Cutting teeth

Cutting teeth_Header

As a young, inexperienced father, my firstborn’s teething when her first pair of teeth cut through the gums was quite an experience as she became irritable and restless. My wife and I felt helpless, not quite knowing what to do to relieve our girl’s discomfort.

We subsequently became better at managing her younger sisters’ teething. All these happened decades ago 🙂

Well, I will soon experience my first rail line’s “teething” :(.

Cutting teeth_PictureCome 27 December, Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) with its 12 new stations will begin operation. LTA and SBST engineers have spent many months preparing and testing the entire system, from the operations control centre to the trains and tunnels. This includes a very large number of tests on the integration between DTL1 and DTL2. By the time of the opening, they would have chalked up thousands of tests.

Will there still be teething issues despite all the tests?

The engineers told me to expect a “bedding-in” period of several months before the system stabilises. This is common for all new lines. While they can perform all forms of testing in a simulated environment, they cannot fully replicate how the system will actually perform in a live environment involving thousands of commuters. (Remember Murphy’s Law again!)

What was DTL1’s teething experience when it opened in December 2013?

There were two disruptions in January and March 2014. One involved a train’s emergency brake and the other, a power trip. This time round, when we need to integrate a new stretch of the line with another that is already in operation, we can expect more challenges.

But we are working hard to minimise any disruptions in this teething process. We must also anticipate the worst, and have drawer plans for contingencies in the event that disruptions do occur. We want to be proud parents, not stressed-out ones.

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