Lightning disrupts train service

SMRT suspects that lightning struck a location between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib stations at 3.46pm, disrupting southbound service from Yishun (above) to Yio Chu Kang stations for about 50 minutes.
SMRT suspects that lightning struck a location between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib stations at 3.46pm, disrupting southbound service from Yishun (above) to Yio Chu Kang stations for about 50 minutes.ST FILE PHOTO

An SMRT train on the North-South Line was crippled by lightning during a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, disrupting southbound service from Yishun to Yio Chu Kang stations. The incident happened at 3.46pm.

"It was suspected that lightning struck a location between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib Station along the North-South Line," said Mr Patrick Nathan, SMRT's vice-president of corporate information and communications. "This may have caused a train fault, affecting commuters travelling towards Yio Chu Kang station."

The Straits Times understands that the driver reported the incident, adding that he smelled something burning.

The affected train had to be pushed by another train, affecting service for about 50 minutes.

Commuters on the affected train alighted at Yio Chu Kang station and the train was withdrawn from service, SMRT said.

"As a precaution, our engineers also tested the trackside equipment to ensure that it is safe for trains to move over the affected area," Mr Nathan said.

Trains being struck by lightning is not common, but can happen during severe thunderstorms. No one was hurt in the incident.

The train service from Yishun to Yio Chu Kang MRT stations resumed around 4.35pm, SMRT said.

SMRT added that its trains are designed to "safely protect commuters in severe weather conditions".

Free regular bus services were provided from Yishun to Yio Chu Kang during the disruption, SMRT said.

Christopher Tan and Chew Hui Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Lightning disrupts train service'. Print Edition | Subscribe