SINGAPORE: Many train components are replaced before their expiry for safety and reliability reasons, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament on Friday (Jan 29), even before the recommended lifespan is reached.
"This is because how long they will actually last depends on many other factors, such as how often they are used, how they are treated and maintained, as well as the operating environment," Mr Khaw said, in response to a question by NCMP Dennis Tan.
The Minister added that it is the responsibility of the train operators to make this detailed assessment, and replace deteriorated components earlier than their end of life if necessary, to maintain the safety, reliability and performance of the system.
This is especially so for critical components and those with safety implications, he added.
To further ensure timely replacement and upgrades, LTA has been working with the operators to install condition-monitoring tools when they become available in the market, Mr Khaw said.
They also jointly monitor and analyse data and trends to try to anticipate any asset deterioration so as to eliminate such risks. Meanwhile, LTA will continue to work with the operators to further tighten the maintenance and replacement regime.
"The bottom line is this: Rail reliability is an engineering problem. I think (we should) let our engineers solve it the engineers' way," said Mr Khaw.
"But as users, commuters, and commentators and some armchair critics, you can just look at it from the point of view of the outcome," he added. "That well, when I need the train, is it there? And we know yes, we are not quite where we want it to be."
Mr Khaw reiterated that the authorities were making improvements and that this was a top priority for the Transport Ministry and himself.
"You just look at me, look at my hair. I think it's in a mess of maybe duckweed, multiple colours, you know. I promised my wife that I will make time to go and dye it before Chinese New Year," he said.