Track fault causes delays on Circle Line for more than 3 hours on Tuesday morning

The crowd at Bishan station on the Circle Line at around 8.30am. Down-riding escalators were blocked for crowd control.
The crowd at Bishan station on the Circle Line at around 8.30am. Down-riding escalators were blocked for crowd control. ST PHOTO: PRISCILLA GOY
Commuters blocked at the gantries from entering the Circle Line platform at Bishan.
Commuters blocked at the gantries from entering the Circle Line platform at Bishan. ST PHOTO: PRISCILLA GOY
Commuters receive travel advice from a SMRT staff member.
Commuters receive travel advice from a SMRT staff member. ST PHOTO: PRISCILLA GOY
A message at Bishan station informing commuters of an additional 10 minutes travelling time on the Circle Line.
A message at Bishan station informing commuters of an additional 10 minutes travelling time on the Circle Line. ST PHOTO: PRISCILLA GOY
The crowd at Serangoon station on the Circle Line at around 7.30am.
The crowd at Serangoon station on the Circle Line at around 7.30am. ST PHOTO: KENNY CHEE

SINGAPORE - Commuters faced delays on the Circle Line for more than three hours Tuesday (Sept 20) morning due to a track fault. 

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SMRT's vice-president for corporate information and communication Patrick Nathan said the fault occurred at a track point near Paya Lebar station, in the direction of MacPherson. 

He said engineers were deployed to check on the fault immediately, and that it would be rectified after the morning peak as track access was required. 

"For the safety of passengers, trains are travelling slower over the affected stretch. To ease congestion, some trains were turned around at Bartley Station in the direction of HarbourFront, and free bus services have been activated between Bishan and Paya Lebar stations," Mr Nathan added. 

"We apologise for the inconvenience.”

SMRT first tweeted at 6.57am, warning of an estimated five minutes additional travelling time from Paya Lebar to MacPherson stations towards HarbourFront.

It said at 7.06am that the fault had been cleared and train services were operating normally.

But barely 10 minutes later, another update said to expect five minutes of additional travelling time from Dhoby Ghaut to MacPherson stations.

This was revised to 10 minutes in a tweet at 7.34am, and to 15 minutes an hour later. Its latest update at 9.53am - nearly three hours after the fault occurred - said to expect an additional 10 minutes of travelling time from Dhoby Ghaut to Bishan.

Free regular bus service between Paya Lebar and Bishan was also made available, according to SMRT. 

At the height of the delays, SMRT staff at Bishan station were overheard suggesting to commuters to take other MRT lines, such as the North-South Line, to get to Dhoby Ghaut. 

Nanyang Junior College student Anna Lee, who was on the way to school with her friend, decided to wait near the gantries at Bishan station as the platform was too crowded. 

"I don't think there's anything more SMRT can do now. They've managed the crowd well and people are quietly queueing," the 17-year-old added. 

Mr Lim T.Y., who works in the construction industry as a project coordinator, told The Straits Times he was half an hour late for a site meeting in Sengkang. He had planned to take the Circle Line from Bishan to Serangoon before switching to the North East Line. 

"The train is so crowded, how to board?" Mr Lim, 60, said in Mandarin. "It's terrible, these breakdowns happen so many times, and often during peak hours."

Twitter user @ohmym3l said the train had broken down and he was stuck at MacPherson station, while others complained of the fault disrupting their journeys.

Tuesday's delays come after an unknown signal interference plagued the line for a week in late August. The unprecedented glitch affected service for thousands of commuters.