City Hall MRT station hit by 90-minute blackout

City Hall MRT station was hit by a roughly 90-minute power blackout on Friday afternoon.

According to train operator SMRT, the incident occurred at 1:23pm, affecting the power at both its lower level North-South and East-West train platforms.

Train arrival information screens were down, and escalators between floors were also switched off for safety.

It had also deployed some 50 staff, including its customer service team, to all four of its platforms to direct commuter traffic.

Donned in fluorescent yellow and orange vests, staff used loudhailers to inform passengers alighting from passing trains of the blackout so they would not be alarmed, and used LED light sticks to guide them to the nearest exits on the platform.

Trains were still running throughout although the platforms were pitch black initially.

The police's public transport security task force TransCom also deployed eight officers to assist with crowd management.

SMRT posted updates on the status of the blackout on its Twitter account, with its first update on the situation at 1:51pm. Its final update was posted at 3:27pm, to say that power had been restored at the train station.

Commuters were generally a little surprised, but mostly nonchalant about the blackout.

Dishwasher Woo Yong Ying, 57, was one of the affected commuters who arrived at City Hall shortly before 2pm.

She exited the train into darkness, although she told Yahoo! Singapore the red lights above the train doors were still visible along the platform.

"There were many station staff giving directions, although I could see where I needed to go. I didn't have much of a problem exiting the station," she said in Mandarin.

By around 315pm, most of the lights and power at the station had been restored, although some platform screens and lights were still down.

Upon initial assessment, SMRT said the power failure was caused by a switchboard electrical fault in the generator room at the station. It is investigating the cause of the short circuit.

Additional reporting by Jeanette Tan