SINGAPORE - Rail operator SMRT has taken delivery of the first of 45 new trains for the heavily-used North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL).
The first to wear SMRT's new orange-red-black livery, the train was built in China by a joint venture between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Qingdao Sifang.
It is also the first NSEWL train to have a new signalling system that allows service intervals to be shortened to 100 seconds, from 120 seconds now.
Called model C151B, it is almost identical to the C151A trains, which have been in service since 2011. These newer trains are 18 tonnes heavier than the older models. That is equivalent to 300 passengers, or nearly one-quarter of the average train load during peak periods.
SMRT said the new train will undergo "a period of rigorous testing before it is introduced for passenger service" from the first quarter of next year.
SMRT managing director of trains Lee Ling Wee said the new trains will progressively increase the capacity of Singapore's two oldest MRT lines.
This, in turn, will "contribute to a better travel experience for commuters".
SMRT is also working to add new trains to the Circle Line and the Bukit Panjang LRT. The first of these trains arrived last year.
"These efforts are key to our multi-year rail transformation plan to renew and upgrade ageing infrastructure and assets," Mr Lee added.
According to SMRT, all 45 new trains - said to cost $12 million to $13 million each - will arrive by 2018 to boost its NSEWL fleet to 186 trains. Another 12 are expected to be added by 2019.
Meanwhile, SMRT is also upgrading its existing fleet, starting with the 19 Siemens trains from Germany which have been in service since 1994.
Get MyPaper for more stories.