed by 2030.



Rolling stock plans: LTA has also announced plans to launch a tender to replace 66 first-generation trains on the NSL and EWL that are about 30 years old as of 2018. The new trains will have advanced features such as sensors to monitor track conditions. Tenders are yet to be launched. The delivery is expected to take place in 2022.


In May 2014, LTA awarded a SGD749-million contract to a consortium of Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Kawasaki) and CSR Qingdao Sifang (CSR) to supply 91 four-car driverless train sets for TEL. Delivery is scheduled to begin in 2019.


Fare system: In August 2017, LTA and TransitLink announced plans to switch to a fully cashless public transport fare system by 2020 under the Smart Nation strategy. Thereafter, the LTA announced plans to launch contactless Visa or Nets 2.0 cards for bus and train journeys from June 2018.


The initiative is an expansion of the ongoing pilot of account-based ticketing (ABT) with Mastercard. The new system will accept payment from mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. 


The LTA has also announced plans to test a hands-free automated fare collection system (AFC) by deploying fare gates on MRT stations in 2018. Thesystem will be based on long-range radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards and Bluetooth technology to detect a commuter's fare card (without the need to tap the card at the reader) and deduct the correct fare.


Power supply upgrade: In February 2018, LTA awarded three contracts to upgrade the power supply and track circuit systems on the NSL and EWL. Meiden Singapore Pte Limited secured two contracts of a total value of SGD500 million to upgrade the power supply system. The new system will be equipped with a voltage limiting device-fault identification system and will automatically switch on the power supply source during a power outage.


A consortium comprising Siemens Pte Limited and Engie Services Singapore Pte Limited secured the SGD73-million contract to replace the track circuit system with a CBTC signalling system. The consortium plans to begin the design and on-site works in 2018 and complete it by 2020.


Recent developments:


(1 EUR [Euro] = 1.17 USD; 1 SGD [Singapore Dollar] = 0.75 USD)