Bukit Panjang LRT line

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Bukit Panjang LRT line
Logo of Bukit Panjang LRT line
A C801 on Bukit Panjang LRT line
A C801 on Bukit Panjang LRT line
Overview
Native nameLaluan LRT Bukit Panjang
武吉班让轻轨线
புக்கிட் பஞ்சாங் வரி
StatusOperational
OwnerLand Transport Authority
LocaleSingapore
TerminiChoa Chua Kang
Stations13
Service
TypeAutomated guideway transit/People mover
SystemLight Rail Transit (Singapore)
Services2
Operator(s)SMRT Trains Ltd (SMRT Corporation)
Depot(s)Ten Mile Junction
Rolling stock
Daily ridership64,781 (July 2020)[1]
History
Opened6 November 1999; 21 years ago (1999-11-06)
Technical
Line length7.6 km (4.7 mi)
CharacterFully elevated
Electrification600 V 50 Hz 3-phase AC Third rail
SignallingCurrent: Bombardier CITYFLO 550 fixed block ATC with subsystems of ATO GoA 4 (UTO), ATP, ATS, CBI[2][3]
Future: Bombardier CITYFLO 650 moving block CBTC ATC with subsystems of ATO GoA 4 (UTO), ATP, ATS, CBI
Route map

to Marina South Pier
 NS4  BP1 
Choa Chu Kang
to Jurong East
 BP2 
South View
 BP3 
Keat Hong
 BP4 
Teck Whye
 BP5 
Phoenix
non-revenue track, depot access only
 BP14 
Ten Mile Junction
(closed 2019)
Choa Chu Kang Rd
Upper Bukit Timah Rd
 DT1  BP6 
Bukit Panjang
Petir
 BP7 
Bukit Panjang Rd
Pending
 BP8 
 BP13 
Senja
Bukit Panjang Rd
 BP12 
Jelapang
Bangkit
 BP9 
 BP11 
Segar
 BP10 
Fajar

The Bukit Panjang LRT line (BPLRT) is a 7.6-kilometre (4.7 mi) automated guideway transit line in Bukit Panjang, Singapore. The BPLRT is the only LRT line operated by SMRT Trains.[4] As the name suggests, it serves 13 stations in the neighbourhood of Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang.

The line is the first LRT line in Singapore and was opened on 6 November 1999 by Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan. It is a fully elevated and automated people mover system. The line uses Innovia APM 100 C801 and C801A rolling stock supplied by Bombardier, running in a two-car formation. The line is infamous for its frequent breakdowns and plans have been made to overhaul the system.

History[edit]

The idea of Bukit Panjang LRT was first pitched in 1991 before the government announced (in 1994) that it would pilot the system there. Two years later, in 1996, construction began for the Bukit Panjang LRT, along which a few changes were distinguished from the MRT lines:

  • It became the first (and at the time, the only) line with a fully automated train with no drivers (driverless trains would later become a prominent role starting from North East MRT line in 2003)
  • There are 13 stations, a loop will be formed between stations for Bukit Panjang
  • There was an integrated development at the Ten Mile Junction LRT station, comprising a station, depot and shopping centre. The station was decommissioned in 2019.

The LRT was planned to run above ground to avoid the road safety issues of trams, and because to avoid obstructing the KTM railway tracks, according to Low Seow Chay. Recalling "terrible" traffic jams at the junction of Woodlands Road and Choa Chu Kang Road during the early 90s, he explained: "The Bukit Panjang residents had trouble accessing the Choa Chu Kang MRT station and bus interchange including towards the city due to the poor traffic flow." The KJE was opened in 1994, diverting most of the heavy traffic and solving the problem. He also asked for a dedicated bus viaduct to be built to relieve congestion, but the request was rejected since LRT became the only main option.[citation needed]

In 1994, Transport Minister Mah Bow Tan, told Parliament of the need for "efficient and affordable" public transport, and that the potential of LRT as an internal feeder service was being studied. There are other intentions of the LRT to replace all the feeder buses. Today, residents have LRT and few feeder bus services.[citation needed]

The project, which was contracted to Adtranz, Keppel Corporation and Gammon Construction, was completed on 6 November 1999.[5]

On 5 August 1997, the Land Transport Authority awarded SMRT a licence to operate the LRT due to its experience with the MRT system.[6]

On 10 December 2010, the Ten Mile Junction LRT Station closed due to retrofitting of station, and reopened on 30 December 2011; however, due to the low demand, on 13 January 2019, the LRT station became the first-ever operational train station in Singapore to be permanently closed. Due to this, LRT Service C, which ran from Ten Mile Junction LRT station to loop via Senja, ceased operations.[citation needed]

Reliability and controversy[edit]

The Bukit Panjang LRT has been beset by reliability issues since its inception, which was attributed to the difficult terrain and mature state of the town, in contrast to other developing towns in Singapore.[7] Notable incidents include a collision between two trains on 19 November 2000 which injured five passengers barely a year after its opening, constant power glitches and maintenance failures,[8][9][10][11][12] and an incident of a train skipping stations completely. The line has also suffered fatalities when passengers accessed the tracks without authorization, as its station lacked platform screen doors.[13] In 2010, a LRT technician died of injuries sustained after being hit by a train at Phoenix station; he had been checking the power rail between Phoenix and Bukit Panjang stations.[14]

On the late morning of 28 July 2016, a train departed Segar on Service B, but sped past Jelapang, Senja and Bukit Panjang stations. Passengers said that the emergency stop button did not function and there was no response on the emergency phone. The train finally stopped before Phoenix station after another passenger managed to call a number displayed in the train. Subsequent investigations showed that a faulty antenna on the train had resulted in the stations not being able to detect and stop the train accordingly. The emergency stop button was also designed to only function when the train was at a station and not in travel.[15][16]

On 12 September 2017, speaking at an event commemorating the completion of a power-rail upgrading project for the North South and East West MRT lines, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan suggested that the Bukit Panjang LRT had been built as an "afterthought" due to "political pressure".[17] Khaw said that the trains were designed in a "masochistic" manner, forcing commuters to go up and down with the twists and turns. He also compared the ride to a roller coaster, saying that it caused him dizziness.[18] According to one commentator, his comment implies that his predecessor Mah Bow Tan erred in approving the LRT system and trivialises the work and contribution of railway engineers. Most critically, the commentator implied that the PAP government had succumbed to pressure and spent hundreds of millions of dollars without serious consideration and robust planning.[19]

Future plans[edit]

In 2016, SMRT and LTA announced plans to completely overhaul the line as the system approached its designated lifespan of 20 years, with the other factor being the aging CX-100 train cars which was only being used in two transit systems by then, the other being Miami MetroMover.[20] On 8 March 2017, it was announced that the system's power supply, signalling, rolling stock, track, stations, new signalling system and upgrading would be upgraded. The authority ruled out scrapping the entire system or changing to automated guided vehicles drawn on self-power as it would cause major traffic congestion.[21] On 3 October 2017, a tender for the revamp was called.[22] To improve service reliability in the interim period, SMRT begin operations at 7am, instead of 5.30am, on all Sundays from 12 November 2017 until the end of that year.[23] In a statement on 5 November 2017, SMRT said that this allows for an additional 1.5 hours for maintenance to the existing two hours.[24]

On 7 March 2018, the Land Transport Authority awarded the contract to Bombardier Transportation for $344 million on upgrading the system. This includes replacing the line's signalling system with the new Communications-Based Train Control system for a tighter headway between each trains and thus, reducing waiting time. 19 first-generation trains will be replaced while 13 second-generation trains will be refurbished.[25] The upgrade is slated to be completed by 2024.[26]

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had said that the authority was considering shutting down the system for a few years to complete the overhaul.[27] He told reporters at a press briefing: "If we want to do serious upgrading — essentially to close it down so that we can re-do the whole tracks and so on, so that we don’t have these ups and downs. And we’re evaluating that proposition".[28] This was not done as SMRT decided to proceed with an alternative plan to reduce operating hours instead during the system renewal.[29][30][31][32][33] Ten Mile Junction station was also closed due to low demand, with the station reused as a testing station for the new C801Bs trains.[34]

Services[edit]

There are two services on the line: A and B terminate at Choa Chu Kang.

Service Terminal via Notes
Currently Operational
A Choa Chu Kang Senja Senja to Petir
Clockwise direction
Operates during peak hours (Weekdays) only
B Choa Chu Kang Petir Petir to Senja
Anti-clockwise direction
Defunct
C Ten Mile Junction Senja Clockwise direction

Stations[edit]

All stations, except Choa Chu Kang, have two facing side platforms. Choa Chu Kang has an island platform, similar to most Singapore MRT stations. All the stations on the LRT have half-height platform barriers, installed between 2016 and 2017. Choa Chu Kang station also has two additional platforms and a new set of fare gates to ease crowding during peak hours.

Number Name Image Interchange/notes
 BP1  NS4  JS1  Choa Chu Kang Choa Chu Kang LRT platform.jpg Interchange with the North South Line and the Jurong Region Line (2027)
Terminus for Services A & B
 BP2  South View South View LRT Station, Singapore - 20120204.jpg
 BP3  Keat Hong BP3 Keat Hong Platform 2.jpg
 BP4  Teck Whye BP4 Teck Whye Station Platform 1.jpg
 BP5  Phoenix BP5 Phoenix LRT Station exterior.jpg
 BP6  DT1  Bukit Panjang BP6 Bukit Panjang LRT Platform 2.jpg Connected to the Downtown Line
 BP7  Petir BP7 Petir LRT tracks.jpg
 BP8  Pending BP8 Pending Platform.jpg
 BP9  Bangkit BP9 Bangkit Station exterior.jpg
 BP10  Fajar BP10 Fajar LRT Station Entrance.jpg
 BP11  Segar BP11 Segar LRT Station Platform 2.jpg
 BP12  Jelapang BP12 Jelapang LRT Platform 1.jpg
 BP13  Senja Senja LRT Station, Singapore.jpg
 BP14  Ten Mile Junction TenMileJunctionInterior2.JPG Permanently closed since 13 January 2019

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.[citation needed] 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 12.8 metres (41 ft 11.9 in) long.[citation needed]

Train formation[edit]

Since 2015 till today, 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.[citation needed]

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 rescue operations or testing.[citation needed]

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).[35] 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.

When the Innovia APM 300R C801B enters service, the line will be upgraded to use Bombardier's CITYFLO 650 moving block communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling system.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Land Transport DataMall". mytransport.sg. Archived from the original on 21 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Mass transit signalling". Bombardier Transportation. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Bombardier Projects in Mass-transit signalling" (PDF). Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  4. ^ "About SMRT: Business and Subsidiaries". Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Built at a cost of $285 million, Bukit Panjang LRT may be scrapped". The Independent. 7 October 2016. Archived from the original on 15 December 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  6. ^ "SMRT 10th Anniversary Dinner". NAS. 5 August 1997. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  7. ^ Tan, Christopher (4 December 2019). "Bt Panjang LRT on track to leave problematic past behind". Today. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Bukit Panjang LRT services disrupted". TODAY. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ "From half service, to no service". The Straits Times. 28 September 2016. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Propulsion fault causes disruption". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Five-hour disruption on Bukit Panjang LRT line due to broken rail support brackets". Channel NewsAsia. 9 September 2017. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  12. ^ Lam, Lydia; Alkhatib, Shaffiq Idris (9 September 2017). "Broken rail support brackets behind 6-hour Bukit Panjang LRT disruption: SMRT". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Man dies after being run over by train at Fajar LRT station". The Straits Times. 24 March 2017. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  14. ^ "LRT train hits technician". The New Paper. 28 October 2010.
  15. ^ Lee, Min Kok (1 August 2016). "Antenna fault causes Bukit Panjang LRT train to skip 3 stations: SMRT". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Fault on antenna caused train to skip stations on BPLRT line: SMRT". CNA. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Behind the 'political pressure' that led to the 'afterthought' of Bukit Panjang LRT". Channel NewsAsia. 16 September 2017. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  18. ^ Sean Chan Kit Whye (13 September 2017). "Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan Admits Bukit Panjang LRT Was Built Under Political Pressure, Calls It An "Afterthought"". Must Share News. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  19. ^ Don Ho Jia Hao (15 September 2017). "Hard to reconcile claim that Bukit Panjang LRT was an afterthought". Today. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  20. ^ "SMRT reveals options to overhaul ageing Bukit Panjang LRT System". Archived from the original on 28 November 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Bukit Panjang LRT to be Upgraded to a New Conventional and Reliable LRT line". The Straits Times. 8 March 2017. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Tender to be called for Bukit Panjang LRT overhaul". 3 October 2017. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  23. ^ Cheng, Kenneth (23 October 2017). "BPLRT to start running later on Sundays from Nov 12 for renewal works". TODAY Online. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Bukit Panjang LRT to start at 7am every Sunday till year end". 11 November 2017. Archived from the original on 12 November 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  25. ^ Land Transport Authority (7 March 2018). "Awarding of contract to renew BPLRT". Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  26. ^ hermesauto (7 March 2018). "Parliament: $344m overhaul of Bukit Panjang LRT; smoother rides expected from 2022". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Govt may shut down Bukit Panjang LRT for at least 3 years: Khaw Boon Wan". The Independent. 17 October 2017. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Govt mulling years-long shutdown to overhaul Bt Panjang LRT: Khaw Boon Wan". Today. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  29. ^ hermesauto (23 March 2018). "Bukit Panjang LRT to close for 11 Sundays for maintenance works starting April 15". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Reliability on Bukit Panjang LRT to 'improve significantly', but works won't solve bumpiness issues". CNA. Archived from the original on 24 August 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  31. ^ hermesauto (21 June 2018). "Bukit Panjang LRT to resume Sunday operations in July with later opening time". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SMRT - New Operating Hours for the Bukit Panjang LRT from January 2019 as Planned Renewal Works Commence | Press Room | Land Transport Authority". www.lta.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  33. ^ "Bukit Panjang LRT network to be closed on Sundays in October to facilitate renewal works". Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  34. ^ "LTA | News Room | 1 | Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT - Progress Update on Renewal of Bukit Panjang LRT". www.lta.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  35. ^ "CITYFLO 550 - Singapore". Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.

External links[edit]