Light Rail Transit (Singapore)

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Light Rail Transit (LRT)
Sistem Rel Ringan
轻轨列车系统
இலகு கடவு ரயில்
SingaporeLRT.svg
Overview
Owner Land Transport Authority
Locale Singapore
Transit type Automated guideway transit/People mover (APM)
Number of lines 3
Number of stations 42 (excluding Teck Lee)
Daily ridership 180,000 (2016)[1]
Operation
Began operation 6 November 1999; 18 years ago (1999-11-06)
Operator(s) SBS Transit (ComfortDelGro)
SMRT Light Rail (SMRT Corporation)
Technical
System length 28.8 km (17.90 mi)
A diagram of the physical spread of the MRT network across the island, including lines under construction.

The Light Rail Transit (LRT), also known as the Light Rapid Transit, is a series of localised automated guideway transit systems acting as feeder services to the heavy rail Mass Rapid Transit, which together with the LRT forms the core of Singapore's rail transport services. The first LRT line was opened in 1999 and the system has since expanded to three lines, each serving a public housing estate, namely Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol. Trains on these lines have at least one station linking it to the MRT and in turn the remainder of the LRT network.

All LRT lines use fully automated and driverless rubber-tired rolling stock closer in size and scope to a people mover system such as those found in many airports around the world. They are elevated and grade-separated in their entireties, and run on viaducts in order to save scarce land space in Singapore. In these respects, the LRT departs from the traditional sense of a light rail system (which are rarely grade-separated and in many cases include street running sections).

Along with the MRT, the LRT is constructed by the Land Transport Authority, with operating concessions currently handed to SMRT Light Rail and SBS Transit.

History[edit]

Conception[edit]

The concept of having rail lines which could bring people from door to door without requiring the use of road-based buses was much favoured by the government transport planners, especially with the increased emphasis on a rail-based public transport network. For intra town travel, LRTs were favoured over buses because trains run on dedicated elevated guideways, bypassing any traffic congestion and traffic lights on the roads, and do not add to road traffic. Train arrival and departure times are also almost guaranteed this way. It is also cleaner as the trains are electrically powered, and therefore lessens the effects of air pollution.

Opening of lines[edit]

The Bukit Panjang LRT opened on 6 November 1999, with all 14 stations opened at the same time. Ten Mile Junction station was closed from 10 December 2010 till 30 December 2011 for retrofitting works due to the closure and redevelopment of Ten Mile Junction shopping mall (now known as Junction 10), making it the first time an LRT or MRT Station completely closed in Singapore after opening. It is the first and only LRT line to be operated by SMRT Light Rail.

The Sengkang LRT opened in two main stages, the East Loop opening first on 18 January 2003 and most of the West Loop on 29 January 2005. Farmway on the West Loop subsequently opened on 15 November 2007. On 1 January 2013, Cheng Lim opened for passenger service and the west loop now operated in a bidirectional way.[2] Kupang opened for passenger service on 27 June 2015, marking the completion of the opening of all stations along the Sengkang LRT Line.[3]

For the Punggol LRT, the East Loop started operating on the same day as the Sengkang LRT's West Loop, with two stations closed. Oasis was opened for service on 15 June 2007, after more residents moved into Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats in the station's vicinity.[4] Damai opened on June 20, 2011.[5] The West Loop opened on 29 June 2014 at 11.15 am, with Nibong, Sumang and Soo Teck being the first stations to open.[6] Sam Kee, Punggol Point and Samudera opened on 29 February 2016, 29 December 2016 and 31 March 2017 respectively.[7][8]

Teck Lee LRT Station will remain closed until the area around the station has been developed.[7]

Improvements[edit]

Senkang-Punggol LRT Improvements[edit]

On 31 October 2012, LTA announced that by 2016, Sengkang and Punggol LRT systems will be upgraded to a two-car system for 16 of the 41 existing train cars, allowing double the number of passengers to board at any one time. Each train car can take up to 105 passengers. Hence, there is also the need to modify the signalling and communication system.[9]

On 22 December 2015, the two car trains entered service on the Sengkang LRT line, boosting capacity to 204 per trip as compared to 105 in a single car configuration.[10]

As of 2017, two car trains have entered service on the Punggol LRT line.[7]

Bukit Panjang LRT Improvements[edit]

For the Bukit Panjang LRT Line, SMRT and LTA announced for plans to completely overhaul the BPLRT system as the system is reaching its lifespan of 20 years.[11] Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has also announced plans to shut the Bukit Panjang LRT down for a small number of years to pave the way for the system's overhaul.[12] On 23 October 2017, SMRT announced that the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT) system will begin operations at 7am, instead of 5.30am, on all Sundays from November 12 until the end of the year, to allow more time for works to improve service reliability.[13]

Infrastructure[edit]

Network[edit]

Line and livery Opening year Terminal Stations Length (km) Depot Electrification
SMRT Light Rail
Bukit Panjang LRT 1999 Choa Chu Kang Ten Mile Junction 14 7.8 Ten Mile Junction Depot AC 600 V
SBS Transit
Sengkang LRT 2003 Sengkang (East Loop) 5 10.7 Sengkang Depot DC 750 V
2005 Sengkang (West Loop) 8
Punggol LRT 2005 Punggol (East Loop) 7 10.3
2014 Punggol (West Loop) 6a

a – excluding Teck Lee which is not operational.

Total: 42 28.8

Facilities[edit]

Since the LRT system was built in the 1990s, plans for barrier-free facilities have already been included during the planning stages. All 43 stations are equipped with such facilities, thus there will be no difficulties present for the old and handicapped. Barrier-free facilities include lifts, ramps, tactile guidance system and toilets with handicapped-friendly facilities; all stations include wide faregates. These barrier-free facilities will be included in all future LRT stations.[14]

Exterior view of Senja LRT station, one of the stations on the Bukit Panjang LRT Line.
Platform view of Thanggam LRT station, along the West Loop of the Sengkang LRT Line.

Lines[edit]

Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT)[edit]

The Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) is the first light rail line in Singapore. Spanning 7.8 km and consisting of 14 stations, the entire line opened in 1999, and is the first and only LRT line to be operated by SMRT Light Rail.[15]

Sengkang LRT (SKLRT)[edit]

The Sengkang LRT (SKLRT) is a 10.7 km light rail line which partially opened on 18 January 2003. It is part of the LRT system together with the other two lines. The East Loop has 5 stations, all operational, from Compassvale to Ranggung whereas the West Loop has 8 stations from Cheng Lim to Renjong. On 27 June 2015, Kupang opened, making it the last station on the Sengkang LRT to be opened. The completion of several new residential developments in the area deemed it suitable to operate after 12 years.[16]

For a comparison, Cheng Lim opened for passenger service on 1 January 2013 while Farmway opened for passenger service on 15 November 2007 while the rest of the West Loop stations opened for passenger service on 29 January 2005.

Punggol LRT (PGLRT)[edit]

The Punggol LRT (PGLRT) is a light rail line in Singapore within the LRT system together with the other two lines. Its first phase, which comprises a 10.3 km light rail line with 15 stations, began operating on 29 January 2005 (with the exception of Oasis, which was opened on 15 June 2007 and Damai, which was opened on 20 June 2011) whereas Nibong, Sumang and Soo Teck were opened on 29 June 2014, the rest of the stations are not opened as Punggol was halfway developed. Subsequently, Sam Kee opened on 29 February 2016, Punggol Point opened on 29 December 2016 while Samudera opened on 31 March 2017 as the area around the stations became more developed. Teck Lee will be opening in tandem with the developments around the area.

Depots[edit]

LRT trains are parked at the top level of Sengkang Depot.

The LRT system consists of two depots, which run the maintenance, inspection, train overhaul facilities and house the cars overnight. The Ten Mile Junction Depot houses cars for Bukit Panjang LRT, and the Sengkang Depot houses cars for the Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT, together with the North East Line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).

Rolling stock[edit]

Line Name No.
of Trains
Service Start Speed Limit
Bukit Panjang LRT Bombardier Innovia C801 19 1999 48 km/h
Bombardier Innovia C801A 13 2014
Sengkang-Punggol LRT Mitsubishi Crystal Mover C810 41 2003 70 km/h
Mitsubishi Crystal Mover C810A 16 2016
A new Bombardier INNOVIA APM 100 running on the guiderails, in SMRT new livery.
A Crystal Mover on the Punggol LRT system at Punggol LRT station in Singapore.

The trains on the LRT system are fitted with rubber tyres, rather than steel wheels, on specially-constructed guideways from which its power is also sourced. All cars are fully automated and driverless, and are controlled from their respective depots.

Rolling stock that is on the Light Rail Transit are also used on the Changi Airport Skytrain, where the only change is in 2006 from the Bombardier C-100 to Mitsubishi Crystal Mover.

Little is known regarding the fate of the older Bombardier C-100s that was built in 1990 for the Changi Airport Skytrain.

Signalling[edit]

All Light Rail Lines are able to run automatically, are fully driverless and automated. The following list documents the systems:

Line Supplier Solution Type [note 1] Commissioning Length (km) Level of Automation[note 2] Control Centre Remarks
Bukit Panjang LRT Bombardier CITYFLO 550 Fixed Block 1999 7.8 UTO Ten Mile Junction Depot
Sengkang-Punggol LRT Kyosan APM Signalling 2003/2005 10.7 Sengkang Depot
2005/2014 10.3

Depots[edit]

LRT trains are parked at the top level of Sengkang Depot.

The LRT system consists of two depots, which run the maintenance, inspection, train overhaul facilities and house the cars overnight. The Ten Mile Junction Depot houses cars for Bukit Panjang LRT, and the Sengkang Depot houses cars for the Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT, together with the North East Line of the Mass Rapid Transit.(MRT)

Panoramic view showing the Sengkang LRT Line (SKLRT). Renjong LRT station lies to the left, and the Sengkang Depot for North East Line and SKLRT to the right. In the distant background lie Buangkok and Hougang.

Fares and ticketing[edit]

The Light Rail Transit uses the same ticketing system as the Mass Rapid Transit. It uses the contactless EZ-Link smart card and a standard single trip ticket.

Bukit Panjang LRT Line now uses Retractable Faregates instead of using Turnstile Faregates which is faster and easier and was completed in 2016.

Safety[edit]

By 2018, glass and steel platform barriers will be installed at all 43 LRT stations to prevent people from falling onto the tracks. Unlike the ones in overground MRT stations, the LRT structures will not have sliding doors but fixed openings. The barriers have been erected at Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Panjang LRT stations in anticipation of higher commuter traffic with the opening of Downtown Line 2. This will be followed by the rest of the stations on the Bukit Panjang and Sengkang-Punggol LRT lines, with the work to be fully completed on all LRT lines in 2018.[17]

The installation of these barriers was completed at all Bukit Panjang LRT stations in 2017.[18]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fixed Block = Fixed Block signalling. Moving Block TBTC = Moving Block using Induction Loops. Moving Block CBTC = Moving Block Using Radio.
  2. ^ UTO = Unattended Train Operation. DTO = Driverless Train Operation. STO = Semi-automated Operation Mode

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bus, rail ridership soars to new high". Retrieved 22 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Cheng Lim LRT Station To Open And Sengkang West LRT to Run in Both Directions". SBS Transit. December 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Kupang LRT Station to open on Saturday, 27 June 2015" (PDF). SBS Transit. 15 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Opening Of Oasis LRT Station". SBS Transit. June 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "SBS Transit Opens Woodleigh and Damai Stations". SBS Transit. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Punggol West LRT System to Commence Passenger Service and North East Line to Add More Train Trips". SBS Transit. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Commencement of Two-Car Operations on Punggol LRT East Loop & Opening of Punggol Point LRT Station on 29 December 2016". SBS Transit. 29 December 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Sam Kee Station on Punggol LRT System to open for Passenger Services". SBS Transit. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "2-car System for Sengkang Punggol LRT by 2016; Improvements to Choa Chu Kang LRT Station". Land Transport Authority. 31 October 2012. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "2-car trains roll out on Sengkang LRT". Straits Times. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "SMRT reveals options to overhaul ageing Bukit Panjang LRT System". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  12. ^ "Govt may shut down Bukit Panjang LRT for at least 3 years: Khaw Boon Wan". The Independent. Retrieved October 24, 2017. 
  13. ^ Cheng, Kenneth (23 October 2017). "BPLRT to start running later on Sundays from Nov 12 for renewal works". TODAY Online. 
  14. ^ "FACILITIES PROVIDED FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN MRT/LRT STATIONS" (PDF). Building and Construction Authority (BCA). Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  15. ^ "About SMRT: Business and Subsidiaries". Retrieved November 4, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Kupang LRT Station to Open and More than 260 Weekly Trips to be Added to the Sengkang/Punggol LRT". 2015-06-15. 
  17. ^ "Platform barriers at all LRT stations by 2018 to prevent falls". Straits Times. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Safety barriers installed on Bukit Panjang LRT; to be completed on Sengkang-Punggol LRT next year". October 3, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-24. 

External links[edit]