SCDF officers pumping water out from flooded tunnel (Photo- SCDF Facebook fanpage)

SMRT maintenance Vice-President replaced, news source reports inadequate maintenance of water-pumping system behind tunnel flooding

According to Straits Times, local train operator SMRT has announced through an internal circular that its vice-president of maintenance will be replaced. This change in appointment comes after the recent flooding incident at its train tunnel at Bishan.

LTA had earlier disclosed that a malfunctioning water-pumping system was behind the underground tunnel flooding that started on Saturday evening that interrupted train services along North South Line and caused services across six stops to cease from Saturday afternoon till Sunday afternoon. The faulty system sent water overflowing from the stormwater sump pit, where rainwater accumulates, into the tunnel through the rail tracks where trains from Bishan travel underground towards Braddell.

As a result of the flooding, SMRT was forced to de-activate the trackside power supply as a safety precaution, crippling services from Ang Mo Kio to Newton stations until Sunday afternoon. The disruption affected the journeys of thousands in one of the worst rail trip-ups since 2011.

In the internal circular, Mr Siu Yow Wee will be appointed director of Building & Services with effect from 12 October, taking over Mr Ng Tek Poo, who was vice-president of maintenance. TOC understands that Mr Ng has been with SMRT for at least 16 years or more.

In an earlier report by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, it cited anonymous sources which pointed inadequate maintenance being the cause of the malfunctioning water-pumping system. “The pump was not operable during a critical period due to a lack of maintenance,” the report said. The paper also noted that SMRT staff overseeing equipment maintenance could be transferred out of their posts for failing in their duties.

SMRT’s vice-president for corporate communications Patrick Nathan said to media, “We do not comment on staff matters. We are strengthening our Building and Facilities team in light of last weekend’s disruption.”

TODAY reported that its queries to SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on what caused the malfunction, and when the pumps were last serviced and how often they were maintained, have gone unanswered since the start of this week.