No service on part of East-West Line on Friday night after two train faults

SMRT

Services were halted between Bugis and Tanah Merah train stations on Friday night (10 November) after SMRT experienced two train faults on the East-West Line (EWL).

The train operator initially sent out a tweet at 9.53pm to inform commuters to add 30 minutes of travel time from Bugis station to Queenstown station. At 10.37pm, it tweeted that it had cleared the train fault and resumed normal train service.

At 11.15pm, however, SMRT said there was a train fault again on the EWL, and asked commuters to add one hour of travel time from Tiong Bahru to Pasir Ris. About 23 minutes later, it said there were no train services from Bugis to Tanah Merah due to a train fault at Aljunied, before announcing there would be no train service between the stations until the end of service at 12.13am.

In a Facebook post published at 12.27am on Saturday, SMRT explained that an east-bound train on the line “registered a fault” near Outram Park station at about 9.40pm on Friday and another train was sent to “haul the defective train out of service”.

But as the trains were travelling towards Changi Depot, they stalled near Paya Lebar station and were unable to proceed. Another train had to be deployed to move the coupled trains.

As the rescue operations needed time, a decision was made to stop service between Bugis and Tanah Merah stations from 11.15pm until the end of service.

SMRT apologised for the inconvenience caused.

It was the latest in a series of disruptions experienced by the beleaguered operator.

Earlier this week, the North-South Line (NSL) experienced disruptions on Monday and Thursday morning. The EWL also encountered disruptions on 24 October, 25 October, 27 October, and 4 November prior to Friday’s breakdown.

On 7 October, operations were halted on the NSL for about 20 hours after the tunnel around Bishan MRT became flooded amid heavy rainfall.

The MRT flooding incident triggered a chain of events that revealed a “poor work culture” at SMRT.

On 16 October, the senior management of SMRT apologised at a media conference for one of the worst disruptions in the company’s history.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan also issued a Ministerial Statement in Parliament on Tuesday (7 November) and addressed questions from MPs on the incident, including on the alleged falsification of maintenance records.

Six members of SMRT’s maintenance staff will face disciplinary action for their part in the flooding incident that affected some 250,000 people. Seven other managerial staff, including two Vice-President level executives, will face a further inquiry and have been suspended.