North-East Line service resumes after 2 delays on Tuesday morning

Commuters at the Sengkang station platform at about 8.15am on Sept 8, 2015.
Commuters at the Sengkang station platform at about 8.15am on Sept 8, 2015. PHOTO: MICHELLE NG
Goodwill ambassadors at Hougang MRT station.
Goodwill ambassadors at Hougang MRT station.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The North-East Line service was delayed due to a train signalling fault on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning.
The North-East Line service was delayed due to a train signalling fault on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The crowd at Hougang MRT at 10.25am on Sept 8, 2015.
The crowd at Hougang MRT at 10.25am on Sept 8, 2015.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The crowd at Hougang MRT at 10.25am on Sept 8, 2015.
The crowd at Hougang MRT at 10.25am on Sept 8, 2015. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE – Commuters on the North-East Line (NEL) were hit by two delays on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning, with the second incident taking over two hours to resolve, and north-bound services between Hougang and Punggol stations going offline at one point.

Operator SBS Transit said that at 7.08am, a signalling fault between Punggol and Sengkang resulted in a delay in travel time of about 10 minutes. This was rectified shortly at about 7.20am.

However, a second delay occurred at about 8.09am, resulting in an additional travelling time of about 25 mins, SBS Transit said.

At one point, trains stopped running on the north-bound line after Hougang, and plied along that stretch only between Punggol and Buangkok on the south-bound line.

Meanwhile, free shuttle bus services were provided to ferry commuters between Hougang and Punggol stations.


An advisory posted at Hougang MRT station. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Full services only resumed more than two hours later at 10.28am. “We deeply apologise to all affected commuters for the inconvenience caused,” a company spokesman said.

Ms Carol Tham, 39, was travelling from Sengkang to Punggol when the train stopped in the tunnel. The producer usually takes the train to Punggol station in hopes of getting a seat as the train turns back towards Outram Park station where her office is.

"We were stuck in the tunnel for about five to seven minutes. An announcement about was made only about five minutes after we stopped and there was no explanation about the delay," she said.

She also said that there was no staff at Sengkang and Punggol station platforms to help the mob of commuters, and signs and instructions were not clear.

"If the company is so disorganised when handling delays, what will happen if something major occurs?"

Mr Sim Soon How, 65, a civil servant, said that routes for bus bridging services were unclear.

Mr Sim said he had intended to take the train from Punggol to Sengkang, but as services were down, he was directed to hop onto a free shuttle.

However, he went on a roundabout trip to Hougang, before going to Buangkok and then to Sengkang. "I wasted my time. If I had taken a normal bus service, 83, from Punggol, I would have reached (my destination) in about 10 to 15mins.

On Monday afternoon, a signalling fault also caused a brief delay in the NEL services at around 4pm.

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