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SBS Transit strengthens MRT operations with new contracts and MOU with Siemens Mobility

SBS Transit has signed contracts and an MOU with Siemens Mobility to enhance the Downtown MRT Line’s operations. This includes long-term service support for its signalling system, localisation of point machine maintenance, and the implementation of AI-based train scheduling



From left to right: Siemens Mobility’s Asia-Pacific CEO, Mr Michel Obadia, SBS Transit’s Group CEO, Mr Jeffrey Sim, and Siemens Mobility Asia-Pacific’s CFO, Dr Katharina Sikora, officially inked their partnership towards long-term reliability and sustainable performance for Singapore’s Downtown Line on 30 May at the Asia Pacific Rail 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand.

SBS Transit, Singapore’s premier public transport operator, announced today a significant advancement in its maintenance and operational capabilities by signing two key contracts and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Siemens Mobility (SMPL).

These agreements focus on enhancing the Downtown MRT Line (DTL) signalling system and introducing an AI-based train scheduling solution, Controlguide® Airo, to better respond to passenger demand.

Since its inauguration in 2013, the DTL has utilized SMPL’s advanced Trainguard Sirius Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system.

The new Long-Term Service Support (LTSS) contract ensures continued access to spare parts and technical support.

This contract, extending until 2047, encompasses repair services, failure trend analysis, and obsolescence management, reinforcing the safety and reliability of train operations on the DTL.

In a move to localize maintenance capabilities, SBS Transit will establish a maintenance centre at its Component Service Centre, focusing on the MCEM91 point machines used in the DTL and upcoming MRT lines like the Jurong Region and Cross Island Lines.

This centre will become the sole authorised maintenance hub in South-East Asia, enhancing local engineering expertise and reducing maintenance turnaround times.

The renewed MOU will support the continued rollout of Controlguide® Airo, a pioneering demand-responsive train scheduling software.

This tool utilizes AI and data analytics to adjust train operations based on real-time passenger traffic, potentially reducing train mileage by up to 5% and diminishing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

It also prepares the system to handle sudden increases in passenger numbers from events effectively.

Michel Obadia, CEO of Siemens Mobility for Asia-Pacific and Singapore, emphasized the comprehensive nature of these agreements, which aim to maintain the DTL’s reputation as one of the world’s most reliable MRT lines.

”These include the localisation of the service capabilities for the electro-mechanical safety critical point machine, the long term service support of our  Trainguard CBTC solution as well as the implementation of a digital application to enhance the deployment of trains in the Downtown Line network, thanks to the use of  data and artificial intelligence algorithm.“

He highlighted the strategic importance of these technologies and local capabilities in sustaining high performance and enhancing passenger experiences.

Jeffrey Sim, Group CEO of SBS Transit, expressed enthusiasm about the strategic partnership’s role in boosting SBS Transit’s engineering competencies and maintaining high performance standards across the expanding MRT network.

“We are particularly excited to be designated as the sole authorised point machine maintenance centre in Singapore and South-East Asia, which recognises our engineering capabilities, and underscores our commitment not only to our passengers by providing safe and reliable journeys but also to the industry in building local rail expertise. With the MRT network expanding with the upcoming Jurong Region Line and the Cross Island Line, we place strategic importance in growing our MRO expertise on the Point Machines which are critical in our rail network.”

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You would think that after almost 40 years later. “Local Rail expertise” would have developed by now.

What is taking so long? Or perhaps “local rail expertise” is too expensive to maintain, thus experienced workers are “jettisoned” into early retirement by SMRT and SBS Transit.

After running MRT for around 30 years and seeing system issues after issues especially after Cleopatra took over. Not spending enough money to maintain the MRT system for years and seeing breakdowns after breakdowns while focusing on earning more money from retails and paying fat salaries to top managements and shareholders. Then have to be rescued with public funds to nationalize MRT, and the cost goes to us again. Since then finding solutions already engaging very expensive foreign experts to seek solutions same like now. Eventually these costs will come from somewhere like higher and higher fares from us commoners… Read more »