3 MRT lines hit by power fault during evening rush hour

The scene outside Queenstown MRT station yesterday evening as train commuters waited to board free bus services. There were no train services on parts of the North-South and East-West lines at about 7pm, and later on the Circle Line at 7.30pm, in wha
The scene outside Queenstown MRT station yesterday evening as train commuters waited to board free bus services. There were no train services on parts of the North-South and East-West lines at about 7pm, and later on the Circle Line at 7.30pm, in what was one of the worst power-related disruptions on the train network in recent years. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Commuters on three MRT lines were hit during yesterday's evening rush hour by one of the worst power-related disruptions on the train network in recent years.

And with the Covid-19 pandemic, there were also concerns about the safety of affected passengers who were stuck in trains or crowding in stations or bus stops due to the breakdown.

There were no train services on parts of the North-South and East-West lines at about 7pm, and later on the Circle Line at 7.30pm due to a power fault. The breakdown was caused by a faulty power cable, according to initial investigations, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA). All the three affected lines are run by public transport operator SMRT Corporation.

Apologising to passengers, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the safety of commuters "remained topmost on our minds tonight", noting that some people were unwell during the breakdown.

As there are students taking national examinations today, he said that "we are on standby to help each and every child get to their centres safely and on time".

Many commuters were stuck in trains for hours when the power went out last night. SMRT helped to detrain them but when it began to rain heavily at one point, this was temporarily put on hold.

Dense crowds were also seen at bus stops as people waited to board free bus services that were activated. Some commuters were concerned about the spread of Covid-19 with the large crowds because it was tough to keep a safe distance from other people.

By 10.35pm, train services had resumed.

LTA said it is working with SMRT on rectification works and it will investigate the breakdown's causes.

Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2020, with the headline 3 MRT lines hit by power fault during evening rush hour. Subscribe