The Alstom Metropolis C751A trains are the first generation of communication-based train control (CBTC) rolling stock that has been in use in Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) lines since 2003. Alstom was contracted in 1997 and 1998 (as Contract C751A) by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore to supply for its North East Line in 2003.
A development in Singapore's MRT history, the six-car trains on the North East Line are powered by overhead catenary, in contrast to the train cars on all the other operating lines prior to this, which are powered by a third rail. This was partially because authorities consider overhead wires to be unsightly and it does not allow for trains to be powered using this method on elevated lines. Since this line is the first to be fully underground in Singapore, the authorities had a choice between powering the trains on this line by overhead catenary or third rail. An overhead catenary power supply was decided upon. This is also the first time in Singapore's MRT history that the seats in every compartment of the train are made up of the same colours. 25 trainsets of six cars each were purchased for the North East Line. In addition, due to its driverless configuration, it is a unique type of train where there are windows at the front and back of the train, giving passengers an impressive view as the train speeds through the tunnel. LTA says that they are adding 18 new trains instead of 12 trains for the North East Line.
- 2 Visual Passenger Information System or VPIS installed in each train cars. These displays are capable of displaying the name of the next station, current station, door closing messages and occasionally the date and the time at terminal stations.
- 6 LCD are installed at the overhead panel in each train cars showing advertisements. These show rail travel information of the next station & terminating station, silent commercials and movie trailers and safety videos. As of today, the units on the C751A have stopped showing commercials due to lack of demand.
The automated system version, previously known as “moving block systems”, CBTC systems do not require traditional "fixed-block track circuits" for determining train position. Instead, they rely on "continuous two-way digital communication" between each controlled train and a wayside control center, which may control an area of a railroad line, a complete line, or a group of lines. Recent studies consistently show that CBTC systems reduce life-cycle costs for the overall rail property and enhance operational flexibility and control.
Individual cars are given a five-digit serial number by the rail operator, SBS Transit. The car numbers of the trains range from 7x001 to 7x050, where x depends on the carriage type. To avoid confusion with the serial numbers of Kawasaki Heavy Industries C151 trains, which this number scheme follows, a 7 will be placed together with the other 4 digits.
- 1st digit is always a 7.
- 2nd digit depends on whether the car is the 1st, 2nd or 3rd car from the end of the train it is nearer to.
- 3rd digit is always a 0.
- The last 2 digits will be from 01 to 50, as the train identification number with an odd number and an even number separated by a slash.
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