Seen these on the MRT lately?
TRAIN passengers travelling on the North East Line (NEL) in recent weeks would have noticed something new during their commute.
Nearly all NEL train carriages now have octagonal overhead handrails installed, providing passengers with more handholds.
Frequent NEL commuters whom My Paper spoke to yesterday said they noticed the new handrails on the trains in the past month or so.
A check with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed that 23 of the 25 NEL trains have been equipped with the additional handrails.
The last two trains will be fitted with the handrails in the next two weeks.
This is part of the LTA's move, which was announced in February, to facilitate boarding and spread passengers more uniformly in train carriages.
To be completed by the middle of next year, the initiative involves adding handrails, and removing grab poles at the centre of the train-door area, to enable passengers to get in and out of a train more easily.
Modifications are being made on trains of the North South East West Lines (NSEWL) and Circle Line (CCL) to add two rows of overhead handrails between the seats, in addition to the existing handrails in the centre.
The changes have been made on 33 of the 40 CCL trains so far, with work on the NSEWL trains starting this month.
The NEL trains are getting the octagonal handrails to avoid blocking covers located in the ceiling of the carriages - where train equipment is located - which are accessed regularly during maintenance, explained an LTA spokesman.
Many commuters welcomed the unique design and functionality of the octagonal handrails.
Mr Sugan Ranasamy, 21, a full-time national serviceman, believed they are more accessible and will be better "for the elderly" than the three-horizontal-handrail design for trains on the other lines, because of the octagonal handrails' layout.
"The other train lines should adopt this shape as well," he added.
Retiree K. L. Leow, 67, said that the octagonal shape helps "spread the crowd (out) a bit more".
The centre overhead handrails in the carriage of a NEL train can have 30 handholds attached. But the three octagonal bars that can be found in a carriage add another 24 handholds.
However, some people had reservations about the octagonal handrails. For example, a 1.83m-tall commuter remarked on citizen-journalism website Stomp that he had hit his head against such a handrail.
My Paper understands that the handrails are 1.84m above the carriage floor.
Said 15-year-old student Kam Jia Juo: "People who are using the new handrails may obstruct passengers who are getting up from their seats."