New Downtown Line MRT service hit by second breakdown within a week

Nurul Azliah Aripin
Nurul Azliah Aripin
Downtown Line 1 train commuters forced to detrain following a service disruption caused by a power fault. (Facebook photo by Cheekie Chan)

[UPDATE on 29 December at 11:35am: adding more details on cause of disruption]

A loosened cover on a Downtown Line (DTL) train's detrainment switch was what caused Singapore's newest MRT line's second disruption in less than a week.

Downtown Line operator SBS Transit reportedly said to a press conference on Saturday that the switch was believed to be triggered by a young girl who moved the metal cover that conceals it, triggering a cut in the power supply, an in-built safety feature, and the deployment of a ramp for emergency evacuation.

Friday night's disruption lasted about 40 minutes, from around 9.34pm to 10.14pm, according to SBS Transit, but resulted in a halt in service for more than an hour, according to other local media reports.

The company said it has since enhanced its switch covers "for a tighter fit" on all its DTL trains, adding that it has stationed staff at both ends of its trains to prevent repeat incidents.

"At about 9pm, there was a power fault affecting the Downtown Line, 50 passengers on one train were detrained at Bayfront Station. Full service resumed at 10.10pm. We apologise to all commuters for the inconvenience caused," said Tammy Tan, SBS Transit Senior Vice President of corporate communications.

Further investigations by both SBS Transit and the Land Transport Authority are ongoing.

Throughout the disruption, SBS Transit and the Land Transport Authority kept commuters updated via social media and activated its free bus bridging services between stations.

"DTL service is down due to a power failure. We are very sorry," said the first Twitter update at 9.34pm.

The service continued to be disrupted at 9.51pm, according to another update, "DTL svc down - to continue your journey, free bus rides available at designated bus stops near the affected area."

This is the second time the new Downtown Line experienced a service disruption.  The first one happened just hours after its official opening day last Sunday as train service was delayed near Bayfront MRT station for 15 mins due to a train fault.

Commuters took to social media to vent their frustration.

Twitter user @hitman842 said, “LOL Downtown Line just open a few days ago, passengers must walk through tunnel already. Still got the cheek to increase transport fare.”

Facebook user Kenny Yee said, “You should not be ‘sorry’ for the inconvience, you should be ashamed.”

Stage 1 of the new DTL consists of six stations: Bugis, Promenade, Bayfront, Downtown, Telok Ayer and Chinatown. The DTL projects costs S$20.7 billion to build and the second and third stage are due to open in 2016 and 2017 respectively.