Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Flooded tunnels, trackside fire cause massive disruption to 13 stations on North-South Line

SINGAPORE — Flooded tunnels and a trackside fire crippled operations on the North-South Line (NSL) on Saturday (Oct 7) evening in two separate incidents, affecting thousands of commuters on the weekend.

Flooded tunnels, trackside fire cause massive disruption to 13 stations on North-South Line

Crowd situation outside of Bishan MRT station. Photo:Najeer Yusof/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Flooded tunnels and a trackside fire crippled operations on the North-South Line (NSL) on Saturday (Oct 7) evening in two separate incidents, affecting thousands of commuters on the weekend.

The track fault on the NSL affected train services from Ang Mo Kio to Newton stations for Saturday, as SMRT engineers scrambled to restore services in time for Sunday.

Earlier, SMRT trains on the NSL had to skip a total of 13 stations from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier, leading transport operator SMRT to advise commuters to consider alternative transportation options.

"At 5.33pm, train services were stopped between Bishan and Toa Payoh MRT stations as a precaution because of water in the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations," SMRT explained in a Facebook post.

"This occurred during torrential rain this afternoon," the company added.

The tunnel was reportedly flooded despite flood prevention measures having been improved recently. Currently, flood barriers at 35 underground MRT stations have been completed across the network.

The SCDF said it is using portable pumps to remove water in the tunnel and expects the process to be "a prolonged operation".

Separately, a small fire occurred on the trackside in the tunnel between the Marina Bay and Raffles Place MRT stations at 5.55pm.

Firefighters were sent to Marina Bay, but the fire had died out by itself when they arrived.

For safety reasons, NSL train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier are not available, SMRT said. 

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

SMRT was unable to provide information about the number of commuters who were affected on Saturday night and when the service can resume. It added it has “alternative plans” if the service is still not up and running by Sunday morning but would not elaborate. 

Saturday’s disruption is possibly the widest outage since December 2011 when over 200,000 commuters were affected by a major service disruption along the NSL over two days.

On Dec 15 that year, an estimated 127,000 commuters were affected by a major service disruption along the NSL from Marina Bay station to Braddell station.

At that time four trains stalled because of a misalignment between the train’s current collector shoes and the power rail, also known as the third rail. The trains draw locomotive power from the third rail through the train current collector shoes. As there was a misalignment, the trains were unable to draw power and thus stalled.

Two days later, another service disruption took place on the same line during the morning and affected about 94,000 commuters. During this disruption, five trains stalled after encountering similar mechanical problems.

SMRT was only able to resume service around noon a day later. 

Saturday's outage is believed to be the first time a MRT tunnel had been flooded after rain. In 2006, after an early morning downpour, the Novena MRT station had waterlogged floors and a dripping ceiling. The water, which flooded the floor by a height of 5cm, appeared to have come from a nearby construction site.

While train services were not affected at the time, staff from other stations arrived to shelter commuters with umbrellas and mop up the mess. To prevent the water from damaging the electrical systems, the escalators, fare gates and lift were switched off.

The latest incidents are not related to the new signalling project, SMRT said in its first of many updates on Saturday at 5.36pm. The track fault at the time was just isolated between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations.

Nine minutes later at 5.45pm, the outage affected another station: Ang Mo Kio.

As the outage extended to Marina South Pier station, free regular bus services were activated for commuters between the affected stations.

Earlier in the day, commuters on the NEL towards Punggol were also briefly affected by a train fault at Sengkang at 12.39pm.

Then, operator SBS Transit advised commuters to add 15 minutes to travel time in both directions.

Train services on the NEL resumed nearly 30 minutes later.

SMRT said in a Facebook post that its engineers are investigating the cause of the trackside fire and flooded tunnels, and are working to resume train operations as soon as possible.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa