Emergency plans, drills to help ensure smooth running of DTL trains
- POSTED: 19 Dec 2013 18:05
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No effort's been spared to ensure that commuters have a smooth journey as the Downtown Line 1 rail network opens this Sunday -- emergency plans have been rigorously tested in the last three months, with over 180 drills conducted.
SINGAPORE: No effort's been spared to ensure that commuters have a smooth journey as the Downtown Line 1 rail network opens this Sunday -- emergency plans have been rigorously tested in the last three months, with over 180 drills conducted in the lead-up to the opening on December 22.
Some drills involved multiple agencies, and included the simulation of train breakdown scenarios.
The Operations Control Centre lies at the heart of Singapore's Downtown Line 1 rail network.
The chief controller acts as a conductor of the entire orchestra -- making sure trains run in concert with each other.
He is assisted by the maintenance coordinator, who oversees all faults; the traffic controller, who keeps the trains running; and the power facilities regulator, who looks after some of the emergency systems.
The centre itself is able to remotely control equipment at different train stations from one location, and has been busy with exercises to test staff on their emergency readiness.
Alex Goei, senior vice-president of rail operations with SBS Transit, said: "For operating staff, it is to test them in how they handle failures so that response time is kept to a minimum while ensuring the safety of passengers. For the engineering staff, it gives our technicians and our engineers the chance to check on the equipment performance."
The Operations Control Centre is able to monitor train stations through cameras, and can remotely reset trains if faults are detected. Alarms are raised to the centre if faults are detected, and station staff can also report on problems.
A DTL "Open House" event held prior to the Downtown Line 1's official launch helped test how stations coped with passenger loads.
In drills conducted at other times, community partners were roped in to test how staff directed passengers off trains and onto the tracks, if required, during a breakdown. Shuttle bus service routes to facilitate transport if such a situation occurred were also tested.
Exercises involved both public transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT, and also the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
Trains themselves have automated mechanisms which can bring them to a halt at the next station if there is a problem with the signalling system.
Before revenue service begins every morning, trains go through a "waking up" process to get them ready for the day. The whole waking up process, which is automated, takes about 20 minutes.
During this time, brakes, air-conditioning, lighting and battery systems are tested. Customer service officers will double-check the trains before they are launched.
Downtown Line 1's trains will run at four-minute intervals during peak hours, and five minutes apart during off-peak periods.