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MRT disruption

Postby menudown » Mon, 26 Oct 2015 2:31 pm

Why are breakdowns more frequent these days despite promises to improve the service. Are they not putting in enough effort in doing so or are they unable to do so without addressing a far more serious problem.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/tr ... west-lines

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 26 Oct 2015 5:39 pm

One good reason for it is that there is not a history of MTBFs for either the rolling stock nor the infrastructure. Therefore, one can only do as much as they can according to the maintenance and testing as recommended by the manufacturers of the rolling stock and the electrical switchboards, tracks and other ancillaries. One has to remember that the earliest lines for the Mass transit system here are only around 25 years old give or take a year or two. Add to that the screaming at the government about hiring foreigners puts local maintenance engineers in those tunnels who really don't have mass transit in their blood like those coming from countries with really mature systems who would be able to 'sense' these things almost. Remember, mechanical and electrical faults often do not show signs of fatigue until they break. With a history of MTBF for certain mechanical/electrical devices, they have a better idea where to look but unless the parts show visible cracks or signs of overheating (electrical) it's not going to show up until it breaks. Most systems throughout the world have far more breakdowns on a daily basis than Singapore does on a monthly or yearly basis. No mechanical or electrical system will every run forever without breaking down. In the tropics electrical insulations take a beating due to the heat and humidity at the best of times. I don't think we give enough credit to the maintenance teams as it is.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 26 Oct 2015 5:57 pm

It's a pity, however, that for many years there was more a push for profitability than reliability and in the end it caught up with them.

Many countries, eventually, see the result of under investment and that's where we are now......where the UK has been only for the past 5-10yrs and where the US has been for a similar period (taking note the rather huge number of bridges, for example, that need replaced).
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby maneo » Tue, 27 Oct 2015 2:59 pm

ScoobyDoes wrote:It's a pity, however, that for many years there was more a push for profitability than reliability and in the end it caught up with them.

These repeated malfunctions seem to be the legacy of the previous CEO.

When maintenance is considered to be a "cost," rather than an investment as it is in HK (the HK MTR "invests" HK$5B/yr in maintenance), the apparent "savings" will be lost in later years as costs to recover from eventual failures. You end up paying one way or the other.

By the way, the HK MTR has 99.9% on-time service, and their objective is to resolve issues within 2 minutes.
HK's MTR is superior to SG's MRT.

In an article titled "Look to Hong Kong's MTR for lessons" (http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/look-to-hong-kongs-mtr-for-lessons), the author wrote, “Singapore should be open to learning from its neighbour, with regard to running a reliable rail network."
Unfortunately, learning occurs only when one has the humility to accept that change is needed.
With all the excuses being given, such learning seems doubtful.

Perhaps the government should try to recover all the bonuses paid to that previous MRT management and from the board directors that gave such short-sighted objectives.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby ScoobyDoes » Tue, 27 Oct 2015 3:10 pm

maneo wrote:Unfortunately, learning occurs only when one has the humility to accept that change is needed.



Less that there is acceptance that change is required and more that one accepts "we're NOT actually #1 at something" for all the posturing that goes on.

The tube admitted years ago to both under investment and it was pretty useless in places.......but given it's age there was a kind of misplaced excuse for it. Thankfully times seems to have changed and there is more money being pumped back into the network which, even as an outsider, is almost beyond comparison in scope and reach.
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'



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Re: MRT disruption

Postby menudown » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 5:08 pm

when they are privatized they became more focused on quarterly results and did not deal adequately with long-term maintenance

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/t ... -mahbubani

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 8:33 pm

menudown wrote:when they are privatized they became more focused on quarterly results and did not deal adequately with long-term maintenance

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/t ... -mahbubani


How distinctly un-Libertarian! Capitalism can do no wrong, government can do no right. Except when it is all bent out of shape by a quarterly profit seeking market that has no long term vision.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby thismyvoice » Tue, 03 Nov 2015 10:45 pm

Desmond the SMRT CEO did say that ""We can shorten our mean time between failures, we can step up our maintenance regime and intensify the amount of maintenance checks that we do on a regular basis but it will still not be able to 100 per cent catch every one of this potential faults that can take place especially when the system is at the age that it is".

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/t ... tter-train

Those with Engineering background will know what he is talking about

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:10 pm

I've been saying this for the last 5 years.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby thismyvoice » Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:27 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've been saying this for the last 5 years.


Unless you are Desmond, I doubt you have been saying it for 5 years. He said that in July this year.

Just for you, I highlight his key point again, since you apparently miss the message. What do you think he meant?

We can shorten our mean time between failures ....

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby thismyvoice » Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:12 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:One good reason for it is that there is not a history of MTBFs for either the rolling stock nor the infrastructure. Therefore, one can only do as much as they can according to the maintenance and testing as recommended by the manufacturers of the rolling stock and the electrical switchboards, tracks and other ancillaries. One has to remember that the earliest lines for the Mass transit system here are only around 25 years old give or take a year or two. Add to that the screaming at the government about hiring foreigners puts local maintenance engineers in those tunnels who really don't have mass transit in their blood like those coming from countries with really mature systems who would be able to 'sense' these things almost. Remember, mechanical and electrical faults often do not show signs of fatigue until they break. With a history of MTBF for certain mechanical/electrical devices, they have a better idea where to look but unless the parts show visible cracks or signs of overheating (electrical) it's not going to show up until it breaks. Most systems throughout the world have far more breakdowns on a daily basis than Singapore does on a monthly or yearly basis. No mechanical or electrical system will every run forever without breaking down. In the tropics electrical insulations take a beating due to the heat and humidity at the best of times. I don't think we give enough credit to the maintenance teams as it is.


Agree with your point on history of MTBF.

Do you think that SMRT previously hire experienced engineers from overseas or the cheapest quote from regional countries who graduated from "reputable universities"? You think they actually went on recruitment drive in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan? Anyway, all these are water under the bridge, accounted under the previous management.

What we can agree on is that Desmond Kuek cannot perform miracles. LTA and SMRT needs time, and lots of money to build / upgrade the infrastructure. To the populace, Hong Kong / Japan is the benchmark, despite HK's screw up in the last few years. I read somewhere that Singapore's SMRT uses 2 tracks per line while HK has 3. How to build that 3rd track at this current juncture? It is not a simple task.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:43 am

thismyvoice wrote:Desmond the SMRT CEO did say that ""We can shorten our mean time between failures...


Methinks the man wants to go in the wrong direction.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby maneo » Wed, 04 Nov 2015 5:05 am

thismyvoice wrote:Desmond the SMRT CEO did say that ""We can shorten our mean time between failures, we can step up our maintenance regime and intensify the amount of maintenance checks that we do on a regular basis but it will still not be able to 100 per cent catch every one of this potential faults that can take place especially when the system is at the age that it is".

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/t ... tter-train

Those with Engineering background will know what he is talking about

Shortening mean time between failures (MTBF) is not a good thing.
For MTBF longer is better.
Perhaps he really meant to say they would shorten the mean time between servicing or inspections, or something like that.

It is not a good sign when excuses are being made - e.g. "will still not be able to 100 per cent catch every one of this potential faults that can take place especially when the system is at the age that it is."

They really should be asking themselves why they failed to anticipate these problems.
There are systematic methods, such as Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA), specifically for anticipating problems and mitigating the risks with more robust system design, more robust components, and improved detection (e.g. inspections) for the most critical potential issues.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 04 Nov 2015 8:56 am

thismyvoice wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've been saying this for the last 5 years.


Unless you are Desmond, I doubt you have been saying it for 5 years. He said that in July this year.

Just for you, I highlight his key point again, since you apparently miss the message. What do you think he meant?

We can shorten our mean time between failures ....


Sorry. I highlighted, in MY mind, the rest of the text that you conveniently, for your purposes, didn't bold...

...we can step up our maintenance regime and intensify the amount of maintenance checks that we do on a regular basis but it will still not be able to 100 per cent catch every one of this potential faults that can take place especially when the system is at the age that it is.


And yes, I've been saying this for the last 5 years.

And I agree with SE that shortening the MTBF is NOT a good thing. But doubling down on maintenance and inspections can only catch some of the faults before they happen.

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Re: MRT disruption

Postby JR8 » Wed, 04 Nov 2015 2:21 pm

thismyvoice wrote:Desmond the SMRT CEO did say ....but it will still not be able to 100 per cent catch every one of this potential faults that can take place especially when the system is at the age that it is".


The age that it is... like probably the youngest subway in the world... it's so new, they're still having teething trouble? :???:

I don't recall ever being stuck on a train for more than 5mins in Tokyo, and I used it for my daily work commute there. London, yes, sure, of course - but it was founded c160 years ago.
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