No one appreciates it until something goes wrong. Sexy or not, maintenance is the most valuable work we need to do well, to keep a complex system humming.
Much preventive and corrective maintenance is carried out in the wee hours of the night, after train service ends. It is critical work because failure to spot and correct any tell-tale sign of equipment wear and tear can result in a major train service disruption. Just to illustrate the point, the maintenance teams do a lot in those 3.5 hours:
• Check all trains to be put in service the next morning – some 190 trains for the whole MRT network.
• Check entire track system, tunnels and viaducts once every 4 to 7 days.
• Change out defective track components, such as rails, power supply, electrical cables.
Maintenance also involves pre-planned servicing and testing of equipment that are taken out of service temporarily, and major equipment or system overhauls. This is usually done in depot workshops or by system suppliers/manufacturers.
SMRT and SBST are also installing real-time monitoring systems on trains as well as at critical locations to help detect equipment wear and tear earlier. This raises productivity and enhances our predictive maintenance regime, allowing for timely maintenance before something fails and an incident occurs.
Bottom line: as our rail network grows, and we run more trains and trips, we need many more engineers and technical staff to get all this maintenance done properly. We are still short of skilled staff. We need to expand the manpower for the entire rail industry.
All these improvements will take time, but we are determined to make it happen.
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