North-South line fault causes 2-hour delays during peak hour on Thursday evening

Crowd waiting for buses at the bus stop along Bishan Road, next to the Bishan MRT, on 17 Aug 2017.
Crowd waiting for buses at the bus stop along Bishan Road, next to the Bishan MRT, on 17 Aug 2017. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Crowds waiting on the platform at Raffles Place MRT station, after a signalling fault delayed services on the North-South MRT Line, on Aug 17, 2017.
Crowds waiting on the platform at Raffles Place MRT station, after a signalling fault delayed services on the North-South MRT Line, on Aug 17, 2017.PHOTO: ST READER
Raffles Place MRT station was packed to the seams on Thursday night.
Raffles Place MRT station was packed to the seams on Thursday night.PHOTO: ST READER
Commuters asking for information at the platform at Bishan MRT station, on 17 Aug 2017.
Commuters asking for information at the platform at Bishan MRT station, on 17 Aug 2017.ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Photos of commuters waiting for the train at Bishan MRT on 17 Aug 2017.
Photos of commuters waiting for the train at Bishan MRT on 17 Aug 2017. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Photos of commuters waiting for the train at Bishan MRT on 17 Aug 2017.
Photos of commuters waiting for the train at Bishan MRT on 17 Aug 2017. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Bishan MRT station at 740pm on Wednesday, Aug 17.
Bishan MRT station at 740pm on Wednesday, Aug 17.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Bishan MRT station at 740pm on Wednesday, Aug 17.
Bishan MRT station at 740pm on Wednesday, Aug 17.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE – After a relatively uneventful fortnight, the North-South MRT line was down with what seems like a fairly serious fault during the evening peak hour on Thursday (Aug 17). 

In a tweet, operator SMRT said: “Due to a new signalling system fault near Ang Mo Kio, please add 20 minutes travel time between Yishun and Marina South Pier.”

It added that free regular buses were available between the two stops.

SMRT at 7pm revised its statement, asking commuters to add 40 minutes' travelling time between Marina South Pier and Yishun, due to a new signalling system fault. It added that train service was available.

In most other disruptions, the actual delays usually turned out to be longer than reported.

The Straits Times understands commuters were asked to disembark from at least one train at Toa Payoh station. 

In response to queries from The Straits Times, SMRT said: “At around 5.35pm this evening, a signalling unit along the tracks near Ang Mo Kio experienced a fault, which affected signalling communication to trains. 

“Trains came to a halt momentarily, but service later continued with trains travelling at slow speeds between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan stations for safety reasons.

“We apologise that this has affected commuters’ journeys this evening.”

At about 7.20pm, the operator issued another statement on Facebook, which indicated the entire North-South line may be affected.

Indeed commuters have taken to social media to complain of delays along the entire line. 

Ms Nurazlina Mohamed Lazin said on Facebook: “If it (is) affecting Yishun to Marina Pier, why is it that trains from way before Yishun MRT (are) affected?”

She said trains were stopping “15-20 minutes” at stations such as Marsiling, Woodlands and Admiralty.

“Can’t you just announce that the delay affects the whole line rather than making people wait in the train?”

SMRT said a joint team of engineers – including those from signalling system supplier Thales – “are working to rectify the signalling fault on the North-South Line”. 

“Commuters are advised to travel on other MRT lines, or make alternative transport arrangements,” it added.

At about 7.58pm, SMRT tweeted that the delay had been reduced to 15 minutes' additional travelling time. 

It added in an update at 8.18pm that train services had resumed, and free regular bus services and free bridging bus services had ended.