Wednesday, October 23, 2013

1st upgrade of SMRT trains' motors since 1987 !

There is an article in The Edge magazine which highlights that Toshiba has secured a contract from SMRT to upgrade the drive systems of their 66 six-car C151 trains to PMSM (permanent magnet synchronous motors).

According to the article, it will be the 1st upgrade to the drive systems since the trains entered service in 1987.  Wow - that is 26 years long!  Wonder if the train services have not been breaking down so often in recent years, would SMRT plan for the upgrade ?

The impression we have of SMRT is that they will run their trains' parts and infrastructure to ground before spending money on upgrade.  Hopefully they have learned their lesson of saving pennies on maintenance and paying pounds in fine to the govt for public service disruptions.

We can look forward to quieter train ride in the near future as PMSM reduces heat generation, so there is no need for cooling fan or radiators, thus generating less noise. These new motors also consume 30% less energy. SMRT will have cost saving to off set their increasing operating expenditure due to bad management under their ex CEO and even under the current bunch of ex-army officers.

SMRT looks set to become a second career opening for army personals. What relevant engineering experience does army personals have in train operation ? Perhaps they can take over when times are good. In trouble time - likely they are just white elephants. The ex-CEO (with retail experience) who took over in good time, has run SMRT to its current pathetic state. So what chance does the current bunch of ex-army officers have in reinstating SMRT to its formal glory ?

As our govt is so supportive of foreign talents, SMRT should have gotten their key management team from train transport operators of Japan, Taiwan or HK instead of from our local army. It may help to resolve our escalating train woes.

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