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This undergraduate helps to keep train disruptions at bay

Photo Caption: During his first two years of service, Mr Sng will gain ground experience as an engineer with his parent agency, SMRT Corporation Limited, before being rotated to LTA to learn about rail planning and design.

By Maru Wu

When the Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 3 opens later this year, commuters will be able to travel from Orchard Road to Woodlands South in just 35 minutes, compared to almost an hour currently.

This exciting development is just one of the rail expansion projects in the pipeline, with the aim of having eight out of 10 households within a 10-minute walk of an MRT station by 2030 – bringing the total rail network to about 360km.

One person who is in the thick of the action is Mr Jaden Sng, who was tasked to work with colleagues to determine the exact number of spare parts needed for corrective maintenance (CM) efforts. These spare parts are essential for the smooth transition from the project phase to the operation phase.

“Over-catering of spares would not be cost-effective while under-catering of spares may inhibit system recovery during CM,” says the 26-year-old who completed an internship at the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

With the help of a software, he and his colleagues were able to compute the optimal number of spare parts required by considering various factors such as equipment failure rates, and turnaround time needed to repair and recover the faulty equipment. With the completion of the analysis, together with his colleagues, they engaged the rail operator and contractor to ensure that all parties are agreeable with the quantities of spares computed.

He says: “I gained new insight on the importance for LTA and its operators to work closely together to maintain a reliable rail network. I saw how the operators manage the assets, and how LTA, as the transport regulator, supports the operators with the equipment they need to operate and maintain the assets. This knowledge will be useful when I eventually join my parent agency, SMRT Corporation Limited.”


On the fast track

Mr Sng will be exposed to more of these opportunities in due course. This experience was merely part of his four-month internship with the LTA Rail Asset Operation and Maintenance Group, a component of the Singapore Rail (SGRail) Industry Scholarship programme, which was launched in November 2019.

The pioneer batch SGRail Industry scholar, with SMRT Corporation Limited as the parent agency, is currently finishing up his Master of Science (Electrical Engineering) with a specialisation in Automation and Power Engineering at the National University of Singapore. He had previously graduated from the Nanyang Technological University, with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) in June 2021 – also under the same scholarship.

 “I was particularly drawn to the unique structure of the SGRail Industry Scholarship which provides scholars with work exposure to both LTA and the transport operators for a well-rounded rail engineering experience,” says Mr Sng.

When he joins the industry in August, he will be exposed to different rail domain areas such as signalling, rolling stock, power, railway track components and systems. For a 360-degree design-build-operate-maintenance perspective, he will also get to engage projects at both SMRT Corporation Limited and LTA.

In addition, he will gain ground experience as an engineer with his parent agency, SMRT Corporation Limited during his first two years of service, where he will learn about rail network operations and management before being rotated to LTA to learn about rail planning and design. This will help him move towards his goal of becoming a Professional Engineer.

“My career aspiration is to be involved in a line of work that can impact life for generations to come,” he says. “This scholarship allows me to do just that.” 

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