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MRT disruption unlikely to have been caused by defective train: SMRT

SINGAPORE — A defective train is “highly unlikely” to be the cause of Tuesday’s (July 7) service disruption on the North-South and East-West lines, SMRT said in a press statement today (July 10).

A display board at Boon Lay MRT station informs of train service disruption on the North South East West Lines (NSEWL) on 7 July 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY

A display board at Boon Lay MRT station informs of train service disruption on the North South East West Lines (NSEWL) on 7 July 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY

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SINGAPORE — A defective train is “highly unlikely” to be the cause of Tuesday’s (July 7) service disruption on the North-South and East-West lines, SMRT said in a press statement today (July 10).

The transport company says it is now working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to continue investigations into the possible degradation in the insulation of a power substation, a power cable or a third rail.

Until the root cause can be conclusively determined, SMRT said it will be taking all possible precautionary and preventive measures to safeguard the system in terms of safety and service reliability. Some immediate measures it will be taking include rescheduling longer-term track upgrade and renewal programmes so that priority can be given for immediate remedial actions to safeguard the system against a recurrence of a breakdown.

The transport operator has also brought in a number of retired SMRT staff with experience in network power issues to assist in the investigations and at the same time, advanced the procurement of additional condition monitoring systems.

SMRT added that it will continue tests and investigations through the weekend by repeating the full cycle of checks and re-enacting, where possible, the conditions under which the series of power trips were observed.

It is also working with external experts to review the design robustness of the power network, and to find ways to further segment it in order to avoid a similar network-wide power failure.

Yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it would hire an independent consultant specialising in transit power systems. The consultant will assess the overall condition of the entire power supply infrastructure and other railway trackside installations for the North-South and East-West lines.

The Chairman of the SMRT Board of Directors, Mr Koh Yong Guan, has also issued a public apology saying: “The Board and Management of SMRT take full responsibility for the disruption.”

SMRT had also acknowledged the gaps in service recovery following the July 7 breakdown because of the expansive network-wide disruption. In the press statement, it said bus bridging could not be activated as all available and additional bus resources were already deployed to augment the free bus services along the route of the network.

Mr Koh said: “It is of great concern to us that so many commuters were affected by this disruption during the evening peak hours when many were making their way back home. In particular, we apologise to our Muslim commuters who were returning home to break fast.”

“The Board gives its full support to the management and staff of SMRT to establish the root cause of the incident as quickly as possible, and to prevent a recurrence,” he added. RAYMOND THAM

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