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Software fault on East-West Line's signalling system sparks rush-hour delays

SINGAPORE — A software fault on the East-West Line’s existing signalling system led to crowded platforms and rush-hour delays on Tuesday morning (Oct 24).

Photo: Twitter screencaps via Liane Ng, Farah Daley

Photo: Twitter screencaps via Liane Ng, Farah Daley

SINGAPORE — A software fault on the East-West Line’s existing signalling system led to crowded platforms and rush-hour delays on Tuesday morning (Oct 24).

The fault occurred around 8.30am and was rectified in about 10 minutes, said Mr Patrick Nathan, rail operator SMRT’s vice-president for corporate communications.

However, as the trains had to travel at slower speeds for safety, the East-West Line faced “some train traffic congestion during the morning peak” period, he added in an email reply to queries from TODAY.

Normal services resumed at 9am.

Apologising to commuters for the inconvenience, Mr Nathan said SMRT had made announcements in stations and trains to alert commuters to the fault. They were also told to add an extra 10 minutes to their travel time on the trains.

SMRT routinely warns commuters about train faults via its social media platforms. But the rail operator did not announce Tuesday morning's fault on the East-West Line on Facebook or Twitter.

The East-West Line’s existing signalling system is set to be replaced by the same one currently being tested on the North-South Line. Tests on the East-West Line’s new system are expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Earlier on Tuesday, commuters reported large crowds gathering on station platforms, with some saying the trains they were on had not moved for as much as 25 minutes.

Pictures posted to social media showed platforms — from Pasir Ris to Bedok — packed with commuters.

The lack of updates on SMRT’s social media platforms left some commuters fuming.

A user with the Twitter handle Keen said announcements were made in trains but “not on Twitter or anywhere else”.

Another Twitter user Joey said: “(I) think SMRT gave up reporting train faults.”

Commuter Lee Pei Zi, 26, said she waited 15 minutes to board a train at Bedok MRT station. The financial analyst, who was heading to Raffles Place MRT station, said announcements at Bedok blamed the delay on issues with the signalling system that affected the entire line.

On Twitter, a user with the handle Mr Mo said he had just entered Simei MRT station when a train delay resulting from a “signalling fault” was announced.

“No other info. Not cool,” wrote the user.

Another user, nickkohh, said it took 15 minutes for him to travel from Tiong Bahru to Tanjong Pagar, which is two stops away, while user CP Tay said the journey from Lakeside to Jurong East stations took 20 minutes, up from the usual five minutes.

 

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