Power fault caused train service disruption on North-South, East-West, Circle lines

Blackout at Boon Lay MRT staion on 14 October, 2020. (SCREENSHOT: @CipherDonuts/Twitter)
Blackout at Boon Lay MRT staion on 14 October, 2020. (SCREENSHOT: @CipherDonuts/Twitter)

SINGAPORE — Train service on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) was partially disrupted for over three hours on Wednesday (14 October) due to a power fault, severely affecting commuters heading home during the evening rush hour.

The fault also caused disruption on the Circle Line for slightly over an hour.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the breakdown was caused by a faulty power cable, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA), adding that its engineers are working with public transport operator SMRT Corporation to carry out a full investigation into the incident.

In an apology posted on Facebook, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the team will work through the night to rectify the problem.

The fault had occurred between Marsiling and Jurong East MRT stations on the North-South Line, and between Dover and Tuas Link MRT stations on the East-West Line, said SMRT.

It disrupted train service along the North-South Line at around 7pm and at about 7.30pm along both the East-West and Circle lines. Train service on the Circle Line resumed ‪at 8.40pm‬, while services on the NSEWL resumed at 10.35pm at all stations.

“Due to the delay, SMRT commenced safe detrainment for passengers on NSEWL trains ‪at 7.40pm‬; and ‪at 8pm‬ for Circle Line trains,” said the LTA.

The SMRT said that detrainment for the last train near Bukit Batok was delayed to 9.55pm due to wet weather and lightning risk. “Train services resumed progressively from about 10.35pm, after commuters safely disembarked at Bukit Batok station,” it added.

The transport operator first announced at 7.16pm in two consecutive tweets that commuters should add 25 minutes to their journey if they are travelling between Woodlands and Jurong East as well as between Queenstown and Gul Circle, due to the power fault.

SMRT also asked passengers to avoid Jurong East station and said that service between Queenstown and Tuas Link was also affected.

The SMRT later announced on its social media accounts said that the Circle Line was also affected by a power fault at around 7.30pm, with no train service between Serangoon and Harbourfront stations.

“Commuters were safely detrained from 8.00pm, with our staff assisting. Power along the Circle Line was restored at 8.40pm and train services resumed progressively,” it said.

Free regular and bridging bus services were made available at the affected stations.

Blackouts at several MRT stations were reported by netizens on social media, including at Boon Lay, Yew Tee and Choa Chu Kang.

Several have also reported being stuck on stalled trains for over an hour and shared footage of themselves alighting to walk on train tracks towards the station.

Home-based baker Grace Guo, who was on a train from Boon Lay to Jurong East station on the East-West Line, told Yahoo News Singapore that it stopped moving at 6.55pm while departing Chinese Garden MRT station. Guo was to change to the North-East Line at the Jurong East interchange to travel to Yew Tee MRT station.

She said she and other commuters waited in the stalled train till around 8.05pm when they detrained with the help of SMRT staff. She walked on the train tracks towards Chinese Garden MRT station.

Instead of heading home as planned, as there was no bus to Yew Tee available at the station, Guo decided to head down to her mother's place to stay for the night.

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