Friday, April 20, 2012

Mix And Match

Brecknell Willis is part of the Fanstan Electric Group, a private-owned operation with sister companies in Germany, Australia and America, and offices in Taiwan and China. It's first major rail electrification project was for the Bristol Tramway in 1895. Among its electrification/traction product range is the design, supply and maintenance of Conductor Rail Systems and ancillary products.

Its rail conductor reference list states 5,519 km installed since 1990, in places like Taipei, Milan, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, London, Oslo, Naples, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Tianjin, Beijing, Berlin, Chicago, Prague, Vancouver, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

An extract of the Singapore record shows that Brecknell Willis conductor rails have been used for our train system since 1998, first applied in the 13.5 km Changi Airport Line. The 63 km of the Singapore-Downtown Line also uses their "No.6 Under running" conductor rails. The latest application is for the Downtown Line 3, a 57 km contract awarded to C.T.C.I. in 2011.

Curiously, the collector shoe from Brecknell Willis is used only in the Circle Line, supplied during 2004-2005. It would seem non-Brecknell shoes are working with Brecknell conductor rails.

This is what the Brecknell shoe gear looks like:

The C.O.I. was told on the first day of the hearing that Brecknell Willis, hired to design the third rail system for Phase 1 of the MRT, had in 1987 suggested using a modified claw, with a split pin locking system (instead of the flimsy spring clip) that could withstand severe vibrations, to hold the third rail. "MRTC rejected the 1987 claw and wanted to use the older claw system," sniggered SMRT's lawyer Cavinder Bull. Today LTA has taken over MRTC's functions since 1995, and by implication, responsibility for the 1980s infrastructure decisions. Enough of the bull already, why can't someone just order the right product for the right application now. Otherwise the whole transportation system will have to revert the old all bus affair, which doesn't break down three times in a week.


  1. Is our MRT system;
    a.the earliest in the world? NO.
    b.the latest in the world? NO.
    c.the most extensive in the world? NO.
    d.the longest running tracks in the world? NO.
    e.the busiest in the world? NO.
    f.the highest passenger load in the world? NO.
    h.more complex than sending a man to the moon? NO.

    1.Do we have the highest paid Transportation Minister in the world? YES.

    2.Do we have the highest paid CEO of an MRT company in the world? YES.

    1. Sad! It sounds like the top just stuff money into their pockets and give nothing back to the poor. Sigh!

  2. To me, the sorry state of our MRT system is another clear sign and symptom of the 'rottening process' of the ruling class and this rot is now surfacing for everyone to see. They can no longer deliver the 'magic' that will do good to Singapore.

    We need to recognize this hard truth about them. For sure, they're not going to own up to their mistakes!

  3. Let SMRT go back to do what is the right thing to do at this moment. Stop the COI. It is useless and is a waste of taxpayers' money and impeding SMRT's effort to repair. They can have the Kangaroo court to find out whats wrong after commuters have uninterupted train ride. Is that so difficult?

    1. Nothing wrong with what you suggest.

      Except maybe SMRT themselves may not know what to do to solve the problem.

      This aeroplane may not have a pilot.

    2. This is one occasion when money need to be spent on a technical consultant, not a bunch of lawyers playing the blame game.

    3. SMRT themselves should be the expert and consultant in this matter.

      If you look at the way they've structured the organization;
      - Singapore government owns the physical assets
      - SMRT operates the assets

      This structure allows SMRT to sell it's MRT expertise to other countries later on.

      Only thing is .... where's the beef?
      Other than the retail shops which duplicates a retail landlord ... where is the MRT operating expertise?

      In Singapore, everybody wants to be the landlord.
      Nobody wants to be an engineer anymore.
      Then again, when was the last time you've heard of a Director of Engineering?

      Sales Director? YES
      Marketing Director? YES
      Managing Director? YES
      Human Resource Director? YES
      Finance Director? YES
      Engineering Director? NO.

    4. I think it is pre-mature to say the COI is useless. Awaiting Cleo Saw has to say when call up and the maintenance aspects.
      Finally the conclusion that can be derived. Only then if you need to, then shoot.

  4. Pilots left because of SAW?

  5. I don't know what to say! I don't know what to say!

  6. I like to know why MRTC rejected the right or better claw design when recommended?
    Is it cost? Is it favoring a certain vendor?

  7. possible answer to anon at 12.39 on why reject better claw design - becos they thot what worked before can still work now, though conditions have changed drastically? it seems to be the attitude towards many other aspects of life here.

  8. The whole saga is not engineering issues. It is about admin/management. The COI needs to look back to the days when MRT is being built, trace the responsibility and solve the whole issue once for all. If many other government departments have procurement issues as reported recently, it is not unfair to image the situation in LTA since they are the one responsible for building the MRT and procurement of all the parts.

    If this COI or this present government cannot give the complete answer then perhaps the COI should delay to post GE2016 or after a more accountable and transparent government is formed.

  9. Tattler, can you add the +google, twitter or FB buttons so that your articles can be more widely shared? cheers

  10. Sin is filled with all sorts of consultants in every field and specialization and not forgetting the most talented political leaders, yet thing are so messy.

    What the heck!

  11. Why now all these kind of accusations when all of them was just a chip out of the same block in those days ?

    If I remember correctly during the time of MRTC before SMRT was corporatised, LTA was only the appointed Project Managers to plan, manage & oversee the various rail contracts on behalf of their client, MRTC. Now LTA is supposed to be the regulator of what was previously their client, all thanks to the manipulation of our Ministers.

    You see, some smartassed Minister decided to turn MRTC into some public listed money making machine by merging it with TIBS. Before the public listing of SMRT, it was widely rumoured at that time that some heavyweight owned majority TIBS and that the merging and subsequent listing was for them to make a public killing of a golden goose.

    Now that they have already enjoyed the fruits of the golden eggs, are they now trying to turn their backs and just walk away from all these problems as we witness them now ?

    Is that why they now need S$1.1B of public funds to save them from complacency ?

  12. Imagine this is only a transport company. And gahment has already no qualms to use taxpayers $ to bail them out.

    Can you imagine if there will be a Lehman style of bankruptcy or shenanigans? This gahment will have no qualms to use ALL our SWF $ to bail them out!!!

    I am really pissed off by this entire show. When Lui ask SMRT for the answers to the breakdown this week, I really have to laugh...If they need a million dollar COI and bunch of lawyers to get the answer for Dec breakdowns, do you think they have a ready answers for this week's breakdown? Of course is UNACCEPTABLE!! Strong words, but bottom-line - why does he think he can get answers for this breakdown this time round? And if he can get answers, doesn't it mean the entire COI is a farce!?!

    Nationalize the whole damn thing & stop feeding the lazy fat cats.


    And now we can add 11 more trapped passengers on the relatively new BPLRT line...Lui Teck Yew must have run out of excuses for SMRT/LTA by now.

  14. SMRT – The productivity of the private sector for your comfort and little to no profit making, akin to the govt sector.

    Or was it the other way around?

    In a way, I kind of see the existence of SMRT and SBS/Comfortdelgro as a quasi-metaphor of the human existence. Neither here nor there, unsure if going to heaven or fading out of existence due to no external assistance i.e. help from above.

    Hmm… I think I might be on to something there. Better use this for one of my many dissertations.

  15. If Singapore is any one of our neigbouring countries, we have no complaint over recent screw-ups. We know it is probably due to corruption or lack of talent. What disturb most of us is that this country has been boasting so much about efficiency, professionalism, corruption free, meritocracy etc and yet, no one has a clue as to why the trains continue to breakdown.

    All Lui can do is continue to talk and ask for illusive answers. While COI continue to sit and talk about historical events in the comfort of the courtroom. What about poor commuters.