Track fault disrupts train service on North-South Line between Bishan and Yio Chu Kang MRT stations

The crowd at Yishun MRT station, on March 5, 2020.
The crowd at Yishun MRT station, on March 5, 2020.PHOTO: STOMP READER
The crowd at Yishun MRT station, on March 5, 2020.
The crowd at Yishun MRT station, on March 5, 2020.PHOTO: HUI BOON CHAI, TATA SMRT/FACEBOOK
The crowd at Bukit Batok MRT station, on March 5, 2020.
The crowd at Bukit Batok MRT station, on March 5, 2020.PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - The train service from Bishan to Yio Chu Kang towards Jurong East on the North-South Line (NSL) was disrupted for nearly two hours on Thursday (March 5) morning.

SMRT said on its Twitter account at about 7am that a track point fault at Ang Mo Kio MRT station delayed the train service from Bishan to Yio Chu Kang by 10 minutes.

The delay was extended to 20 minutes at about 8.25am.

The train operator provided free regular bus services between Bishan and Yishun MRT stations.

It said at 8.50am on Twitter that the fault had been cleared and train service was progressively being restored. It stopped providing free bus services about 10 minutes later.

SMRT chief communications officer Margaret Teo apologised for the disruption on Thursday.

She said: “At about 6am this morning, a track point fault occurred between Ang Mo Kio and Yio Chu Kang stations on the North-South Line. 

“Services on northbound trains continued, but at a slower speed along the affected stretch as a precautionary measure. Our engineers were immediately deployed to investigate.”

The fault was rectified at about 8.45am and normal train services resumed at 9am, she added.

SMRT is investigating the cause of the delay.

Commuters said on Facebook that the disruption led to delays at other stations on the NSL during the morning rush hour.

One of these commuters is accounts executive Jocelyn Tan, 45, who was caught by the train delay at Yishun MRT station. 

"I waited nearly 25 minutes on the platform to get onto the train to Bishan. The side of the station was facing the hot rising sun, so it was unbearable and crammed," she said, adding: "The coronavirus situation (also) made people a bit paranoid (with the crowd)."

The delay on Thursday comes exactly a week after a power fault caused a six-hour disruption on the North East Line (NEL) that affected the peak-hour commute on Feb 27.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and NEL operator SBS Transit are investigating last week's disruption. Initial investigations found that the delay was due to a broken contact wire that affected power supply to trains leaving the Sengkang depot.

Both incidents a week apart come at a time where the MRT system turned in a record performance in terms of reliability.

On Feb 7, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed that all MRT lines here have crossed the one-million MKBF mark. MKBF stands for mean kilometres before failure, and is a widely used measure of reliability.

As at the third quarter of 2019, the Downtown and Circle lines clocked just over 900,000 MKBF, while the others - the North-South, East-West and North East lines - exceeded one million. By end-2019, all had crossed the million mark. 

Overall, the MRT network clocked 1.32 million MKBF by December 2019, a vast improvement from the 58,000 MKBF clocked in 2011.