The contract is part of a multi-year programme to upgrade the operating assets on the NEL, which opened 15 years ago.

The contract includes:

  • installing a new condition monitoring system to monitor train performance more closely and facilitate better maintenance planning
  • upgrading air-conditioning, ventilation and passenger information systems
  • replacing interior fittings such as seats, panels and flooring, and
  • detailed inspections on all the mechanical and electrical systems for the trains, with parts repaired or replaced where necessary.

The mid-life upgrade of the C751A fleet, which dates from 2000 - 2003, will be funded by the Singapore government under the New Rail Financing Framework. Works are scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2019 and are expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2024. To minimise disruption, only one train will be out of service for refurbishment at any given time, with work taking place at the NEL Sengkang Depot.

Line upgrades

LTA and SBS Transit have also announced early closure of selected NEL stations starting January 2019 to support intensified maintenance and renewal works.

LTA says that while the NEL is one of the most reliable MRT lines, with an average of one million Mean Kilometres Between Failures (MKBF) in 2018, maintenance is needed to sustain a high level of reliability as the infrastructure ages.

From January 4 2019 to March 2 2019, NEL stations between Serangoon and Punggol will be closed early at around 23:00 on selected Fridays and Saturdays. Train services for the rest of the NEL, between Harbour Front and Serangoon, will also operate with increased headways of about nine minutes during the early closures.

From March 8 2019 to March 30 2019, NEL stations between HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut will be affected by early closure on Fridays and Saturdays.

The works will cover parts of the NEL power system and platform screen doors, as well as accelerate the replacement of rail crossings, signalling point machines and tracks.

“It is timely for LTA and SBST to carry out an intensified maintenance and renewal programme for the NEL trains and railway infrastructure, to ensure that commuters can continue to benefit from reliable and comfortable journeys,” says LTA chief executive, Mr Ngien Hoon Ping.

“The extended engineering hours will enable us to intensify preventive maintenance activities as compared to what we can do during regular maintenance hours,” says SBS Transit CEO, Mr Gan Juay Kiat. “About one-and-a-half extra hours a night during the early closure means about 12 hours more per month. This is essential, as our train system is now more than 15 years old. Concurrently, we are embarking on renewal works on the first 25 NEL trains. These combined maintenance activities are aimed at further improving overall reliability of our NEL train services.”