NSL disruption: Train service between Ang Mo Kio and Newton resumes following overnight effort to clear flooded tunnel

SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations.
SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations. PHOTO: SCDF
SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations.
SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations. PHOTO: SCDF
SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations.
SCDF personnel working to remove water from the MRT tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations. PHOTO: SCDF
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6.20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6.20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6.20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6.20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6:20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.
MRT services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations were still down as of 6:20am on Sunday (Oct 8) morning.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
A member of the SMRT staff puts up signboards with information of free bus services.
A member of the SMRT staff puts up signboards with information of free bus services.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Train service between Ang Mo Kio and Newton resumed on Sunday (Oct 8) afternoon, nearly 21 hours after services on the North-South Line (NSL) were disrupted due to flooding in the tunnel along some stations

Train operator SMRT, in an update on Facebook at 1.52pm on Sunday, said the resumption follows an "all-out, overnight effort" to clear water in the tunnels between Bishan and Braddell stations. 

SMRT said it worked with teams from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), PUB and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to pump out water from the tunnels.

Teams from SMRT and LTA also conducted network-wide checks on MRT tunnels, it added.

In a separate update, the SCDF said it received a call for assistance from SMRT at 7.07pm on Saturday. It completed its operations to pump out water from the tunnels at about 11am on Sunday. The SCDF also posted on its Facebook pictures showing the flooded tunnel.

The train service disruption was first reported at about 5.30pm on Saturday after water entered the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell during the afternoon's torrential rain.

A a result, train service on a large stretch of the NSL from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier came to a halt. Thousands of commuters were affected, and while much of the train service was eventually restored, the two-way service between Newton and Ang Mo Kio was disrupted for the rest of Saturday.


Commuters boarding a bridging bus outside Bishan MRT station at 6.45am on Sunday morning. ST PHOTO: SEAK KWANG PENG

SMRT had hoped to restore train services by Sunday morning but it said later that more time was needed to clear the flooded tunnel. 

Then at 10.09am on Sunday, SMRT issued an update to say that its engineering teams were working on cleaning, replacing and testing trackside equipment. "We are working towards full resumption of North-South Line train services as quickly as possible," the rail operator said in that update. 

Despite the updates, some commuters turned up early on Sunday to take the train.

When The Straits Times visited Bishan MRT station at around 7.30am, about 30 commuters were seen queuing for the bridging bus service at the bus stop outside the station. SMRT staff were present to guide them. 


Commuters queueing for the bridging bus service at the bus stop outside Bishan MRT station. ST PHOTO: FELICIA CHOO  

One such commuter was Ms Ho, 71, who works in the service industry. She boarded a bridging bus to Newton at about 7.50am. 

"I'm on my way to Tiong Bahru for work and it's a bit inconvenient... I didn't know that the trains still weren't working today," she told ST. 

Mr Alvin Chong, 53, who is self-employed, had to take a bridging bus from Bishan to Newton so he could attend a church service in Orchard on Sunday morning. 

 
 
 

He also had to take a bus from Beach Road to Buona Vista on Saturday while out with friends because of the breakdown. "You get more frustrated as you experience more (of the disruptions)," he added. 

While there have been previous cases of water entering MRT tunnels, this is believed to be the first time it has affected train services.

In 2006, heavy rain in the morning left the Novena station with waterlogged floors and a dripping ceiling. The water, which rose to a height of 5cm, seemed to have come from a nearby construction site.

SMRT on Saturday declined to comment on the extent of the problem, but MRT tunnels are equipped with pumps which are supposed to kick in when water enters the tunnels.