A 16-year servicing contract between train operator SMRT and French rail multinational firm Alstom is set to raise the reliability of the Circle Line.
Servicing contract to raise reliability of the Circle Line From now till 2035, Alstom will provide spare parts, repairs, obsolescence management and technical support for the Circle Line PHOTO: ST FILE

The Circle Line (CCL) is set to become more reliable for commuters with the signing of a 16-year servicing contract between train operator SMRT and French rail multinational firm Alstom.

The long-term agreement announced on 6 May 2020 comes with unspecified "performance guarantees" and ensures the "continued reliability and availability" of the control systems that run the CCL.

Alstom built the CCL and the trains that run on it, and is also involved in supplying signalling equipment for the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line. From now till 2035, Alstom will provide spare parts, repairs, obsolescence management and technical support for the CCL.

A Singapore-based team of Alstom experts will also work closely with SMRT Trains' CCL team to maintain the availability and security of the train control system. Such localisation offers operational flexibility and efficiency to ensure "safe and reliable service" for CCL commuters, said SMRT and Alstom in a joint announcement.

SMRT Trains Chief Executive Lee Ling Wee said the partnership with Alstom will allow SMRT to maintain the performance of the CCL's signalling system through "long-term spare parts support, shorter repair turnaround time and access to Alstom's technical expertise".

Mr. Guillaume Denis, Vice-President of Alstom Digital Mobility in Asia-Pacific, said the long-term contract will "strengthen Alstom's service portfolio in the Asia-Pacific region... (and) enhance the localisation of key competencies in Singapore. We look forward to this long-term collaboration that will ultimately benefit passengers on the line."

Alstom is currently supplying the signalling system and 69 Spanish-built train cars for Stage 6 of the CCL, an extension between HarbourFront and Marina Bay stations. Consisting of Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward Road stations, it will be finished in 2025 and "close the loop" for the CCL.

Reliability of the CCL has continued to rise, clocking 1.22 million train-km between delays of more than five minutes at the end of last year, up from 728,000 train-km in 2018, according to the latest data from the Land Transport Authority dated 6 February 2020.

The overall reliability of the MRT network has continued to improve, rising to 1.32 million train-km at the end of last year, compared with 690,000 train-km for 2018.