On Tuesday evening, 58 stations were put out of service due to power trips along the entire North-South and East-West Lines, affecting the trip back home for many commuters as the disruption took place during the evening rush hour.
Free shuttle buses along with free bus services from both SMRT and SBS Transit were offered to commuters affected by the massive train disruption.as an alternative mode of transportation.
The East-West Line (EWL) was put back to service at 9.20 pm, while the North-South Line (NSL) resumed its service at 10:35 pm.
The breakdown, which is reported to affect 250,000 commuters, happened at 7pm on Friday and is believed to be the worst incident in the system’s history, even surpassing the two incidents in December 2010.
The NSL and EWL are both operated by SMRT Ltd, one of the two main transport operators in Singapore, the other being SBS Transit Ltd.
In a press statement issued by SMRT, the transport company expressed its apologies to commuters affected by the commuters and said that works are ongoing to investigate the cause of the power fault.
“We continue to proceed with caution as safety is paramount, and all trains are moving at slower speed to bring our commuters home safely. Fare gates at all stations along both lines are open as free bus services continue to ply.” wrote SMRT.
“This evening, from 1800 hours onwards, our Operation Control Centre detected multiple power trips on North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL). These power trips were linked to the voltage protection circuit of traction power, which is designed to safeguard the safety of commuters at station platforms. Our engineers initially managed to reset these power trips.” said Mr Lee Ling Wee, Managing Director, SMRT Trains.
“But as we tried to identify the cause of the power fault, the frequency and impact of power trips intensified. At 1915 hours, we decided to detrain all passengers and suspend NSEWL train services for safety reasons in order to isolate the cause of the network-wide power trips. Our preliminary assessment points to a possible power-related equipment failure at substations or along the track, or the undercarriage of a potential defective train which we are investigating tonight. But we are not ruling out other possibilities.” added Mr Lee.
“SMRT has mobilised all engineering and technical staff to comprehensively check the entire network and train fleet. SMRT and LTA engineers are working round the clock to conduct tests, and sections of the network are being isolated to pin point the fault. While it is still early to conclude the cause of the fault, we are doing our utmost to recover the system with the view to resume full train services as soon as possible. We deeply apologise for the inconvenience caused to all our commuters.” said Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group CEO, SMRT Corporation.
SMRT advises commuters to make alternative travel plans as the NSEWL may commence limited services tomorrow morning. Free bus services will continue tomorrow morning, and fare gates will open until the resumption of full train services.
Commuters are advised to check for updates before starting their journey. Information will be available on the SMRT website, SMRT and LTA Facebook and Twitter accounts, LTA Traffic News and MyTransport.SG.