Asia

Train services return to normal following Wednesday's widespread disruption

SINGAPORE – A day after one of the worst power-related disruptions in years that hit three MRT lines and left thousands stranded, train services on the three lines resumed, with commuters saying that their morning rides were uneventful.

At about 6.45am at Yew Tee MRT station on Thursday (Oct 15) morning, train services were running as usual, and commuters who spoke to The Straits Times said nothing was amiss when they took their daily morning rides to work, school and camp.

A power fault had shut down train service on parts of the North-South and East-West MRT Lines at around 7pm on Wednesday (Oct 14), severely disrupting the evening rush-hour commute for many commuters. Half an hour later, the fault disrupted service along a 16-station stretch of the Circle Line.

Preliminary investigations indicate that a faulty power cable had caused the breakdown, which is one of the most serious power-related incidents to hit the MRT network in recent years.

Service resumed at all stations along the North-South and East-West Lines at 10.35pm.

On Thursday morning, some were unaware of last night’s disruptions as services were back to normal.

Mr Muhammad Nur Nazrul, a full-time national serviceman, said that his commute from Hougang to Yew Tee went without a hitch. He arrived at the latter at about 6.45am.

“I only found out about the disruptions this morning through the news, it was quite surprising to me, especially as so many stations were affected, said the 22-year-old.

Commuter Suresh Kumar said he left the house about five minutes earlier.

The project manager, who is in his 60s, saidhis ride to Jurong East from Yew Tee was without delay.

Over at Jurong East MRT station at 7.40am, a steady stream of commuters made their way to and from the bus interchange and the train platform during the morning peak hour.

Describing the situation that she experienced in Jurong East station on the night before, Ms Jane Tan, a public servant, said on Thursday morning that the bus interchange had been packed as commuters streamed out of the MRT station after it was announced that there was no train service.

She took a bus towards Serangoon where she lives, and got off at Clementi MRT station to see if she could hop onto Pasir Ris-bound train.

But she was out of luck.

“It was like a choked toilet,” she said of the crowd that had formed around the station.

The 26-year-old added that she had to forgo a dinner appointment at Nex with her friend, and instead had a meal at Clementi before heading home.

However, she was not upset.

“It could have been a lot worse if the full workforce was out, so I’m thankful that I eventually got home okay,” she said. Her commute from Serangoon to Jurong East on Thursday went smoothly.

Ms Siti Hasna, a housewife, said she had heard about the disruptions on Wednesday night, but it did not bother her as she went about her plans on Thursday morning.

“I take public transport pretty often, and things have been okay, so far so good… I guess I’m lucky,” she said.

The 34-year-old, who took the train from Choa Chu Kang to Jurong East on Wednesday, said the ride was without issue.

“I guess breakdowns are inevitable. The trains are always moving and I’d expect them to breakdown… it’s just matter of time.”


Commuters on an East-West line MRT train on at 6.50am on Oct 15, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

One commuter who was affected by the disruptions on Wednesday night said he had to take a private hire car home after trains stopped running from Jurong East. He got to the station at about 8pm.

“I ended up taking a Grab car home to Sembawang, but it’s not an issue. There’s no need to get angry, it won’t change anything,” said Alan Tan, 33, who works in the food distribution industry.

When ST reached Serangoon MRT at 7.30am on Thursday, crowds were seen streaming in at both the purple line and circle line exit points.

A commuter, who wanted to be known only as Ms So, 24, said she felt as though the station was more packed this morning – following Wednesday’s breakdown.

She usually takes the North-East Line (NEL) from her home to Serangoon, where she changes trains to get to Botanic Gardens, which is en route to her workplace.

“I left at the same time, because I thought that everything would have been fixed by now, and that I didn’t think I’d be so unlucky twice,” she said, half in jest.

“There was a brief moment when the train suddenly stopped on the purple line, causing slight panic, but thankfully it was nothing,” said Ms So, who works in operations.

Her commute home was met with a disruption at Bishan station at around 7.30pm on Wednesday, when the train she was on had stopped at the station.

Fearing the worst, Ms So decided to search for alternative routes to get home, and managed to get a bus from Bishan to Woodleigh, which connected her to the NEL.

Though the disruptions delayed her travel time by an hour, she was thankful that the delays she experienced were not as bad compared to the ones on the East-West Line, which allowed her to get home at a reasonable time.

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