Last Updated on 2023-06-05 , 11:52 am
Choo, choo, trains. Trains, or the MRT, have become synonymous with our country’s high standards of public transport.
As expected with any other item, our trains get old and run down. New trains are commissioned to take their place and keep the train service up and running.
SMRT has announced that it will be launching new MRT trains for the North-South Line and the East-West Line this June.
Here is what you need to know about this new launch.
SMRT New Trains Will Be Launching Soon in Batches
SMRT has recently acquired 106 new trains to ply the North-South Line (aka the “red line”) and the East-West Line (aka the “green line”) in the coming years.
Starting this Sunday (4 June 2023), SMRT will be rolling out 16 of these trains. The rest of the trains will be rolled out in the coming years, with the rollout expected to be fully completed in 2026.
These trains were purchased from Alstrom SA (formerly known as Bombardier Transportation) and are meant to phase out the oldest of the train fleets. Some of the trains date back to 30 years ago when the North-South Line and East-West Line first commenced operations.
Are you ready for the smell of fresh paint and clean trains? We sure are.
Features to Look Forward to in the SMRT New Trains
According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), these SMRT new trains are swankier and sport better designs than their older counterparts. The focus is on improving the journey experience of commuters from all walks of life.
The train cabins in the new trains have more open spaces for strollers and those who need the assistance of a wheelchair. After all, we all know how squeezy things can get when peak travelling hours roll around.
Also, the new trains will have some ergonomic perch seats to accommodate more users.
Those who are regulars of the Downtown Line (aka “blue line”) may be familiar with this feature. The ergonomic perch seats will be a first for the North-South Line and East-West Line.
We can’t wait to see the new MRT train designs.
Apart from more space and seats, the LCD display system above the doors in every train carriage will be upgraded. Commuters can check the route and station information mid-journey by looking at these screens.
For those who prefer looking out of the windows to pretend that you are the main character of a movie, we have good news for you.
The windows in the new trains are panoramic and larger than the existing windows. This is for an “improved viewing experience” when the trains travel above ground between stations (for example, between Ang Mo Kio and Khatib on the North-South Line).
A “self-test system” will also be added to the trains to allow checks regarding whether the train is fit for operation before the services commence for the day. These trains will also subsequently be “equipped with condition-monitoring features to pre-emptively identify emerging faults and enable early rectification”.
That sounds great to us. Hopefully, there will no longer be horrible train disruptions to the two lines once the new MRT trains are released for the public to use.
If you are as impatient as us to see the unveiling of the new trains, this video posted on the LTA’s official Facebook page may satiate your curiosity for some time.
In the video, you can catch a first glimpse of the shiny new trains, which look sleek from the outside. The on-screen captions say that Minister S. Iswaran unveiled the new trains at the launch today, and several individuals can be seen pulling the red cloth from the trains.
There are also sneak peeks into the interior of the trains, which are coloured in hot pink, teal and green, to name a few. The reserved seats are darker in colour, as we are used to in the present train carriages.
The video also shows what the “panoramic” windows are like. They appear to be a large single sheet of glass without the middle separation portion that we are familiar with in the existing trains.
This gives the viewer an unblocked view of the scenery outside of the train.
More Trains for the North East Line And Circle Line Too
Apart from upgrading the trains for Singapore’s two oldest lines, the other lines in Singapore are also receiving love from the authorities.
The LTA has purchased six new trains for the North East Line (aka the “purple line”) and 23 new trains for the Circle Line (aka the “yellow line”).
These trains were also purchased from Alstrom SA. The purchases were made in anticipation of greater capacity needs once the two lines are extended in the coming years.
Several of the trains have arrived and are now undergoing rigorous testing by the respective train service operators and the Integrated Train Testing Centre to ensure that they are ready for commissioning.
Decommissioned Trains Will Continue to “Live On”
For those worried that the decommissioned trains are headed for the junkyard, fret not. There are efforts in place by the LTA to ensure sustainability in its operations.
In particular, the LTA is open to helping these trains find new owners. The LTA has issued a public call for community partners to support their initiative of giving the decommissioned trains “a new lease of life”.
Those who are interested can choose between adopting entire car trains or adopting individual parts from the train.
To date, educational institutions such as Skool4Kidz, the Rainbow Centre and the Singapore University of Technology and Design have collaborated with LTA to “upcycle various train parts”. There are non-profit organisations such as SG Enable and the Action for Green Towns Taskforce joining this initiative.
ITE College West has also reached out to LTA in collaboration to upcycle an entire train car for educational purposes.
If you want to own a piece of Singapore’s transport history, you can email LTA with further queries at [email protected].
There are no published requirements for who can own a part of the decommissioned trains, though we expect that the right owner must also have the right-sized wallets.
Yishun Has Already Started to Use Decommissioned Parts of the Train to Decorate the Neighbourhood
While Yishun has received its fair share of flak in recent years due to the mysterious and often scary events that occur, it has also made the news for something positive. No cat killings, lightning striking traffic lights or suicides this time round.
Instead, Yishun can proudly proclaim itself to be an estate which has upcycled the train seats of decommissioned trains to turn “trash” into something useful.
To be specific, certain void decks in Yishun have installed old train seats to provide comfortable relaxation spots for the residents.
This quirky feature is the result of the joint labour between Nee Soon Town Council and LTA. Nee Soon Town Council stated on Facebook that this is part of the Action for Green Towns programme set up by 15 PAP Town Councils in May 2021.
Nee Soon Town Council also shared that they were the “first Town Council to launch such an initiative in the heartlands”.
Kudos to them.
While this may sound like a fresh initiative, it has actually been in place for some time. The train seats used in Yishun are not from the current batch of trains being retired.
The initiative in Nee Soon was launched with ten sets of two-seater train seats and has expanded since there. Who can resist the cute designs of a couple of train seats at your void deck?
We think that this is an amazing and creative way to introduce some spunk and colour into the local neighbourhoods. Hopefully, other town councils follow suit, and we have more vibrant estates all around Singapore.
What do you think about this upcycling initiative for old trains in Singapore?
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