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Train services disrupted for over 5 hours on Thomson-East Coast Line

​SINGAPORE — Train service between Woodlands North and Woodlands South stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) was disrupted for more than five hours on Friday (Dec 4) because of a signalling fault, rail operator SMRT said.

Train services disrupted for over 5 hours on Thomson-East Coast Line

There was no train service between Woodlands South, Woodlands North and Woodlands, which connects commuters from the Thomson-East Coast Line to the North-South Line.

SINGAPORE — Train service between Woodlands North and Woodlands South stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) was disrupted for more than five hours on Friday (Dec 4) because of a signalling fault, rail operator SMRT said.

There are three stations on the line — Woodlands South, Woodlands North and Woodlands, which connects commuters from the TEL to the North-South Line.

SMRT first put up an alert about the train fault on Twitter at 5.43am. It then said in a Twitter update at 10.56am that train service had resumed, but that it would continue to provide free regular bus and bridging bus services to affected commuters. 

When TODAY arrived at Woodlands MRT Station at 11.30am, it was largely empty.

Singapore Sports School student Tiara Amelia, 13, was travelling home from school. 

Earlier in the morning, the signalling fault disrupted her journey to Woodlands South MRT Station, which is near her school.

Tiara said: “(SMRT employees) showed me the way to the shuttle bus. I was scared I would be late for netball training at 9am.” Fortunately, the journey was smooth, she said. 

Engineer Dilys Tan, 23, who lives in Woodlands North, had to drive her sister to work in their parents’ car because of the disruption. 

“We are lucky because it is my day off and I could just drop my sister off before coming home to return the car to my parents, who use it throughout the day,” she said. 

For student Mavis Soong, 14, the trip-up in the morning almost caused her to be late to meet her friends at Causeway Point mall in Woodlands. 

“The bus journey took about 20 minutes, whereas taking the train, I can reach under five minutes,” said Mavis, who lives in Woodlands North. 

The three affected stations opened on Jan 31 as part of the first stage of the TEL's opening. The second stage, consisting of six stations between Springleaf and Caldecott, is expected to open early next year after a delay due to Covid-19.

To prepare for the opening of these six stations, which was originally scheduled to happen this year, SMRT said in July that operating hours for the stations in the first stage would be shortened between July 20 and Aug 30.

This was to add engineering hours for the testing of integrated systems and trains. During this period, the line closed at 9pm daily and started later, at 6.30am, on weekends.

In August, however, SMRT extended the early closure and late openings twice. The second time, on Aug 29, it said the shortened operating hours would remain till Dec 31.

This is the second major train disruption this year. 

On Oct 14, a massive disruption involving 36 stations across three MRT lines affected the evening commutes of about 123,000 people as a section of power cables along the East-West Line's Tuas West Extension burnt through and a circuit breaker was faulty.

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train disruption SMRT Thomson-East Coast Line

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