Are passengers allowed off the train if it's stuck?

If train service cannot be restored when a train is stalled in a tunnel, guidelines state that detrainment should occur within 30 minutes of an incident, if it is safe to do so.
If train service cannot be restored when a train is stalled in a tunnel, guidelines state that detrainment should occur within 30 minutes of an incident, if it is safe to do so.ST FILE PHOTO

Reader Lisa Koh wrote in to ask: "On what occasion will passengers be allowed to leave an MRT (train) if it breaks down in a tunnel?"
She said people might fear being stuck on the train for long periods.
Transport reporter Adrian Lim answers.

Trains can stall in a tunnel for several reasons, including power faults and signalling issues.

If power from the tracks is disrupted, there is a backup battery on the train which can last for 60 minutes. The battery keeps lights and the ventilation system going.

If train service cannot be restored, detrainment should occur within 30 minutes of an incident, if it is safe to do so.

During detrainment, power along the rail tracks is shut down for safety reasons. The Singapore Civil Defence Force will also be on site to assist passengers to walk to the nearest MRT station via the tracks.

Detrainment, however, is not always the best option.

Depending on which section of the tracks the train stalls at, it could mean a considerable walk to the nearest MRT station.

It would thus be preferable to ferry commuters to the nearest station, for example, by either driving the problematic train manually (if the train is driverless), or doing a push-out, which is to use another train to push the stalled train to the nearest station.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'Are passengers allowed off the train if it's stuck?'. Print Edition | Subscribe