Track fault causes train delays for nearly 3 hours on East-West Line

Commuters at Jurong East MRT station during a delay along a west-bound stretch of the East-West Line (EWL), on April 9.
Commuters at Jurong East MRT station during a delay along a west-bound stretch of the East-West Line (EWL), on April 9.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - A track fault caused delays for almost three hours along a westbound stretch of the East-West Line (EWL) on Monday morning (April 9), with services resuming at 10.18am.

Rail operator SMRT first tweeted about the fault affecting travel from Jurong East to Joo Koon stations at 7.36am, warning commuters to add 15 minutes to their travel time.

Its subsequent updates said to expect delays of up to 25 minutes, with Clementi station also affected. "We are working to recover service," SMRT added. 

There are five stations - Jurong East, Chinese Garden, Lakeside, Boon Lay and Pioneer - between Clementi and Joo Koon.

According to SMRT, there was a track circuit failure between Pioneer and Jurong East stations just before 7am.

When The Straits Times arrived at Jurong East station at around 9am, train platforms appeared to be clear. 

Civil servant Justina Leo, 25, told ST that the train was 10 minutes late and the platform was more crowded than usual when she was at Jurong East station at 8.05am. "There were people who couldn't get in," she said, adding that she had to take a taxi to avoid being late for work.

SMRT said in a tweet at 10.18am that train service on the EWL had resumed.

All 35 stations along the EWL have had their operating hours on weekends shortened since March 2, so as to provide more time for engineering staff to intensify testing of the new Communications-Based Train Control signalling system.

The shorter operating hours will continue till April 29.

The rush to get the new signalling system up on the EWL comes after a train collision at Joo Koon station on Nov 15 last year. 

Investigations pointed to compatibility issues between the old and new systems, with the authorities deciding to separate the two systems. 

This resulted in the suspension of train service between Joo Koon and Gul Circle stations, with service not expected to resume until June this year. Currently, commuters have to get off at Joo Koon and take a free bridging bus service to the next stop at Gul Circle to continue their westward journey. 

A sign informing commuters about the delay on the East West Line. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN