SINGAPORE: All trains travelling along the North-South Line (NSL) will pause at around 11pm on Tuesday (Mar 28), as authorities begin the trial of a new signalling system that will allow trains to travel at closer intervals.
Commuters will have to wait about 10 minutes during the last hour of passenger service, as SMRT's Operations Control Centre and train captains switch the network and trains over to the new signalling system.
The new system will allow trains to run more closely to each other, and this can shorten the waiting time for trains at stations from the current 120 seconds to 100 seconds.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said this could also improve peak hour capacity by up to 20 per cent.
"The results will help LTA decide when to extend trials to longer service hours, and eventually the full switch-over of the new signalling system," said Mr Tan Yih Long, LTA's re-signalling project director.
The move comes after LTA and SMRT successfully conducted trial runs during engineering hours, after passenger service.
These trial runs have taken place since August 2016 and included running test trains equipped with the new system and adjusting the alignment between train doors and platform screen doors when trains stop at stations.
Engineers also ran test trains at interchange stations between the NSL and the East-West Line (EWL) to ensure a proper switch-over, as re-signalling works are still underway for the EWL.
During this trial, SMRT will deploy staff to stations along the NSL to provide assistance to commuters.
"We would like to remind commuters not to rush to board the trains, as train doors will open and close automatically on the new signalling system," said Mr Siu Yow Wee, SMRT's director for Station Operations for the North-South and East-West Lines.
In October last year, LTA announced that the launch of the new signalling system would be delayed to 2017, instead of 2016 as originally projected. This was because more extensive reliability tests needed to be conducted, despite upgrading works being complete, it said.
The new Tuas West Extension, which will also use the signalling system, also had its opening pushed back, from end-2016 to the second quarter of 2017.