Planned service disruption to replace problematic cables being worked out
Singapore: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is looking to step up checks and examine whether higher-grade cables can be used for future rail projects, even as details of a planned disruption of the Circle Line's services to replace problematic ones are being worked out.
Faulty power cables were blamed for two disruptions on the Circle Line, with the latest incident last month affecting 10,500 passengers. Checks found that exposure to water in cable pits led to the deterioration of the cables in both cases.
Manufacturing defects and damage during installation were two other factors that led to the disruption in September last year, which affected more than 27,000 commuters.
Addressing concerns in Parliament yesterday, Minister of State (Transport) Josephine Teo said a full cable replacement programme will commence in January to replace over 1,000 cables - totalling 120km in length - to ensure greater journey reliability.
Mrs Teo said higher-grade cables will be used at Circle Line stations most susceptible to water seepage, as they are situated in areas where the water table is high.
The replacement of the cables is estimated to cost between S$14 million and S$15 million, with the LTA expected to fork out between S$2 million and S$3 million for the cost of higher-grade cables. The rest of the cost will be borne by the contractor, she said.
A planned disruption of Circle Line services is currently being worked out by the LTA, SMRT and the contractor to increase engineering hours and expedite the project.
When contacted, an LTA spokesperson said that they remain in discussions with SMRT on the planned closures.
When asked by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong on what lessons were learnt and how they can be applied to the Downtown and Thomson lines, Mrs Teo said cable checks could provide an early indication of cable deterioration.
The ministry is looking to step up checks from once every three months, to once every month.
"The LTA is reviewing whether higher-grade cables can be used in future projects, as well as installation efforts so as to minimise the defects that can be caused during installation," added Mrs Teo.
Six Circle Line stations - Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Bayfront and Nicoll Highway - will have water pumps installed to drain any water accumulated in cable pits.
Cables in the new Downtown Line are placed in cable troughs to protect and minimise their exposure to water, Mrs Teo said.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament that the Downtown Line Stage Two - which runs from Bukit Panjang to Bugis - remains on track for completion in 2015, despite construction work having met adverse soil conditions along the Bukit Timah Corridor.
Mr Lui said measures have been taken to keep the overall project on schedule, such as working with contractors to extend project hours where possible and shortening installation periods for track-work as well as electrical and mechanical works.--Courtesy of Today