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Bukit Panjang LRT
Logo of Bukit Panjang LRT line
C801A trains in a two-car formation on the Bukit Panjang LRT
Overview
Native name Malay: Laluan LRT Bukit Panjang
Chinese: 武吉班让轻轨线
Tamil: புக்கிட் பஞ்சாங் வரி
StatusOperational
Owner Land Transport Authority
Locale Singapore
Termini
Stations13
Service
Type Automated guideway transit
People mover
System Light Rail Transit (Singapore)
Services2
Operator(s) SMRT Trains Ltd ( SMRT Corporation)
Depot(s) Ten Mile Junction
Rolling stock Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (C801)
Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (C801A)
Bombardier Innovia APM 300 (C801B)
Daily ridership64,781 (July 2020) [1]
History
Opened6 November 1999; 24 years ago (1999-11-06)
Technical
Line length8 km (5.0 mi) [2]
CharacterFully elevated
Track gauge2,642-millimetre (8 ft 8 in) central guideway with rubber tyres
Electrification600 V 50 Hz 3-phase AC third rail
SignallingCurrent: Bombardier CITYFLO 550 fixed block ATC under ATO GoA 4 (UTO), with subsystems of ATP, ATS and CBI [3] [4]
Future: Bombardier CITYFLO 650 moving block CBTC ATC under ATO GoA 4 (UTO), with subsystems of ATP, ATS and CBI
Route map

 JS1  NS4  BP1 
Choa Chu Kang
South View
 BP2 
Keat Hong
 BP3 
Teck Whye
 BP4 
Phoenix
 BP5 
non-revenue track,
depot access only
Ten Mile Junction
(permanently closed)
 BP14 
Choa Chu Kang Rd
Upper Bukit Timah Rd
 DT1 
 BP6 
Bukit Panjang
 BP7 
Petir
Bukit Panjang Rd
 
 BP8 
Pending
Senja
 BP13 
Jelapang
 BP12 
 BP9 
Bangkit
Segar
 BP11 
Fajar
 BP10 

The Bukit Panjang LRT ( abbreviation: BPLRT) is a 8-kilometre (5.0 mi) [2] automated guideway transit line in Bukit Panjang, Singapore. The BPLRT is currently the only LRT line operated by SMRT Trains. [5] As the name suggests, it serves 13 stations in the neighbourhood of Bukit Panjang and parts of Choa Chu Kang in the north-west of the country. The line was the first LRT line constructed in Singapore, having opened on 6 November 1999 by Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan.

It is a fully elevated and automated people mover system. The line currently uses the Innovia APM 100 C801 and C801A rolling stock supplied by Bombardier, running in a two-car formation. With a 20-year design lifespan, a major overhaul of the system began in 2019 that is scheduled to complete in 2026, which include a new signalling system (Innovia APM 300R) and power rails system, as well as rolling stock.

History

Planning and construction

In November 1994, Communication Minister Mah Bow Tan announced that the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC) was conducting studies on the feasibility of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in the estate of Bukit Panjang. [6] Subsequently, Bukit Panjang was one of the two locations selected for the construction of the first LRT systems in Singapore in December 1994, the other being at Queenstown and linked to Buona Vista MRT station, the latter of which was eventually not built. [7] The tender for the design and construction of the LRT system in Bukit Panjang were called in December 1994, receiving eight bids. [8]

In February 1996, the Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced that an LRT system in Bukit Panjang had been given the go-ahead, and was expected to be completed in three years. [9] An exhibition about the system was organised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in April 1996, featuring models and maps of the stations on the line, and a booth at which visitors could vote for the colours of the rolling stock, and the shape of the station roofs. [10] In the same month, the contract for the system's design and construction was awarded to a consortium consisting of Keppel Corporation, Gammon, and Adtranz for S$285 million. [11]

On 5 August 1997, the LTA awarded SMRT a license to operate the LRT due to its experience with the MRT system. [12] Testing on the line was underway by December 1998, [13] and it commenced operations on 6 November 1999. [14]

Reliability issues

Upon opening, the system suffered from reliability issues, having 32 service disruptions in its first six months of operation. Safety concerns regarding the system were also raised in Parliament [15] in the wake of a collision between two trains in November 2000 that injured five passengers [16] Most of these issues were rectified by September 2001, and by May 2002, the system was able to attain the government's desired service levels. [17]

However, a subsequent five-day service disruption in October 2002, caused by a loose guide wheel, led the LTA to conduct an audit on the maintenance procedures carried out for the line. [18] The audit found that the training and procedures for maintenance were adequate, but the actual maintenance work was not properly done, [19] and the LTA gave the line's operator, Singapore LRT, six months to rectify the lapses found in the audit. [20]

To rectify the issues with the system, Singapore LRT spent S$350,000 to replace worn-out wires in the line's signalling system, from December 2003 to April 2004. Service levels on the line had improved to adequate standards by 2003, [21] but a subsequent disruption of service in May 2004 led to the line's operator initiating an internal probe into the matter. [22]

Besides the reliability issues, the line was doing poorly financially, with Singapore LRT making annual losses of around S$2 million to S$3 million. [23] Ridership on the line was also low, with around 40,000 commuters daily, 10,000 less than needed to break even, and was not expected to increase further, given a development slowdown in Bukit Panjang. [24]

Upgrades and capacity increases

By 2010, ridership on the line had increased significantly, to around 47,000 commuters daily, and was expected to increase further. As the trains on the line had limited capacity to meet the demand, in November 2010, SMRT announced that they were contemplating capacity increases on the line. [25] These capacity increases, in the form of 13 additional train cars, and a supplementary bus service between heavily used stations on the line and Choa Chu Kang, were announced by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in July 2011. [26] In addition, SMRT contracted Bombardier to conduct a study on how to improve the line's reliability. [27] The new trains entered service on the line in 2015. [28]

In a bid to further improve reliability, in June 2015, the LTA and SMRT announced upgrades to the track, signalling systems, and electrical systems along the line, as faults in these areas had caused most of the service disruptions on the line. [29] Later that month, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew elaborated that the upgrades would comprise a 12-month study period to identify issues to rectify, and a several years long period in which the upgrades would be implemented. Additional staff were also deployed to improve service recovery, [30] and platform barriers were installed at all stations along the line by 2017. [31]

In October 2016, as the line was approaching its 20-year design lifespan, LTA and SMRT announced that they were considering several courses of action to take regarding the system. These comprised the renewal of the existing system, or its complete replacement, either with a new system or with buses. [32] On 8 March 2017, it was announced that the system's power supply, signalling, rolling stock, track, stations, new signalling system would be upgraded. The authority ruled out scrapping the entire system or changing to automated guided vehicles drawn on self-power as it would cause major traffic congestion. [33] On 3 October 2017, a tender for the revamp was called. [34] To improve service reliability in the interim period, SMRT shortened operating hours on all Sundays from 12 November 2017 until the end of that year, [35] which SMRT said allowed for additional time for maintenance. [36]

On 7 March 2018, LTA awarded the contract for $344 million to Bombardier, the original supplier of the rolling stock, to fully upgrade the system. This includes overhauling the line's signalling system with a communications-based train control (CBTC) system for a tighter headway between each trains and thus, reducing waiting time. The 19 first-generation trains will be removed from service and replaced while the 13 second-generation trains will be refurbished. [37] These upgrades are slated to be completed by 2026. [38]

Network and operations

Route

Covering a distance of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), [2] the fully elevated line has 13 stations, and connects Bukit Panjang with Choa Chu Kang MRT/LRT station. [39] From Choa Chu Kang station, the line runs east along Choa Chu Kang Way and Choa Chu Kang Road, before making a loop around Bukit Panjang. [11]

Services

There are two services on the line: A and B , both of which terminate at Choa Chu Kang.

Service Terminal via Direction
Currently operational
A Choa Chu Kang Senja Senja to Petir
Clockwise direction
Operates during peak hours (Weekdays) only
B Choa Chu Kang Petir Petir to Senja
Anti-clockwise direction
Defunct
C Ten Mile Junction Senja Clockwise direction

Stations

All stations, except Choa Chu Kang, have two facing side platforms. Choa Chu Kang has an island platform, similar to most Singapore MRT stations. All the stations on the LRT have half-height platform barriers, installed between 2016 and 2017. These platform barriers have fixed openings instead of platform doors, which the LTA attributed to insufficient space on the station platforms to install the equipment needed for platform doors. [31] Choa Chu Kang station also has two additional platforms and a new set of fare gates to ease crowding during peak hours.

The stations on the line sport a conventional barrel-roof design, which was chosen by the Bukit Panjang residents when the BPLRT was being constructed. [40] [41]

Bukit Panjang LRT line stations timeline
Date Description
6 November 1999 Opening of Bukit Panjang LRT (14 stations)
10 December 2010 Temporary closure of Ten Mile Junction
30 December 2011 Reopening of Ten Mile Junction
13 January 2019 Permanent closure of Ten Mile Junction
Stations on the line.

List

Station code Station name Images Interchange;
Adjacent transportation
Opening Location(s)
 BP1  NS4  JS1  Choa Chu Kang   North–South Line 
  Jurong Region Line  (2027)

  Choa Chu Kang
6 November 1999;
24 years ago
Choa Chu Kang
 BP2 
South View
 BP3 
Keat Hong
 BP4 
Teck Whye
 BP5 
Phoenix
 BP6  DT1  Bukit Panjang   Downtown Line  

  Bukit Panjang
Bukit Panjang
 BP7  Petir
 BP8  Pending
 BP9  Bangkit
 BP10  Fajar
 BP11  Segar
 BP12  Jelapang
 BP13  Senja
 BP14  Ten Mile Junction Permanently closed since 13 January 2019 Choa Chu Kang

Rolling stock

The Bukit Panjang LRT operates on the Bombardier Innovia APM 100 rolling stock, similar to the ones used by the Changi Airport Skytrain until 2006. An initial 19 trainsets were delivered in 1999 under C801, which bear a turquoise livery. An additional 13 trainsets were delivered in 2014 under C801A, bearing SMRT's pixel livery and a slightly different exterior design. Each unit is 12.8 metres (41 ft 11.9 in) long.

These trains, also known as automated people movers, are rubber-tyred for minimised operating noise within built-up areas and guided by a central guideway which also contains a power rail. They operate in both single-car and double-car arrangements, paired with a similar model (C801 and C801A trainsets are not cross-coupled). The trains are also equipped with windows that fog up automatically when the train runs near residential buildings. [42]

19 Bombardier Innovia APM 300R trains have been procured under C801B as part of the Bukit Panjang LRT overhaul. These trains will be equipped with Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system and will replace the first generation C801 trains.

Train formation

Between 1999 and 2015, the trains operated in one-car (M) formations throughout the day. Two-car formations were only operated during weekday peak hours to accommodate increased demand prior to the introduction of C801A trains in 2014. Service B used to operate 2-car sets only during weekday morning peak hours, while Service A mostly operated them during weekday evening peak hours.

From 2015 until 2019, the majority of trains operated in two-car (M-M) formations. Two-car formations were no longer limited to peak hours due to the increase in ridership and number of apartments in Bukit Panjang.

Since 2019, all of the trains are running in two-car (M-M) formations throughout the day. The units are limited to a two-car train formation because of station length. Coupling is usually done in Ten Mile Junction Depot and the trains are coupled with the same car type: C801+C801 or C801A+C801A. Occasionally units are mixed for reasons such as rescue operations or testing.

Train control

The line is equipped with Bombardier's CITYFLO 550 fixed block signalling system for automatic train control (ATC) under automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 4 (UTO). [43] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains, and a computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points settings.

When the Innovia APM 300R C801B enters service, the line will be upgraded to use Bombardier's CITYFLO 650 moving block communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling system.

References

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External links