Chaos ensues after evening service disruption along North-South Line due to signal testing

Chaos ensues after evening service disruption along North-South Line due to signal testing

A massive service disruption hit the North South Line (NSL) last evening as a result of checks carried out on the new signalling system, causing huge inconvenience to commuters as it took place during the evening peak hour and many were also on their way back home to break fast.
At 6.47pm, transport operator SMRT tweeted on its social media platform to inform commuters to add 20 minutes of travel time between Marina South Pier and Jurong East stations in both direction and apologise for the service disruption.

SMRT had earlier cautioned commuters on 26 May to cater for additional travelling time as its engineers resolve teething issues on the new signalling system for the NSL from 29 May.
It noted that issues that commuters may face, include train and platform doors not opening or closing promptly, trains remaining at stations longer than usual, and trains stopping for short durations between stations. System-level performance checks will be carried out on the new signalling system for the NSL during weekdays.

At 6.59pm, SMRT announced that there are free bus services provided for affected commuters. While free shuttle buses are deployed, many could not board the buses. Some also complained that they do not know where are the waiting spots for the shuttle buses.

SMRT announced at 7.41pm that the service are returning back to normal and the free shuttle buses are no longer available.

However, there are commuters who still report experiencing delay up to 8.20pm. Therefore, it is unable to ascertain for sure on how long was the actual service disruption.
There is no announcement by SMRT on whether would there be refund of fares for commuters affected by the service disruption.

Delayed announcement of service disruption

Looking back from the beginning of the service disruption, the first few instances of commuters complaints started around 5.48pm.
However, SMRT only announced the service disruption at 6.47pm. Many commuters were left wondering what is the cause of the delay in train service.

Delay over 20 minutes

Although SMRT had announced that there will be 20 minutes added to travelling time. Commuters dispute this by stating how long they took to get to their destination.
@AWPGhostProX posted a video showing how packed trains stopped at his station and showed him having to take a bike ride. He also took shots of a train being stranded on the tracks.


Complaints on testing at peak hour

Commuters also complained about the decision to hold the signal testing during peak hours.

Breaking of fast affected

Muslim commuters were irritated that they would miss their breaking of fast due to the delay and questioned why the checks are being performed at this time of the fasting period.

Commuters irritated after being asked to keep calm

At 7.26pm, SMRT tweeted to ask commuters to stay calm. In response to the tweet, commuters replied to the transport operator’s seemingly inappropriate advice.

East-West Line also hit with delay

According to some commuters, there was also service disruption along East-West Line.


Below are more inputs by commuters on what they experienced during the service disruption.

A photo from @RonaldVining, a former United States transit official, probably sums up SMRT’s upgrading efforts.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments