Rigorous tests for Downtown Line 2 before Dec 27 launch
THE new Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) will be put through its paces with more than 800 tests - including running trains at peak frequencies and simulations of breakdowns - ahead of its official opening on Dec 27.
The test regime, which started six months ago, is one of the most rigorous in preparation for the launch of any train line in Singapore.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive Chew Men Leong said yesterday: "Compared to the launch of the previous lines, we have put in a more comprehensive and extensive testing regime...for normal and contingency operations."
Besides the reliability testing of trains, tracks and control systems, operator SBS Transit is also putting its staff through drills to respond to contingencies, such as when platform screen doors fail to open or trains lose power.
Yesterday, the media was shown a coupling exercise performed in the tunnel between the Little India and Newton stations.
In this scenario, a rescue train is used to couple with a "stalled" train to push it to the next station, so passengers can disembark.
The 12-station, 16.6km DTL2 will originate from Bukit Panjang and pass through the Bukit Timah corridor to Rochor, before connecting to the six-station Downtown Line 1 (DTL1) that opened two years ago at Bugis.
Integration testing between the DTL2 and DTL1 was completed at the end of October.
Simon Lane, chief executive of SBS Transit-Downtown Line, said 30 trains ran hourly between the Bukit Panjang (DTL2) and Chinatown (DTL1) stations over the weekend.
"We think the system stability is very good. It's not going to be perfect, there will be some glitches in the initial stages. But it's very well placed," Mr Lane said.
On the opening day of the DTL1 on Dec 22, 2013, a 15-minute disruption occurred due to a fault near Bayfront station. Five days later, a power trip disrupted train services for more than an hour.
Preliminary investigations found that the second incident may have been caused by a child passenger activating a detrainment switch, which triggered the power cut.
Mr Chew said LTA and SBS Transit are "well-geared" for the launch later this month. SBS Transit has also said it will deploy more staff at the DTL stations during the initial weeks of operations to guide commuters.
Mr Chew said that while they seek to keep teething issues to a minimum, he asked for the public's understanding should they happen.
"One scenario we cannot simulate is to run the trains fully loaded in a live environment... So in the coming months, we will need some stabilisation of the train systems and there will be some teething challenges," he added.
This Saturday, commuters can preview the DTL2 as part of an open house, from 10am to 6pm.