Defective trains manufactured by China 'not safety-critical'

Singapore: Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday said the defects found on trains manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and China Southern Railway (CSR) Sifang were "not safety-critical". The statement comes after hairline cracks were found on the car-body of 26 trains delivered to Singapore Mass Rapid Transport (SMRT), the major train operator of the city. An LTA official said these defects were found during a check of new trains in late 2013, which are not structural cracks and not safety-critical, Xinhua news agency reported.  "They don't affect the train's systems, performance or passengers' safety," the LTA official said. As the trains were still under the manufacturer's warranty, LTA decided to send them back for rectification. To obtain further clarity on the safety of the trains, LTA said it had conducted monthly safety assessments before the trains were put into use. Furthermore, an external third-party assessment was also commissioned in 2013, which confirmed that "the trains were safe to operate". Previous media reports noted that repair of the defective trains will take seven years to complete. In the statement, LTA also clarified that the rectification work will be wrapped up in 2019. In 2009, LTA awarded a $273 million contract to Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang for 22 trains.  Last year, the authority signed for an additional 12 new trains. Most of the trains were to be delivered between 2011 and 2012.