SINGAPORE: Work to replace rail sleepers on the East-West Line is now speedier, thanks to more access points where engineering vehicles can be launched onto train tracks.
Road Rail Vehicles (RRVs), which help replace timber sleepers with concrete ones, can now be hoisted up to the train tracks from sites near Chinese Gardens and Pasir Ris MRT stations.
Previously, the RRVs were launched from ground level - from Redhill and Kallang, as well as Ulu Pandan and Changi Depots. The hoisting - done by gantry cranes - will help workers save up to one hour.
For instance, to replace sleepers at Boon Lay MRT station, an RRV can be launched from Chinese Gardens. It would take the RRV about an hour to reach Boon Lay and back - a total distance of 8 km.
Without the crane's help, that distance and time would be doubled, as the RRV would then have to be launched from Ulu Pandan Depot - the nearest ground-level access point.
The cranes, however, are not be mobile - so the hoisting is confined only to the Chinese Gardens and Pasir Ris sites.
This gives operators more control over the crane and with less manoeuvring, risks can be reduced. The crane can lift up to 100 concrete sleepers, though in practice, operators take about half the load.
The cranes and their supporting structures take about a month to be set up. Tests are then conducted for one-and-a-half months before they are fully in use.
The crane at Pasir Ris was fully operational in January this year, while the one at Chinese Gardens is set to be fully in use by end-February.
Sleeper replacement is done at night between 1.30am and 4.30am. A total of 96,000 sleepers have been fully replaced on the North-South Line. SMRT aims to replace 92,000 sleepers on the East-West Line by end-2016.
Mechanical helping hand: Gear lifted unto track to replace sleepers. More access points speed up replacement work pic.twitter.com/j0270aID2f— LeongWaiKitCNA (@LeongWaiKitCNA) February 4, 2016