Mobile signals turned off at MRT stations as part of investigations
SINGAPORE — Mobile signals will be switched off at four Circle Line stations from 7pm to 9pm on Friday (Sept 2), as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT continue their investigations into the recent spate of signal interference along the Circle Line.
SINGAPORE — In an unprecedented move, mobile signals were switched off at four Circle Line stations for two hours on Friday (Sept 2) evening as part of investigations into the persistent signal interference that has caused travel delays for the past five days.
Commuters were unable to make calls, send messages or access the Internet at or between the four underground stations of Kent Ridge, Haw Par Villa, Pasir Panjang and Labrador Park from 7pm to 9pm. The shutdown, said the Land Transport Authority and SMRT in a joint statement, was to allow checks for “possible interference between the telecommunications network and train signalling system during peak hours when most of the incidents have occurred”.
“As part of our investigations, we are testing all possible sources that might have contributed to the recent spate of interferences,” said the statement. “We seek commuters’ understanding as we work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
The statement came 20 minutes before the shutdown, riling commuters who only found out the news from the electronic signs at the stations’ platforms.
Ms Koh Shu Wen, 39, who was at Kent Ridge Station, said: “They should have given a warning earlier so that people who intended to work on the way home could have downloaded information beforehand.”
Researcher Ghislain Bonamy, 37, said he thought it was a problem with his telco operator when his Internet browsing stalled.
“They should have made the warning obvious. I still don’t quite understand why they had to cut off the coverage ... they should have better engineers,” he added.
Signal interference, causing an intermittent loss of signal between trains and stations, has affected operations on the 30-station Circle Line since Monday, with commuters having to deal with additional travelling time and trains abruptly braking.
An electrical engineering expert who did not want to be named told TODAY that the shutdown of mobile signals sounded “really very suspicious” because the signalling system’s design should already have taken into consideration the frequency commonly used by mobile communication providers.
It was possible that the authorities could be trying to find out where other signal sources might be coming from, he added.
He also noted that it was “quite easy” to jam a wireless signalling system, including transmitting a very strong signal at the frequency used by the rail signalling system, which would “basically mask out all the other signals”.
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