SINGAPORE - Train services on the Downtown Line (DTL) resumed to normal on Wednesday (May 3) afternoon after they were delayed and trains did not stop at Botanic Gardens station for about four hours as engineers tended to a signalling-related fault.
During the morning rush hour, train services on the DTL towards Chinatown were delayed, with some commuters complaining that their journeys on the DTL took them around 30 minutes longer than usual. Trains also bypassed the Botanic Gardens station, which meant passengers had to transfer at Tan Kah Kee and Stevens to get there.
In a statement issued to the media at 2.29pm, SBS Transit, the line's operator, said that the platform screen doors, which are controlled by the signalling system, malfunctioned at about 5.45am and could not open automatically.
As a result, staff had to manually operate the doors whenever a train arrived at the station and this took some time which caused a delay to train services, SBS Transit added.
SBS Transit sent out the first alert on Twitter at around 7.41am, warning commuters to expect an additional 10 minutes' travel time
It explained in the statement: "To enable our engineers to resolve the problem as soon as possible and minimise inconvenience to commuters, a decision was subsequently taken to close the platform at DT9 Botanic Gardens Station for trains heading towards Chinatown. With the closure of the platform, train services on the DTL could continue without delay on the Line.
"The fault was rectified at 12.54pm and the platform opened for passenger service. Two doors (#5 and 6) will, however, remain closed for more in-depth repairs to be conducted during engineering hours tonight.
"During normal operations, when a train enters a station, the signalling system will communicate with the train system so that both the platform screen doors and train doors can be automatically opened at the same time for passenger boarding and alighting activities. However, this could not be done this morning at the DT9 Botanic Gardens Station."
In an earlier update on Twitter at about 1pm, SBS Transit, the line's operator, said that trains had resumed stopping at Botanic Gardens - after having bypassed the station for about four hours due to the fault.
In an earlier update on Twitter at 9.37am, SBS Transit said that trains would bypass Botanic Gardens station towards Chinatown, adding that commuters should transfer at Tan Kah Kee and Stevens to continue their journeys.
It said that train services from Chinatown towards Bukit Panjang were operating normally.
SBS Transit later posted a more detailed update on its Facebook page, adding that the platform at Botanic Gardens is closed and that engineers are working to resolve the fault.
When The Straits Times visited Botanic Gardens station at around 10.30am, station staff were advising passengers on how to get to their destinations. Staff were also present at the Tan Kah Kee and Stevens stations to offer help.
At Stevens, passengers exiting trains who wanted to proceed to the lower platform to change train directions were allowed to do so without tapping out.
In its first alert on Twitter at around 7.41am, SBS Transit said commuters could expect an additional 10 minutes' travel time.
Commuters on Twitter, however, said that the additional travelling time was as long as 30 minutes, with trains stopping for about 10 minutes at each station.
The Straits Times has contacted SBS Transit for more information.
One of the commuters affected by the delay was student Shaunak Kumar Roy, 23, who had intended to switch trains from Little India to Clarke Quay for his classes which begin at 10am. "Now I'm going to be 10 to 15 minutes late," he said.
NTU undergraduate Andrew Lim, 24, took the DTL around 8.50am, but the train he was on did not move for more than five minutes.
It took him 40 minutes to travel from Bukit Panjang to Newton, twice as long as it usually takes, he said, adding that the train skipped Botanic Gardens station and stopped for around one minute at every stop.
"I think they shouldn't tell us it is a 10 minute delay when it's clearly already taking so much longer," Mr Lim said.
Another commuter, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Yeo, said she transferred from the Circle Line to the Downtown Line at Botanic Gardens station in the morning. Staff at one-north station had told her this was a faster way of getting to Bugis.
She said: "If the trains have been bypassing Botanic Gardens station since morning, someone should have informed all the counters at the other stations," she said, adding that she was running late for her appointment.
Train services on the DTL suffered a two-hour delay in October 2016 due to a platform screen door fault which occurred at the Sixth Avenue station. An investigation revealed that a loose bolt had caused a platform screen door to become dislodged from its frame, causing the unhinged door to come into contact with the side of an approaching train.
The DTL, Singapore's fifth Mass Rapid Transit line, is opening in three stages. The present network with the DTL1 and DTL2, which opened in 2013 and 2015 respectively, stretches from Bukit Panjang to Chinatown. The DTL3 is expected to open by the end of 2017.