According to the latest Facebook post by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, trains running in opposition directions will share a single tunnel under the new software program. It is unknown how far into testing the new system has been, but a glitch may result in a disastrous collision between two trains travelling in opposite direction. Singapore trains travel up to 80km/h in the tunnels.
Just two months ago on 16 Nov 2017, a new software glitch caused a train collision at Joo Koon station. Over 35 were injured, with many injuries sustained by commuters as severe as a broken tooth and fractures. SMRT and the Transport Ministry did not take responsibility, and instead pinned all blame on the signalling system contractor Thales. The new software allowing bi-directional trains to share the same tunnel is also by Thales. As Singapore’s train tunnels have only one-track, a software glitch or train system hacking would mean a head-on collision. It is unknown whether the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is aware of a general rule of safety for railway engineering that is to never use the same track.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said he wants to save time to repair one tunnel during operational hours while the other carry commuters.
The PAP Minister also specifically highlighted that he went on-site to the train tunnels in the late night, and took many photos to prove that he has been working hard:
“Last night, I joined them on the tracks. They showed me how the new Thales signalling system has made single-line operations possible for the NSL. Simply put, trains travelling in both directions are now able to use a single tunnel while the other tunnel is closed for maintenance works. This flexibility gives us another option when planning our works, to minimise inconvenience to commuters. This was not possible under the old signalling system.”