SINGAPORE - There were no train services on the Bukit Panjang LRT line for more than six hours on Saturday (Sept 9), after two broken rail support brackets affected the signal and ground rail between two stations.
Two trains stalled successively from 9.45am and brought train services to a halt on the entire line, and SMRT staff guided about 10 passengers to safety to the nearest station.
Engineers carried out checks on the stalled trains and the track, and discovered the two broken rail support brackets which affected the signal and ground rail between Phoenix and Bukit Panjang stations, the transport operator said in a Facebook post at 4.27pm.
"Engineers were deployed immediately to carry out rectification works which included the replacement of the rail support brackets, and signal and ground rail," SMRT wrote. "The engineers needed to access the open viaduct to complete the repair works."
SMRT concurrently carried out network-wide checks on all trains and tracks to ensure that the system was safe for operations, before full service resumed at 4.18pm, more than six hours after the disruption began.
In an update at 11.53am on Saturday, SMRT said that while the first train was moved back to the depot, the second train stalled after service had resumed.
"The incident train was recovered and pulled back to the depot," SMRT wrote. "After service recovered, a second train stalled at the same stretch of track. As this second train could not continue service, around 10 passengers were guided by staff safely to the nearest station (Bukit Panjang LRT station)."
SMRT said it would conduct further investigations to determine why the two rail support brackets failed.
During the disruption, free bus services were available at all LRT stations on the line, and SMRT deployed additional buses to provide direct bridging bus services between LRT stations.
SMRT staff were also deployed to all LRT stations to provide assistance to commuters.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused our commuters," SMRT said.
The operator first announced the unavailability of services on the line in a tweet at 11.12am, saying that services on both Service A and B were affected.
Commuters had been reporting about the unavailability of service on the line from as early as 10am.
Twitter user Kimmy said at 10.01 am that the Bukit Panjang LRT was not working.
"Do not board," he wrote. "I wasted 77 cents going in and coming out of (the) same station just now."https://twitter.com/Twi647264/status/906336649994412032
Commuter Ronnie Goh, 39, told The Straits Times that he was at Senja station at around 9.35am on his way to a clinic.
"I was waiting for the train and around 9.45am, they started announcing that there was a train fault due to power failure. We were advised to go for alternative transport," said the purchasing executive.
He said he waited for a bus instead and managed to reach Fajar around 10.30am, by which time train services were still unavailable.
When Mr Goh had finished his clinic visit at 12.15pm, all LRT train stations were closed, he said.
He shared a photo of a stalled two-car LRT train on the tracks near Ten Mile Junction station.
"I saw an engineer there checking on the train," said Mr Goh.
When ST arrived at Bukit Panjang LRT station around 12.40pm, the station was closed and half-shuttered.
There was a stationary LRT train on the tracks. A group of workers wearing bright orange vests were spotted near the train and they appeared to be trying to assess the situation.
A Bukit Panjang resident who wanted to be known as only Madam Chan told ST that she urged SMRT to "do something" to address the situation.
She added: "It's embarrassing that the trains break down all the time. Luckily this time, it happened on a Saturday. Many residents here rely on the LRT to move around. It would have been very messy if this took place during the rush hours on a weekday."
The last major disruption on the Bukit Panjang LRT occurred about a year ago due to a track fault near Choa Chu Kang station.
As a result, there was no service between the Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang stations, severing rail link to the MRT network that takes residents to and from other parts of Singapore.
Additional reporting by Ian Cheng