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Power fault cripples MRT lines

PACKED: Crowds at Clementi Station, after the disruption hit the North-South and East-West lines during last evening's rush hour. More than 250,000 commuters may have been affected.


    Jul 08, 2015

    Power fault cripples MRT lines

    TRAIN services across the North-South and East-West lines were disrupted by a power fault during yesterday's evening peak hour, just days after a track fault disrupted service on the North-South MRT line and affected thousands during the morning rush.

    Operator SMRT said a power fault at 7.15pm yesterday led to a "system-wide disruption along the entire line".

    A statement released at 9.30pm, more than two hours after the disruption, said that the East-West line partially resumed service from Pasir Ris to Joo Koon at 9.20pm, while work was ongoing to investigate the cause of the power fault.

    At about 9.40pm, SMRT said on Twitter that service on the East-West line had resumed, but at slower speeds. Even so, SMRT said service on the North-South line was still unavailable as of about 10pm.

    Passengers got off trains at the nearest platforms and free bus services were available at all stations on both lines, to serve the thousands of commuters caught in the massive disruption.

    Commuters were updated through train and station announcements, and on social media.

    "As part of recovery efforts, SMRT engineers are conducting tests and sections of the network are being isolated to investigate the cause of the fault," the statement had said.

    Going by the scale of the breakdown and the time it occured, it is estimated that more than 250,000 commuters may have been affected.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will carry out a full investigation into the cause of the incident.

    Both LTA and SMRT apologised for the disruption.

    Bank executive Jon Yeo, 46, was on an East-West train headed west from Tanjong Pagar when it ground to a halt at around 7.10pm. It was stuck for close to 15 minutes with partial cabin lights and air-conditioning. The lights and air-con were fully restored after that, but the train remained stationary.

    "It moved for a bit, and then stopped again. They finally gave up and got us off at Redhill," he said. "All stations are affected. They actually pulled the shutters down," he added.

    Asked if he was going to wait for the free bus services, he said: "No way, I'm not going to wait any more."

    Another bank executive, Prashanth Shankar, 32, said he was at City Hall Station when the incident unfolded. "The announcement came only after 15 minutes. A long line built up for the fare refund."

    Seeing the chaos and sudden crowd build-up, Mr Shankar called for his uncle to pick him up in his car. "The taxi lines were very long too," he added. "There are a lot of frustrated people."