Downtown Line hit by signalling fault during evening peak hour: SBS Transit

Commuters on board a Downtown Line train at MacPherson MRT station during the delay, on Dec 28, 2020.
Commuters on board a Downtown Line train at MacPherson MRT station during the delay, on Dec 28, 2020.ST PHOTO: ANG QING
Long queues were spotted at MacPherson MRT station.
Long queues were spotted at MacPherson MRT station.PHOTO: LOW CHERN HWEE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The journey between Expo and Geylang Bahru stations on the Downtown Line will take commuters an additional 20 minutes due to a signalling fault on the MRT line.

Rail operator SBS Transit announced the fault on its Twitter page on Monday evening (Dec 28) at about 6.50pm. It said then that passengers may experience a 15-minute delay to their journey.

In an update at 8.20pm, the operator said the additional travelling time has increased to about 20 minutes.

It also apologised for the inconvenience caused. 

There are 10 other MRT stations located between Expo and Geylang Bahru. 

Several commuters complained about the fault on social media from about 6.30pm on Monday. Some also disputed SBS' claim of a 15-minute delay and said that their trains were stuck at each affected station for about 10 minutes.

Long queues were also spotted at MacPherson MRT station.

A Straits Times reporter who boarded the train at Mattar at 9pm and headed to Bedok North experienced a five- to 10-minute wait at each station before the train moved on. 

A commuter who only wanted to be known as Ms Gunawan, 32, said she had a 35-minute delay in her journey from Expo to MacPherson station.

She said: “I took the Downtown Line because I had no other route home.

“I wish they would communicate (these issues) to the commuter more clearly. I had to check the Internet to know what exactly happened.”

Temasek Polytechnic student Siamul Hoque, 17, who boarded at Bedok North, said he experienced a delay of about 25 minutes in his trip to Jalan Besar. 

“To a small extent, I was frustrated, but because I was with my friends, it wasn’t that bad,” he said. 

Signalling systems are used to direct rail traffic and ensure a safe distance between trains.

The fault along the Downtown Line on Monday is the second major signalling fault along an MRT line this month. 

On Dec 4, train services along the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) were disrupted for five hours because of a software glitch in the signalling system’s network component.

The TEL fault resulted in a six-month delay of the opening of the second stage of the line in order to facilitate “a more thorough review” of the rail system software, said the Land Transport Authority on Dec 14.