TL;DR – We can expect more frequent trains and better rides ahead!
On 4 April 2021, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) took delivery of the first of six new MRT trains destined for the MRT North-East Line (NEL), aka the purple line!
The six new trains are manufactured in Barcelona, Spain by French train maker Alstom. They are delivered by ship on a month-long journey from Barcelona to Singapore. They will be delivered to the NEL’s Sengkang Depot upon arrival on Singapore shores. Alstom also manufactured the first and second-generation trains currently operating on NEL and were introduced between 2003 and 2015.
These trains were purchased in 2018, ahead of the extension of the NEL to the future Punggol Coast MRT station (numbered “NE18” on the MRT system map), located in the future Punggol Digital District. The station is slated to be operational in 2024.
They will be fitted with condition monitoring devices that will provide real-time updates of the trains’ conditions and pre-empt the operator of possible faults on board, so that preventive maintenance can be conducted before failures occur.
The trains will don a distinct bright purple livery that is representative of the colour of the NEL.
The new NEL trains will increase the size of the line’s train fleet from 43 trains to 49 trains, which is a 14% increase. These six trains will form the third generation of trains for the NEL.
The trains will undergo a series of tests before commencing passenger operations in 2024.
Upgrades for the NEL
The NEL is Singapore’s third MRT line and is the first fully automatic driverless system to be operational here.
The line has been in service since 20 June 2003 and is seeing an increase in passenger numbers over the years as development projects take place in the north-east region. More projects will spring up over the next decade to breathe new life into the north-east region, in particular the development of Punggol.
To cater for the additional passenger loads and maintain high levels of reliability, the LTA, SBS Transit which operates the NEL and rail solutions provider CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Co Ltd., have embarked on a mid-life refurbishment of the 25 first-generation trains since 2019.
The components include:
- A complete makeover of the train interior with new flooring, seats and grab poles.
- New air-conditioning, lighting, announcement system and dynamic route map displays above the train doors.
- Condition monitoring equipment installed onboard the trains.
Once the refurbishment is completed in 2024, together with the six new trains, we can expect more frequent trains and better rides ahead.