Back in 2020, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) will undergo a major overhaul.
The upgrades, which include new cabins and an advanced signalling system, were scheduled for completion by 2024.
However, on Monday (28 Nov), Transport Minister S Iswaran said that the upgrades have been delayed by two years to 2026.
In Parliament, the MP for Bukit Panjang SMC, Eng Hwa Liang, asked Mr Iswaran for an update about the works on the BPLRT.
Mr Eng also wanted to know when the system would revert to full dual loop service.
In a written reply, Mr Iswaran stated that there was progress on the renewal works. Part of the backend signalling system has already been updated as well.
However, due to the pandemic, the project encountered a number of difficulties.
Some of these challenges include manpower shortages, supply chain disruptions, and slower progress due to city lockdowns in China, where train manufacturing works are done.
Hence, the renewal is expected to be completed by 2026.
Meanwhile, Mr Iswaran asserted that the BPLRT would continue to offer full dual loop services during peak hours.
On the other hand, during off-peak hours, the BPLRT will run in a single loop as ridership is lower. This is to reduce the load on the ageing system before the upgrades are completed, he explained.
As such, there are over 10 bus services operating within Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Panjang to mitigate the impact on residents.
Furthermore, five of these bus services run parallel to stretches of the BPLRT.
Since December 2019, there were reduced operations on the BPLRT, reports The Straits Times (ST).
The loop via the Petir station is running normally while the other loop, via the Senja station, is currently suspended from 9am to 5pm, including weekends and public holidays.
In 2018, the BPLRT renewal contract was awarded to Bombardier Singapore.
The contract involves upgrading multiple systems on a live line, replacing the whole signalling and power rail system, and adding 19 new trains.
Another 13 trains from the current fleet will get an upgrade as well.
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Featured image adapted from SGTrains.
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