50 commuters were stuck in stalled TEL train for over 1.5 hours during morning disruption

Free regular bus and bridging services between the stations were available. PHOTO: SEANBAY6/TWITTER

SINGAPORE - About 50 commuters were stuck in a train for more than 1½ hours on Wednesday (April 27) morning owing to a train fault in the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

In a Facebook update at about 9am, rail operator SMRT said the fault between Woodlands and Woodlands South stations occurred at 6.30am.

The passengers were able to disembark at Woodlands station at about 8.10am, SMRT added, noting that there was full lighting and ventilation in the stalled train.

“Our engineers were immediately activated...  to rectify the fault,” it added.

Train services between Woodlands North and Caldecott stations were slower as a result of the incident.

In an earlier update on Twitter at 7.31am, SMRT said: “Due to a track signal fault, trains are moving slower between Woodlands North and Caldecott in both directions.”

It later updated that the cause of the incident was due to a train fault.

Free regular bus and bridging services between the stations were made available.

Commuters were unable to get into Woodlands North station at 8.45am as the gantries were closed. A sign directed commuters to take the free bus service to Caldecott station instead and advised them to add 25 minutes to their travelling time.

A commuter told The Straits Times that she took 30 minutes to get from Woodlands to Woodlands North station, a journey that normally takes two minutes.

At 9.01am, SMRT said on Twitter that train services were progressively recovering. 

It updated at 9.09am that services had resumed.

“We are sorry for affecting your commute,” SMRT said in a tweet and Facebook.

When ST visited Woodlands station at 9.10am, train services had resumed. 

Mr R. Kumar, 40, who arrived at the station at 8.45am, said he was told by staff that bridging bus services were available. However, even after half an hour, the bus did not come. 

The public servant said: “I think the staff did what they could, they guided people on where to go and how to find alternative transport.

“But when there’s a train breakdown, the bridging bus usually comes more often. The bus did not come at all, so we took the train in the end.”

As a result of the delay, Mr Kumar boarded the train at 9.20am and was late for a meeting with clients at his workplace in Upper Thomson. 

Another commuter, who wanted to be known only as Ms Tan, 27, said: “I can understand the situation, it’s not the first train breakdown I have heard of.”

The quantity surveyor in a construction firm added: “But I was surprised because the Thomson-East Coast Line is a new line.”

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