Electrical fault behind train delay: SMRT

Over 17,000 commuters were affected by the major delay on the MRT. (Yahoo! photo)Over 17,000 commuters were affected by the major delay on the MRT. (Yahoo! photo)UPDATED

SMRT says an electrical fault caused the major train delay that left 17,500 passengers stranded along the East-West line during peak hour traffic on Thursday morning.

In a statement to Yahoo! Singapore, SMRT said the electrical fault caused an eastbound train to stall between Tiong Bahru and Outram Park MRT stations at 8.59 am.

According to standard operating procedures, another train was then used to gently push the stalled train to the next station for passengers to alight. The stalled train was then directed back to the depot.

But as the stalled train was crowded due to peak hour traffic, the train officer took a longer time moving from cabin to cabin to release the cabin brakes. The train doors also remained closed when it arrived at Outram Park station and had to be manually opened.

This led to the process, which usually takes 20-30 minutes, taking over an hour to complete.

To maintain train service, SMRT said some westbound trains were turned around at Queenstown MRT station while eastbound trains were turned around at Outram Park MRT station.

Normal train service resumed at 9:50am.

Hundreds of commuters delayed at Outram Park MRT station. (Yahoo! photo)Hundreds of commuters delayed at Outram Park MRT station. (Yahoo! photo)

During the delay, two passengers near Tiong Bahru station felt unwell and had to be sent to Singapore General Hospital.

According to a SCDF spokesperson, a man in his 50s felt giddy and a woman in her 30s experienced breathlessness and chest discomfort.

Analyst Kelvin Chow, 30, said he was stuck in the tunnel between Redhill and Tiong Bahru for 20 minutes when the driver announced that a passenger was having chest pains.

The driver could not move to the next station as the train in front was still stationary.The driver then asked for medical personnel onboard to help the passenger.

"Finally after another 20 minutes, we moved to Tiong Bahru (where an ambulance was waiting) and managed to get the passenger off," he said.

Public relations executive Felicia Goh, 24, told Yahoo Singapore she was stuck on the train for over an hour during rush hour traffic.

"I was initially stuck at Clementi before moving two stops and stalling again at Buona Vista," she said.

Train commuters stuck at Commonwealth MRT. (Yahoo! photo)Train commuters stuck at Commonwealth MRT. (Yahoo! photo)

Undergraduate Jacqueline Wong, 22, was at Buona Vista station and after waiting for 15 minutes on the train and finding out about the long delay on micro-blogging platform Twitter, got off and took a bus instead.

Her mother was not so lucky. She took one hour and 20 minutes to get from Buona Vista station to Outram Park, reaching work two hours late, said Wong.

Jeremy Foo, 32, an engineer stuck at Outram Park station, added, "I heard trains have been delayed all morning. I've been waiting here for the last 25 minutes and still no train. This is bad."

Another commuter stuck at the Outram MRT station, sales manager Germaine Chia, said what made it worse was that mobile phone reception was poor.

"People have been complaining since I got here. The trains are not running and there' s no reception so we can't call in at work. Thankfully, this seldom happens," said the 27-year-old.

Frustrated commuters also took to Twitter to complain about the crawling train service and warned others to skip the train ride this morning.

@redha tweeted, "I think the delay affected a lot of places. Lots of grumpy people at Bugis MRT station when i got down just now."

The SMRT has apologised for the inconvenience caused.

It added that passengers who were unable to complete their journeys due to the disruption can file a claim for a refund at any of the MRT station counters within the next three working days.

On Sunday, a train was delayed at the Ang Mo Kio station after a Thai teenage girl fell onto the tracks and was hit by a train.

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