SINGAPORE — Following a 50-per-cent jump in complaints about warm train cabins from 2014 to last year, SMRT has reviewed the air-conditioning systems on trains plying the East-West and North-South Lines and implemented measures to make cabin temperatures more bearable.
The public transport operator said that one measure was to clean the motors in air-conditioners more frequently and efficiently, with a trial use of a new grade of carbon brush that may help reduce dust formation in the motors of first-generation trains.
Other efforts included using machines to charge the supply of air-conditioning gas and seal up leaky tubes in second-generation trains.
The review was first reported by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao on Wednesday (May 11), and in response to TODAY’s queries, SMRT said that the study was done between December last year and February. It found that trains from the first three generations were most “problematic, as far as the air-conditioning systems go”.
Temperature in train cabins have been hovering at an of average 24 degrees Celsius, the operator reported.
In March, SMRT then set up a taskforce to look into faults present in the first three generations of trains. The taskforce found that first-generation trains had dust building up in their air-conditioner motors which worsens their cooling functions. Second-generation trains were found to have air-conditioners with leaking tubes, while third-generation trains had defects that caused a lack of proper control of the air-conditioners.
The taskforce built on the information obtained during the earlier three-month review, and measures were taken due to the recent increase in feedback about the air-conditioning, which SMRT said could be due to a range of factors, such as the aging train system, rising temperatures in Singapore, and the increasing number of commuters.
For Mr Adli Jumat, 23, a social media and content executive who takes the MRT from Pioneer to Redhill stations daily for work, he observed that cabin temperature is raised significantly during peak hours where there is massive human traffic. He likened train rides to attending an outdoor concert, where it is “sweaty and sticky”.
Housewife Ruhaizah Maliki, 52, who takes her own handheld fan onboard trains, said that she sometimes feels “breathless” and the hot weather makes it feel like there is less air-conditioning.
Ms Melody Ann Gibson, 21, who travels from Admiralty to Bishan on the North-South Line as part of her daily commute to North Buona Vista Road, noticed that it “started getting stuffy and hot on the trains since last week”. She added that during peak hours when the trains are packed, “it gets really bad and I started getting headaches”.
SMRT said: “As the trains age, their aging patterns change. And so we have been proactively stepping up maintenance of our aircon system, from increased frequency of checks and cleaning, to replacement of parts altogether.”
Comfort is important, but no point having comfort if the train not moving or getting stuck with train down...