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[Others] Voices/Forum Replies On Train Articles
Train cracks a telltale sign of inferior materials used
From: Straits Times
By: Thomas Lee Hock Seng
Date: 08/07/16

It has been reported that 26 out of 35 China-made MRT trains had to be sent back for repair ("Hairline cracks in 26 MRT trains made in China"; Wednesday).

This is not a small number - nearly 75 per cent of the batch - and the trains have been running for just over three years.

How long is a typical MRT train expected to last before hairline cracks appear?

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Are there enough security safeguards at MRT stations?
From: Straits Times
By: Gan Kok Tiong
Date: 08/07/16

While it is good to be forewarned about terrorism, we should also question whether we have done enough to minimise the chances of a terror attack ("Prepare for the inevitable: terror at home"; July 6).

One area which I am concerned about is MRT stations.

On a few occasions while taking the MRT, I have noticed some people on the opposite train lines who seemed to be intently focused on the commuters entering and leaving other trains.

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Is rail system ready to support car-lite strategy?
From: Straits Times
By: Sim Eng Cheong
Date: 09/07/16

The discovery of defects in so many new MRT trains does not bode well for the Government's car-lite strategy ("Hairline cracks in 26 MRT trains made in China"; Wednesday).

This unfortunate episode raises the possibility that the rail infrastructure, which is the backbone of our public transport, may not be ready as planned for the increased passenger load, if a significant portion of car owners either heed the Government's call to give up their cars or are forced to do so by rising costs such as higher parking fees ("Govt taking clear stand on curbing car ownership: Experts"; July 1).

An overburdened public transport system will not be beneficial to Singaporeans.

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Need to pre-empt future delivery issues
From: Straits Times
By: Seow Joo Heng
Date: 09/07/16

Although the defective China-made trains, which are still under warranty, are progressively being sent back to their Chinese manufacturer for repair ("5 of 26 defective China-made trains now fixed, says LTA"; Thursday), it is imperative to pre-empt future problems.

After all, the same consortium is still delivering new trains to Singapore. When it was awarded the contracts in 2014 (91 four-car trains) and last year (12 six-car trains), was it able to assure us that there would be no more of such defects?

How will we ensure that the "localised impurity" that occurred during the manufacturing process will not happen again (" 'Impurities in material' caused cracks on MRT trains"; Thursday)?

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Set up govt committee to set record straight on defective SMRT trains
From: TODAY(Voices)
By: RAYMOND KOH BOCK SWI
Date: 11/07/16

As much as the report “Train cracks cast doubts on China’s rail ambitions” (July 8) casts doubt on the calibre of Chinese supplier CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive, there are issues to ponder closer to home.

Singapore, as a First World country, takes pride in practising transparency, sound corporate governance, meritocracy and being the best in our corporate and public sectors, with a world-class transport system.

What went wrong, however, with the defective trains supplied for SMRT’s use?

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Install metal detector gates at MRT stations
From: Straits Times
By: Seow Joo Heng
Date: 11/07/16

Terrorist hits are becoming daily news nowadays, and they are inching ever closer to our homeland. It is not a matter of if they will happen, but when.

We must act to minimise potential casualties in such an eventuality. We must provide a bulwark for one of our softest targets - our MRT trains and crowded stations.

Approximately 2.9 million people use the trains daily. The sheer numbers warrant our best protection efforts. There are bag-check counters at MRT stations, but they are ineffective as the checks are ad hoc. Only one person carrying an explosive device needs to slip through to create carnage in a packed train.

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Commuters travelling outside city area enjoy travel perks too
From: TODAY(Voices)
By: HELEN LIM, GROUP DIRECTOR, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
Date: 11/07/16

We refer to Mr Goh Kian Huat’s letter “To be fair, offer early-bird free rides at all MRT stations” (July 1). There are several travel demand management measures to help distribute ridership in our rail system.

The Free Pre-Peak Travel scheme, which applies to exits at 18 city-centre MRT stations, aims to ease crowding for the most crowded stretches of the MRT network — the city-bound stretches — during the morning peak hour (8am to 9am).

The 7 per cent shift in commuters to pre-peak travel, while modest, has helped distribute morning ridership and improve commuter experience, even as overall ridership has grown.

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Govt should conduct review before taking over rail assets of SMRT
From: TODAY(Voices)
By: Ee Teck Siew
Date: 12/07/16

It is disturbing that defective MRT trains ordered in 2009 and delivered in 2011 must be returned to the manufacturer for repairs (“China-made trains: Impure materials caused cracks”; July 7).

So far, it has not been announced whether there will be any compensation from the manufacturers.

The incident was reported widely in Hong Kong, and MTR Corporation announced that it had also ordered trains from the same manufacturer but has not yet taken delivery of them. It is reported to be engaging with the manufacturer on this incident, and I believe it will take the delivery seriously to avoid the same problems.

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Unpleasant rides on Punggol LRT
From: Straits Times(Voices)
By: Alvin Tan Meng Hwee
Date: 12/07/16

The Punggol LRT line was planned together with the town and has an ideal alignment, which is straight and not subject to tight turns and hilly terrain.

However, after a recent change in train stop position to cater for two-car trains, the commute has become an unpleasant experience.

Besides more frequent minor train disruptions, there has also been a tremendous drop in speed along several stretches of the line, especially between the Punggol Town Centre station and Cove, Damai, Sam Kee and Soo Teck stations.

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Not practical to have metal detector gates at MRT stations
From: Straits Times
By: Seah Yam Meng
Date: 16/07/16

From a security point of view, the proposal to install metal detector gates at MRT stations appears to make a lot of sense ("Install metal detector gates at MRT stations" by Mr Seow Joo Heng; Monday).

However, the implementation of such a measure will cause too much disruption and inconvenience to commuters for it to be practical.

Such a drastic measure also smacks of a siege mentality, and the quality of life here will be unnecessarily affected.

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Have more art at MRT stations
From: Straits Times
By: Jacelyn Chia Yee Fang
Date: 12/07/16

It is encouraging to see various forms of art by Singaporean artists displayed at MRT stations, such as at Newton and Botanic Gardens.

Perhaps sculptures, performance art and mixed media art can also be displayed in older MRT stations, especially those located in the neighbourhoods of Singapore.

This can be a good way to showcase iconic landmarks of the area.

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Set up central pool of train engineers
From: Straits Times
By: Toh Cheng Seong
Date: 19/07/16

I struggle to reconcile SMRT's comment that rail fare margins have been on a declining trend with its top management's record earnings over the same period ("LTA to take over rail assets in move to improve service", "Khaw lists benefits of new financing model" and "An equitable deal with focus on commuter welfare"; all published last Saturday).

Perhaps the authorities can consider taking a few more steps for the industry's rationalisation and help SMRT to become an even more asset-light company.

I suggest the following additions as part of its new financing framework:

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No incentive for best service quality
From: Straits Times
By: Yeo Chee Kean
Date: 19/07/16

The announcement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of a new rail financing framework is definitely a step in the right direction, but may not be going far enough ("LTA to take over rail assets in move to improve service"; last Saturday).

Privatising a public service may not always lead to the desired result of better service quality.

The most successful privatisation effort thus far has been that of Singapore's telecommunications services. Consumers have benefited from better quality service and more competitive pricing.

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More fine-tuning needed on LTA-SMRT deal
From: Straits Times
By: Ng Chee Siang
Date: 19/07/16

The Government has agreed to take over rail operator SMRT's rail assets for about $1 billion ("LTA to take over rail assets in move to improve service"; July 16).

While this is a step towards better rail reliability here, it seems that there needs to be some fine-tuning done on the structure of the deal.

It was reported that the Land Transport Authority would own and make decisions on the building up, replacement and upgrading, while SMRT remains responsible for maintenance.

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Ensure high-speed rail fares can cover operation costs
From: Straits Times
By: Sng Ah Beng
Date: 25/07/16

The cost of building and running a high-speed rail is very high ("S'pore-KL rail link could hit tracks in 10 years' time"; July 20).

Hence, we must ensure that the upcoming high-speed rail link to Kuala Lumpur will not fall into the red.

There should be proper control of the fares. No special privilege should be given to government officials or staff either.

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Have dedicated rail service for travellers
From: Straits Times
By: Andrew Aw Zhenlong
Date: 25/07/16

Having a direct train connection from the airport to the city and high-speed rail terminus is a step towards achieving Singapore's vision of a car-lite nation ("Thomson-East Coast MRT line may be extended to airport"; July 22).

The train must have dedicated space for the storage of baggage, and as few stops in between as possible.

Perhaps the train can be operated as an express service on a separate track. A dedicated rail service could run from the high-speed rail terminus to the airport, with a stop in the city centre, where the Marina Bay Cruise Centre is located.

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Take time to get S'pore-KL high-speed rail right
From: Straits Times
By: Toh Cheng Seong
Date: 26/07/16

We should not lose sleep over any delays to the opening of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail connection ("High-speed track to the future", last Friday; and "Singapore-KL High-speed Rail: MOU a significant step forward" and "S'pore-KL rail link could hit tracks in 10 years' time", both published last Wednesday).

Time and tide can wait for the careful nurturing of historical and cultural ties.

We must get things right by first ensuring that the tender process of the complex deal is fair, transparent and objective.

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Leaks at MRT stations an eyesore
From: Straits Times(Forum)
By: Ang Ah Lay
Date: 09/09/16

During the past few months, many MRT commuters would have witnessed a constant eyesore at several stations along the recently opened Circle and Downtown lines: water or some unknown liquid dripping onto the floor or into pails.

The affected stations include Stevens, Botanic Gardens and Haw Par Villa.

For example, on the morning of Sept 7, the Stevens station had at least two leaking spots, one located indoors, near an escalator, and the other along the covered walkway behind the Bukit Timah Road bus stop.

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