Bukit Panjang LRT Line

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 BPLRT 
Bukit Panjang LRT Line
Laluan LRT Bukit Panjang
武吉班让轻轨线
பக்கிட் பஞ்சாங் வரி
BPLRT-ExtMid-CX100.JPG
Overview
Type Automated guideway transit/People mover
System Light Rail Transit (Singapore)
Status Operational
Termini Choa Chu Kang
Ten Mile Junction
Stations 14
Services 3
Daily ridership 62,700
Operation
Opened 6 November 1999
Owner Land Transport Authority
Operator(s) SMRT Light Rail (SMRT Corporation)
Rolling stock Bombardier Innovia APM 100 C801
Bombardier Innovia APM 100 C801A
Technical
Line length 7.8 km (4.8 mi)
Electrification 600V AC Third rail
Route map
Southbound
to Marina South Pier
 NSL 
North South Line NS4
BP1 Choa Chu Kang
Northbound
to Jurong East
 NSL 
BP2 South View
BP3 Keat Hong
BP4 Teck Whye
BP5 Phoenix
Ten Mile Junction Depot
BP14 Ten Mile Junction
Choa Chu Kang Rd
Upper Bukit Timah Rd
Bukit Panjang DT1
Gali Batu Depot
Downtown Line  DTL 
BP6 Bukit Panjang
Petir BP7
Bukit Panjang Rd
Pending BP8
BP13 Senja
Bukit Panjang Rd
BP12 Jelapang
Bangkit BP9
BP11 Segar
BP10 Fajar
A view of Senja LRT station.
LRT platform of Choa Chu Kang MRT/LRT station.

The Bukit Panjang LRT Line is a 7.8-kilometre (4.8 mi) automated guideway transit line opened on 6 November 1999 as part of Singapore's LRT system. As an elevated people mover system, it is fully automated, and the project was contracted to Adtranz, Keppel Corporation and Gammon Construction. The line uses Innovia APM 100 rolling stock supplied by Adtranz (now Bombardier). A complete loop journey on the line (excluding Ten Mile Junction LRT station) takes 28 minutes.

Services[edit]

There are three services on the line: A and B terminate at Choa Chu Kang, and C ends at Ten Mile Junction.

Service Terminal via Notes
A Choa Chu Kang Senja Senja to Petir
Clockwise direction
B Choa Chu Kang Petir Petir to Senja
Anti-clockwise direction
C Ten Mile Junction Senja Operates every 20 Minutes. Loops clockwise via Senja to Petir

Stations[edit]

All stations, except Choa Chu Kang and Ten Mile Junction, have two facing side platforms. Choa Chu Kang has an island platform, similar to most Singapore MRT stations, while Ten Mile Junction has only a single platform and is the only station with platform screen doors (supplied by Horton Automatics). Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang have half-height platform barriers. Choa Chu Kang station will have two additional platforms and a new set of fare gates to ease crowding during peak hours. Between 2016 and 2017, they will install Half-Height Platform Barriers to the remaining 11 LRT stations.

As of April 2017, the Half-Height Platform Barriers are installed at Choa Chu Kang, South View, Keat Hong, Teck Whye, Phoenix, Petir, Pending, Bangkit, Fajar, Segar, Jelapang, Senja and Bukit Panjang station.

Number Name Interchange/Notes
 BP1  NS4  Choa Chu Kang Change for the North South Line
Terminus for Services A & B
 BP2  South View
 BP3  Keat Hong
 BP4  Teck Whye
 BP5  Phoenix
 BP6  DT1  Bukit Panjang Change for the Downtown Line
Service A & B bound for Choa Chu Kang
Service C bound for Ten Mile Junction
 BP7  Petir
 BP8  Pending
 BP9  Bangkit
 BP10  Fajar
 BP11  Segar
 BP12  Jelapang
 BP13  Senja
 BP14  Ten Mile Junction Service C terminus

Rolling Stock[edit]

The line uses Bombardier Innovia APM 100 "people-movers", similar to the ones used by the Changi Airport Skytrain until 2006, coded C801 and C801A. C801s have been in operation ever since the start of service on the line in 1999, while C801As were delivered and started operations in late 2014. Each unit is 12,800 millimetres (41 ft 11.9 in) long.

Train Formation[edit]

As of 2015, the majority of trains are in two-car (M-M) formations. Two-car formations are no longer limited to peak hours only and are now used at all times. This is due to the increase in ridership and the large number of apartments around Bukit Panjang. The units are limited to a two-car train formation because of station length.

Coupling is usually done in Ten Mile Junction Depot and the trains are coupled with the same car type: C801+C801 or C801A+C801A. Occasionally units are mixed for reasons such as breakdowns or testing.

Train Control[edit]

The line is equipped with Bombardier’s CITYFLO 550 fixed block signalling system for Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 4 (UTO).[1] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains, and a computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points settings.

Incidents[edit]

  • An LRT train with 20 passengers crashed into an empty one at Phoenix station on 19 November 2000 after an operations officer failed to do a manual check of the lines before restarting the network system. The impact threw seated and standing passengers to the floor of the train, injuring five of them. The service was disrupted for seven hours but it was restored in stages and was fully functional again by 2.30 pm the same day. Then Communications and Information Technology Minister Yeo Cheow Tong visited the site soon after being told of the accident. However, the cause of the accident was never uncovered till this day.[2]
  • On March 9, 2015, during the evening peak hours, the Bukit Panjang LRT was suspended from service for full 24 hours due to a power trip which was caused by a fire at Senja Station. The fire was caused due to a sudden power surge and the fuse box failed to handle the surge. Usually the fuse box will trip the system and activate safety measures, but on that day the fuse box failed to do so and instead burst into flames. The problem was identified as arcing problem which was why the power "jumped". The reason for how the fire started, however, is still a mystery till today.[3]
  • On the late morning of 28 July 2016, a train departed Segar for Jelapang on Service B. However, the train sped past Jelapang, Senja and Bukit Panjang stations. One of the passengers said that the Emergency Stop Button was not working, and there was no response on the Emergency phone. According to a passenger, the train finally stopped before Phoenix Station after another passenger managed to make a call on her mobile phone. Subsequent investigations showed that the train had a faulty antenna which resulted in the stations not being able to receive information about the train and thus did not stop the train at the stations.[4][5]
  • On the evening of September 27, 2016, a track fault resulted in the damage of the collector shoes on 15 train cars. This resulted in multiple delays and disruptions across the entire network and the damaged collector shoes further damaged the entire network's tracks. During the morning peak of the following day (September 28, 2016), the already damaged track resulted in further disruptions 4 hours after train service started. When the trains did arrive the stations, more problems occurred, including stalled trains, smoke, and stuck doors that staff had to open manually. With damaged tracks and half of the usual fleet running, the delays were more severe than previous cases this year (2016). Later in the afternoon, SMRT announced on social media, Facebook and Twitter, stating that only Service B is available and no train service towards Choa Chu Kang Station. However, they announced again that train service has been temporarily suspended as engineers were carrying out maintenance and repair works. Train service fully resumes at 5:45pm with only half of the usual fleet operating.[6]
  • In the wee hours of 24 March 2017, a man was killed in a train accident after the last train left Fajar LRT Station. Residences, however, reported nothing unusual around the time of incident, and the body was found when a staff went to the platform levels to do routine checks. Straits Times revealed that in the past there were 2 cases of accidents along the same line. In 2000, Mr See Chau Lai, a hawker assistant, died after he was hit by a train near Jelapang LRT Station of the same LRT line. A coroner's inquiry found that he walked along the tracks after having too much to drink. That was the first fatality since the Bukit Panjang LRT started operations. In 2010, a LRT technician died of injuries sustained after being hit by a train at Phoenix LRT Station. Mr Chia Teck Heng was checking the power rail between Phoenix and Bukit Panjang stations.[7]
  • On 28 March 2017, trains broke down on the line, leading to 65 people having to be evacuated. The Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived shortly after and guided the stranded passengers to the nearest station. SMRT later revealed that the incident was due to a propulsion fault on one of the train cars.[8]

Future Plans[edit]

SMRT and LTA announced for plans to completely overhaul the BPLRT system as the system is reaching its lifespan of 20 years. A few reasons for the overhaul of the system was due to the fact that the system has been plagued with problems since its first operation in 1999 and it is one of the two systems in the world that still uses the CX-100 train cars (the other being Miami MetroMover). SMRT is still deciding on four of this options to either replace or upgrade the existing system:[9] On 8 March 2017, The Transport Ministry has stated that the Bukit Panjang LRT will get a complete overhaul and upgrading,[10] including ruling out of the scrapping of the entire system, as it will cause major traffic congestion.

Options Brief Idea Pros Cons
1 The first option is to replace the current trains with self-powered autonomous guided vehicles on the existing viaducts. The BPLRT trains currently draw on external power, and in April this year, four trains on the BPLRT system stalled when the line was hit by a power trip. (Ruled Out) Does not require an external power source which means it is not affected by power faults. Newer guided vehicles can incur more cost for maintenance and the newer LRT train cars will be deemed "wasted" as they have only operated in the recent years.
2 The second option the firm is considering is replacing the current system with a new conventional LRT system with "significant" design enhancements in key infrastructure like power supply, signalling, rolling stock and track and station assets. Enhanced system can ensure smoother rides and lesser faults re-occurring in the long run. Upgraded trains ensures lesser faults occurring on the train itself. Not cost effective as the system may be suspended for upgrading works to start due to the replacement of the power supply and also causes inconvenience for daily commuters. If work is done during service, trains will slow down between journeys and either services might be suspended for upgrade works.
3 The third option SMRT is considering is renewing the existing system, keeping the AC power design but with a more updated signalling system that will allow more accurate control of trains as well as more trains moving at faster speeds and closer headways on the network. Better train frequency and faster rides to each stations while having more control over each individual trains. Less likely to impact daily commuters as work can be done after train service ended. If work is done during service, trains will slow down between journeys and either services might be suspended for upgrade works.
4 The last option is to completely scrap the system and be replaced by bus services. (Ruled Out) More options to transform the existing infrastructures into other things. More buses on the road may lead to an even more congested road and bus frequency can be unstable due to road conditions. Newer LRT train cars, new equipment installed in every stations and the new platforms being constructed at Choa Chu Kang Station will be wasted as well.

References[edit]

External links[edit]