North East Line train breaks down at Clarke Quay, causing delays during rush hour

Commuters at HarbourFront station affected by the North East Line delay on Thursday evening (Nov 16). PHOTO: CHERMAINE NG
Commuters at HarbourFront station affected by the North East Line delay on Thursday evening (Nov 16). PHOTO: CHERMAINE NG
Crowds at HarbourFront station, after a train fault at Clarke Quay caused a disruption on the North East Line on Nov 16, 2017.
Crowds at HarbourFront station, after a train fault at Clarke Quay caused a disruption on the North East Line on Nov 16, 2017.PHOTO: TWITTER/@CHACEMAO
A stalled train seen at Sengkang station on Nov 16, 2017.
A stalled train seen at Sengkang station on Nov 16, 2017. PHOTO: ST READER
Train service at Clarke Quay is cancelled close to 8pm on Nov 16, 2017.
Train service at Clarke Quay is cancelled close to 8pm on Nov 16, 2017. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
People waiting at the bus stop outside Clark Quay MRT station at 8pm on Nov 16, 2017.
People waiting at the bus stop outside Clark Quay MRT station at 8pm on Nov 16, 2017. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE – A train on the North East Line broke down at Clarke Quay station towards Punggol at 6.20pm Thursday (Nov 16), the latest in a string of rail faults this week. 

Operator SBS Transit pushed out a public alert that journey time will be extended by 10 minutes at 6.20pm, then sent out another tweet at 6.32pm that the additional time will be increased to 15 minutes. It is likely to be significantly longer because a 12-car push-out is underway.

This is when another six-car train is used to push the crippled train out of the way so that normal service can resume. 

At 6.42pm, SBS Transit announced that there would be free buses available “at designated bus stops” between Outram Park and Farrer Park stations.

Commuters reported crowds swelling at Serangoon interchange, among other stations.

Author Jimmy Chua, 33, said: “I usually drive, but because of the rain, I decided to take the train this evening.

“I started at Buangkok, and it took me 30 minutes to reach Hougang – one station away.”

Mr Chua said he decided to get out of the train at Hougang “to wait it out and to get a quick meal”. He said many others decided to leave the train there too.

Retiree Kevin Tan, 57, was another motorist who decided to take a train when he got stuck at Kovan. When he decided to give up waiting and left, he said he was charged 77 cents on the way out of the station, “but my wife who was with me wasn’t charged”.

“The station staff said I could come back within three days for a refund,” he said.

The breakdown is the fourth in two days. On Wednesday, all three lines operated by SMRT experienced delays and disruptions. 

Service on the East-West Line was tripped up by a two-train collision in Joo Koon station, the Circle Line was affected by what was believed to be a door-related fault. Later in the afternoon, journey time along the North-South Line took 40 minutes longer than usual because several trains were pulled out of service. 


The crowd outside Dhoby Ghaut MRT station just past 7pm on Nov 16, 2017. PHOTO: ST READER


People outside Chinatown MRT station in the evening of Nov 16, 2017. PHOTO: ST READER

There were trains of the same model as the ones involved in the Joo Koon collision, which was caused by a signalling fault. 

SMRT would not say how many trains have been pulled out.

At around 7.45pm, SBS Transit indicated that the 12-car push-out had just completed, and that normal service would resume soon. This was followed by another announcement around 8pm that regular service was progressively back at affected stations on NEL since 7.53pm and that trains were running normally at all stations. The rail operator said free buses were still available between Outram and Farrer Park.

It released a statement around 9.15pm saying a defective train at Clarke Quay station had caused the disruption to five stations between Outram Park and Farrer Park for about 1 1/2 hours. A rescue train was sent to push the defective train out, said an SBS Transit spokesman, adding that the company was investigating the cause of the fault.
 

Here is the full statement:

Train service disruption at five stations on the North East Line this evening 

Train service on the North East Line was disrupted this evening between Outram Park and Farrer Park Stations for about one-and-a-half hours due to a train fault. The train was approaching the Clarke Quay Station towards Punggol then. 

To get the defective train off the line, a rescue train was sent to push the defective train out.  This push out was completed at about 7.50pm and service progressively returned to normal.  

During this time, train services were available between Harbourfront and Outram Park Stations as well as between Punggol and Farrer Park Stations. Free bus rides and bridging bus services were also available at affected stations between Outram Park and Farrer Park Stations.

We apologise to affected commuters for the inconvenience caused. Meanwhile, we are investigating the cause of the fault.