September 24, 2023

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SBS Transit announces initiatives to improve reliability of train services

SBS Transit announces initiatives to improve reliability of train services

SBS Transit, a leading bus and rail operator in Singapore, has
signed a Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) with the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) and Metro Consulting Service
Ltd (MCS) to strengthen its engineering and maintenance capabilities and improve
the reliability of its train services. It has also invested in a number of predictive
maintenance systems, which will be rolled out over the next few months.

SBS Transit operates the North East Line (NEL), Downtown Line
(DTL) and the Sengkang Punggol LRT (Light Rail Transit) system in Singapore. TRTC
oversees the Taipei Metro System and it has been operating metro systems for
the past 23 years. MCS is a subsidiary of TRTC with 13 years of consultancy
expertise in railway operations, maintenance and management. It has
participated in rail consultation projects in Taiwan, China, Eastern Europe and
Central Asia.

This MOU signed by SBS Transit Chief Executive Officer, Mr
Gan Juay Kiat, President of TRTC, Mr B.C. Yen and President of MCS, Mr
Ying-Chung Chuie, deepens the already existing strong ties between the parties.
It enables the three organisations to leverage on each other’s competencies and
experiences in operations and maintenance through mutual exchanges, study
visits, training and the sharing of best practices.

It is aimed towards achieving SBS Transit’s 1,000,000 train-km
Mean Kilometre Between Failures (MKBF) target. MKBF is a reliability measure
used internationally in the rail industry. SBS Transit’s lines have operated at
MKBFs of 663,000 train-km, 650,000 train-km and 115,000 car-km respectively in

Predictive Maintenance Monitoring Systems

SBS Transit has invested in Predictive Maintenance Monitoring Systems to identify and flag out component deterioration for rectification before they develop into a fault. The areas of focus include power, train and track as failures in their equipment are likely to affect passengers’ travel.

High Voltage Power Cable Partial Discharge Monitoring System

Credit: SBS Transit

Power faults, which have significant impact on train
operations, are now monitored via a system which continually scans the high
voltage power cables for power discharge. The High Voltage Power Cable Partial Discharge monitoring system monitors and detects
intense partial discharge activities in power cables, sending warning alerts to the maintenance
team for follow up action before an actual fault occurs.
It also able to detect and locate incipient faults to assist the team to quickly rectify the cable

Dissolved Gas Analysis

Credit: SBS Transit

Dissolved Gas Analysis detects any thermal or electrical
fault by providing a real-time measurement of Hydrogen, Carbon Monoxide,
Methane, Ethylene, Acetylene and moisture contents in insulating oil of the

Faults are identified according to the gas compositions as
various types of faults emit gases of different levels. This system improves
the reliability of the power intake transformers by diagnosing incipient faults
before they lead to serious incidents and allows the engineers to protect the
transformers in a cost-effective, reliable and continuous manner.

Automatic Track Inspection

Credit: SBS Transit

As a first line of detection for track defects or faults, SBS
Transit has successfully tested and commissioned the Automatic Track Inspection
(ATI) system on the DTL with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) last year.

Using cameras, lasers and sensors, the ATI system is able to
instantly detect any track anomalies such as cracks, missing fasteners, wheel
burns, corrugation and third rail sag. Alerts are sent to keep key personnel
informed so that the issue can be rectified promptly.

Systems to be rolled
out with funding support from LTA

Over the next few months, these systems will be rolled out with
funding support from LTA. The Diagnostic Expert System, which synchronises all
the train system logs for analysis, plotting all data into a single timeline
and using pre-defined parameters, will flag out anomalies in the various system
components such as brakes and propulsion of the train and highlight the
probable root cause based on the analysis of the data.

Credit: SBS Transit

“We are working hard to achieve the 1,000,000 train-km MKBF
for NEL and DTL and will keep pushing ourselves to doing better to improve
train reliability,” said Mr Gan.

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