Singapore’s Transport Minister Sings Praise About Newly Launched Tuas Depot

Once again, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan tai chi’s away responsibility regarding issues with the MRT in a way that only he could.

Except it seems he really isn’t at fault this time.


During a speech at the Future Railway Technology for Depot and Trains event on Monday (13 Nov), he remarked that the Tuas Depot – which was recently launched – was actually 30 years’ late.

Did he just infer that his predecessors didn’t really plan things through?

Sole reliance on Bishan Depot

Ever since the launch of the MRT 30 years ago, the two major – North-South and East-West – lines had been supported mainly by the maintenance facility at Bishan — and 3 other substations at Bouna Vista, Stamford and Yasin.


According to Mr Khaw, the power load during peak hours was around 80% — a figure which was expected to increase by another 25% with the completion of resignalling works and opening of the Tues West Extension.

This meant that the back-up power reserves were required to be tapped into, and the addition of new trains – because we keep complaining – only further pushed the limits of the power capacity. Without the new Tuas Depot, energy consumption would have reached 105%, which is clearly quite impossible.

New train depot at Tuas

Which is why Mr Khaw sang praises about the recently launched Tuas Depot on Monday.


Fully commencing operations earlier in June, the Tuas Depot – which comes with a new power substation – was said to increase network power capacities by 50%.

Exclusively serving the East-West Line, Mr Khaw remarked that the launch was a great relief to the engineering and maintenance crew and would allow rail network staff to “sleep a little bit better”.

However, perhaps more interesting was what he said thereafter:

In a way, Tuas Depot is 30 years’ late, but better late than never!

This takes throwing people under the bus to a whole new level.

Guess it really wasn’t his fault

Can you really blame him though? It seems that him passing the buck this time is completely valid.

After all, back in 1987 Mr Khaw was still the CEO of the National University Hospital — something completely unrelated to transport.


It’s a little absurd to fault him for the lack of a 2nd major depot, right?

So why wasn’t the Tuas Depot built then?

But surely you must be wondering now — why wasn’t the Tuas Depot built years ago then?


According to Mr Khaw himself, the finances simply weren’t available then.

Guess that clears things up.

Looks like it wasn’t a matter of complacency after all but simply a case of not having enough money at the time.

Still kinda messed up that they didn’t really have a backup plan 30 years down the road though.

Can LTA and MOT fix the MRT trains?

However, this brings up an interesting question given the increased financial capabilities of the Land Transport Authority compared to 30 years ago.

With so many more new lines coming up, will maintenance be able to keep up? Or will history be doomed to repeat itself?

Hopefully Mr Khaw learns from his predecessors’ mistakes and makes the MRT system better.

Featured image from LTA’s Facebook