LRT train door mishap exposes design flaw

The door at the rear of an LRT train opened while travelling from Bukit Panjang station to Senja station last Friday.
The door at the rear of an LRT train opened while travelling from Bukit Panjang station to Senja station last Friday.PHOTO: DILLA DAMITRA/TWITTER

MRT trains cannot be driven if a door is not locked; action against driver for not taking enough care

Transport operator SMRT Corp yesterday shed light on how a door of a Bukit Panjang LRT train could have been flung open during a journey between stations last week, suggesting that the cause of the incident was a design flaw in the system.

The incident last Friday morning occurred after a signalling fault during commuting hours forced SMRT staff to override the driverless Bukit Panjang LRT system and drive the trains manually.

But while the SMRT staff member who took over the driving of the train had checked that all doors were fully closed before moving off, he failed to ensure that they were locked and that the "Doors locked" light on the train console had come on. At 6.47am, the door at the rear of the two-car train opened while it was travelling from Bukit Panjang station towards Senja station.

 

This caused the train's safety system to apply the emergency brakes.

The door was then closed manually by the driver and the train continued on its journey. SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan said disciplinary action has since been taken against the employee.

SMRT noted that trains on other lines, namely the North-South, East-West and Circle lines, cannot be driven if any one of their doors is not locked.


The door at the rear of an LRT train opened while travelling from Bukit Panjang station to Senja station last Friday. PHOTO: DILLA DAMITRA/TWITTER

SAFETY ASSURED ON MRT

We would like to assure all passengers that trains serving the Circle Line and North-South and East-West lines are designed to ensure all doors are closed and locked before moving off in both automatic and manual modes.

SMRT SPOKESMAN PATRICK NATHAN

LOOKING AT IMPROVEMENTS

We are also exploring with LTA (Land Transport Authority) and (train manufacturer) Bombardier on improving the (system's) design such that trains in manual mode cannot move until all doors are closed and locked.

''MR NATHAN

"We would like to assure all passengers that trains serving the Circle Line and North-South and East-West lines are designed to ensure all doors are closed and locked before moving off in both automatic and manual modes," said Mr Nathan.

Referring to the Bukit Panjang LRT, he said: "We are also exploring with LTA (Land Transport Authority) and (train manufacturer) Bombardier on improving the (system's) design such that trains in manual mode cannot move until all doors are closed and locked."

He added that "operating procedures for manual driving of LRT trains will be reinforced".

Passengers on the affected LRT train had also complained that the train's intercom system was not working at the time of the incident.

SMRT said the intercom system was linked to the line's signalling system, again a peculiarity of the Bukit Panjang LRT system.

Mr Nathan said: "SMRT is working with the LTA and Bombardier to install an independent communication system that can work even during a signal fault. 

"In the meantime, the phone number of the Bukit Panjang LRT Operations Control Centre will be made available in each (train) car so that passengers can quickly reach SMRT staff through their mobile phones, if the onboard telephone is inoperable. We apologise for the incident," he added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'LRT train door mishap exposes design flaw'. Print Edition | Subscribe