Together with Adi Lau of MTR Corporation and Tony Eid of Sydney Trains, Michael Harrison of SBS Transit touched on delivering operations excellence and redefining rail standards for the future in our keynote panel on 23 March at Asia Pacific Rail 2016.
Following the panel discussion, we spoke to Michael to find out more about the challenges and upcoming plans for the year ahead.
What are the biggest challenges right now in your role as Vice President (Rail Operations) at SBS Transit?
We’re currently going through a lot of change projects in the sense that for the two major lines that I’m in charge of, the North East Line and the SengKang Punggol LRT line, are going through major capacity upgrade projects. So my role is almost exclusively devoted to managing those two projects right now. For example, for the NEL Line, we are moving from 22 trains to 34 and possibly more. We are introducing a second car on the SengKang Punggol light rail system, which requires a major change to the system as it requires a new signaling system.
My colleagues are managing the downtown line upgrade, a new line that opened earlier this year with a planned upgrade equal to the size of the NEL in 2017
How are you meeting the challenges?
The challenges are quite diverse. The challenges on the downtown line are equivalent to opening a new line so you have to a dedicated management strategy solely devoted to managing that particular asset of the business which is separate to your normal management of the business. So having dedicated individuals to manage the various projects and how they fit in your business structure is critical.
What major collaboration opportunities are you planning to have?
Our role is highly collaborative because we work with LTA and we have project management from a lot of different companies from NEL to light rail to the Downtown Line. So we have a lot of collaboration opportunities.
What technologies/solutions are you seeking to improve rail operations?
At the moment we are looking at technologies that will improve process. So in terms of how we get smarter in rectifying problems. The key thing for our business is to develop predictive maintenance – How do we predict failure in a way that stops it from happening? So we’re looking into technologies which can improve our ability to predict what will be best.
Where do you get your technologies? Do you have a fixed group of people?
We’re actually upgrading our asset management policy so that is liable to change and we do have a dedicated call for tender process. So because of the nature of rail system in Singapore, we tend to work a lot with the Land Transport Authority as the asset management model is changing so that they are taking control of the assets from us.
What value do you find in coming to events like this?
A couple of areas. As we are a relatively young rail organisation compared to the other players you see here, it raises the profile of SBS Transit. Our company’s vision as part of Comfort Delgro organisation is to be a land transport operator of choice so it raises our profile. It also introduces us to the possibilities and technologies.
Are you an emerging rail operator? Would like to raise your company profile? Join us at the leading event for Asia Pacific’s rail industry, Asia Pacific Rail 2017 and pave your way to success.