Signalling system in Hong Kong MTR train collision a 'version' of that used in Singapore

Signalling system in Hong Kong MTR train collision a 'version' of that used in Singapore

Joo Koon MRT station collision - AFP
Two trains after they collided at a train station in Singapore on Nov 15, 2017. (Photo: AFP / TOH Ting Wei)

SINGAPORE: The signalling system blamed for an MTR train collision in Hong Kong on Monday (Mar 18) is one of many adaptations of Thales' SelTrac system, a version of which is used on two of Singapore's MRT lines.

According to a South China Morning Post report on Monday, Hong Kong Federation of Railway Trade Unions chairman Lam Wai-keung said that the MTR trains crashed while running a system known as SelTrac, developed by Thales, a French company.

The crash brought services to a halt between the stations of Central and Admiralty, and the drivers of both trains were taken to hospital. 

In a reply to Channel NewsAsia, a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesperson said that there are many versions of SelTrac and a version of the system was used for the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) in Singapore.

"The NSEWL Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system is based on a version of Thales’ SelTrac signalling system. Each train signalling system is customised to the rail line it is installed on, and takes into account the unique local environment and infrastructural conditions," said LTA.

The system has also been adapted for metro systems in London, Beijing, Dubai, and Vancouver.

READ: Hong Kong faces commuter chaos after MTR train collision

On Nov 15, 2017, a "software logic issue" with the new signalling system at the time and a "confluence of failure conditions" caused a train collision at Joo Koon MRT station.

The spokesperson also said that the CBTC system has been in daily operation on the NSL since May 2017, and the EWL since May 2018, adding that "extensive trials" were conducted before the system progressed to be used for daily passenger service.

"Only after we were fully satisfied with its performance did we commence trials during passenger service hours, starting with the last hour of weekday passenger service, before progressing to full Sunday trials, and finally, to daily passenger service," LTA added.

Thales also established a CBTC simulation facility in April 2018, and has a dedicated team based in Singapore to work with LTA and the public transport operators. 

Source: CNA/ic(hm)

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