More maintenance work done with shorter weekend operating hours at some stations have given rail engineers a larger window of time to work
Keeping train rides safe and smooth The SMRT engineering team cutting through a section of rail to replace it at Boon Lay station yesterday. Rail junctions are replaced when they are worn beyond tolerance or when defects like cracks or chips are found. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Shorter operating hours at selected MRT stations during the weekends have given rail engineers a larger window of time at night to do maintenance and upgrading work.

At Boon Lay MRT station, engineers were able to finish cutting out, removing and replacing a worn-out switch rail during the wee hours of yesterday morning - a task which would normally have taken them three nights to complete.

A switch rail is found at rail junctions and can be moved mechanically to enable trains to switch lines.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary, who visited the station to observe the work, said in a Facebook posting that the longer engineering hours allow SMRT and Land Transport Authority staff to get "much more maintenance and preventive work done, keeping our rides safe and smooth".

For the months of August and September, 10 stations on the North-South and East-West lines close earlier at about 11pm on selected Fridays and Saturdays, and open later at about 8am on selected Saturdays and Sundays.

On normal days, trains run from 5.30am to about midnight.

During the weekends of shorter train operating hours, commuters are provided with bus shuttles which will ply the affected MRT stations.