Bombardier delivers first high performance automated Movia Metros for Singapore Land Transport Authority

In October 2012, two weeks ahead of contractual schedule, Bombardier delivered the first of its new fully automated BOMBARDIER MOVIA* trainsets to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore.

This important milestone marked the successful first phase in the delivery of the first fully automated metro system delivered by Bombardier for the Singapore Downtown Line (DTL), which – at 42 kilometres in length – will be the world’s longest driverless underground mass rapid transit (MRT) line, carrying an estimated half a million passengers a day when fully operational in 2017.

The Singapore Downtown Line will be the fifth mass transit line in Singapore and is due to open in three stages in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The first phase will consist of six stations from Chinatown to Bugis. Stage 2 of the Downtown Line from Bukit Panjang to Rochor will reduce journey time to the city by one third i.e. a journey that previously took 1 hour will now only take 20 minutes. Starting from Bukit Panjang, it will pass through the Bukit Timah corridor before connecting to DTL1 at Bugis. The last stage will link commuters in the east to the busy downtown area.  With 34 new stations, intersecting with 10 interchanges, the Downtown Line will improve connections of the existing rail network, enabling direct travel from the northwestern and eastern corridors of the island to the Central Business District and the Marina Bay.  The system will be operated by SBS Transit which has a concession to run the line for 19 years.

Singapore has established an enviable reputation, built up over 25 years, for operating a world class mass transit system and is recognised globally as a flagship customer.  Inevitably this means that the LTA places strong emphasis on quality and excellence with high expectations of its suppliers.   Therefore Bombardier was particularly proud to receive the contract in 2008 to deliver the new fleet of 73 three-car automated MOVIA trains, incorporating design, engineering, manufacture, assembly, testing and commissioning. The new automated trains have been designed in Europe and are being assembled by  CBRC (Changchun Bombardier Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd.), Bombardier’s joint venture partner in China.  The joint venture partnership has already produced a number of MOVIA trains for operation in the Chinese market, including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Singapore Downtown Line was its first export project for an international customer.  In many respect, this has been a truly global partnership project, with Bombardier’s project management team based in Singapore, engineering from Hennigsdorf, Germany, bogie design from the UK, propulsion from Västerås, Sweden and vehicle manufacture and assembly in Changchun. Bombardier’s exceptional experience in international project management and its rigorous project execution processes have been crucial in achieving on time delivery to the most challenging customer.

At an early stage in the project, the joint venture produced a full-scale mock-up, which reinforced the customer’s confidence in Bombardier’s engineering capability and quality of manufacture. Transported to Singapore, it has also been used to showcase the interior, gangways and cab area to elicit public feedback on ways to improve the train design.

Following the notice to proceed in November 2008, key project milestones have included on-time commencement of type-testing in April 2011, Off-site Integrated System Performance Test (OSISPT) in Changchun, of trains 1 and 2 in September 2011 and first delivery of trains 3 and 4 to the customer in October/November 2012.  This will be followed by integrated testing in Singapore in early 2013, with service operation commencing by the end of 2013.

For the OSISPT, trains 1 and 2 – i.e. two pre-production trainsets – are currently undergoing an extensive 16-month programme of testing in Changchun and, once refurbished after testing, will be delivered as the last trains of stage 1.  A significant gap between assembly of the pre-production train sets and the rest of the fleet was built into the production schedule to allow sufficient time to validate the designs before the full production commenced. The manufacture of trains 12 to 73 will take place between 2013 and 2015. This thorough preparation at the start of the project is intended to ensure there are no issues further down the line when the trains enter service.

Thomas Siegemund, Director of Product Management Mass Transit, Bombardier Transportation, explains: “The Downtown Line contract included a rigorous design approval process, with authorisation needed at each stage for our technical solutions. As a customer, LTA is very experienced and they know exactly what they want from the system and place particular emphasis on reliability and performance. This entailed a lot of intensive work at the start of the project, but enables smoother homologation and product introduction.  Passengers in Singapore expect very high standards from the metro system – and needless to say, most of their attention is focused on the trains.  Our advance preparation and partnership approach, with both LTA and the other supplier partners, is therefore paramount.”

Siegemund adds: “The new MOVIA trains are in many ways conventional to ensure reliability, but ‘high end’ metros from a technical perspective. Being fully automated, Bombardier’s onboard train control management system (TCMS) needs to integrate with the respective supplier interfaces for signalling and platform screen doors, as well as with the Operations Control Centre. This is assured through the integration tests in Changchun, which take place on a dedicated 3km test track and will then be replicated on the customer’s track in Singapore beginning in the second quarter of 2013.”

In the event of an emergency, passengers will be able to self-activate the ‘detrainment’ evacuation door located at ends of the train. Hence the front-end design incorporates a central glazed door that folds down to give access to the track in an emergency. In the end cars this is incorporated in the wide welded aluminium body-shells. Safety is paramount and a specially designed fire barrier below the underframe of the vehicle has been fitted to withstand the penetration of fire for at least 45 minutes.  To detect and deflect objects from the tracks and to stop the driverless train, a bespoke designed obstacle detector/deflector is fitted at the ends of the train.

The new trains will offer passenger friendly interiors, increased capacity and – facilitated by automation – frequent services. There are 4 bi-parting doors per car side, enabling passengers to board and disembark quickly to fulfill the LTA’s commitment to its passengers for frequent, high capacity and safe services.  Automated services already operate on Singapore’s Circle and North East lines and this new route – the world’s longest fully automated underground route – will definitely increase rail connectivity on the island.

The 750 V DC power supply comes from a third rail and is fed to the IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) traction equipment with variable voltage, variable-frequency control. Both bogies of each end car are powered by two frame-mounted motors and two-thirds of the trains’ axles are driven. Regenerative braking is installed and combined with pneumatic brakes as required.

Passenger comfort is a priority and with high humidity levels in Singapore, a comfortable climate is maintained on board with two air-conditioning units per car. Both LED and LCD screens are used in the train’s passenger information system.

With greener transport also an important criterion for LTA, Bombardier MOVIA metro vehicles support this aim. The integration of industry-leading BOMBARDIER ECO4 technologies, including regenerative braking and an intelligent air-conditioning system – which ensures that air-conditioning is regulated according to passenger loading requirements – contribute to energy savings.

The MOVIA metro vehicles also include the world’s most advanced technologies in metro vehicle manufacturing, including the reliable BOMBARDIER MITRAC propulsion and control system featuring IP technology. The MOVIA metros are developed from a platform, which ensures a high degree of reliability, safety and maintainability while providing low life- cycle costs.  The vehicles are also up to 90% recyclable.

The success of the MOVIA car is acknowledged by the majority of operators around the world. This is evident with more than 3,900 MOVIA metro cars ordered to date. Bombardier’s expertise is proven as one of the world’s major suppliers of metro cars. More than 7 billion people use its metro cars every year in cities like New York, Montréal, Toronto, Paris, London, Berlin, Bucharest, Stockholm, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, New Delhi and many others.


Activity Date
Notice to proceed November 2008
Engineering substantially completed December 2009
Start type testing April 2011
Start off-site integrated system performance test (16 month programme at manufacturers’ site) September 2011
First delivery (train 3) October 2012
Integrated testing (Singapore) Early 2013
Test Running 2nd & 3rd Quarter 2013
Trial Running 4th Quarter 2013
Start service operation stage 1 4th Quarter 2013

Source : Bombardier

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