Older SMRT trains to get makeover for better ride

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FROM wider seats and non-slip floors to new propulsion systems, rail operator SMRT will refurbish its older trains to give commuters a more comfortable and reliable ride.

These details were revealed yesterday during a joint briefing with the Land Transport Authority (LTA). They come nearly a year after a Committee of Inquiry (COI) made its recommendations in the wake of two major train disruptions in December 2011.

SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek said: "What we want to do is take a comprehensive view of the entire system to see how we can improve on system reliability, safety and capacity."

Trains will be upgraded to provide more standing space and handrails, wider seats, non-slip floors and better ventilation.

Key parts such as propulsion systems, which provide power, and air compressors, which control doors and brakes, will be replaced on all 19 second-generation trains by 2016, and the 66 first-generation trains by 2019.

SMRT, which began operating the rail system in 1987, is already into its fourth generation of trains, with 35 more trains to be added by 2016.

The Straits Times reported last week that SMRT and the LTA are speeding up and expanding an extensive programme to rejuvenate the ageing North-South and East-West lines.

This includes changing the entire power-supplying third rail system on both lines to improve reliability. Details are still being worked out, though this is expected to be completed by 2018.

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