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

Train services in both directions between Ang Mo Kio and Newton are not available for Saturday; SMRT working to resume services for Sunday
VICTOR LOH, AMANDA LEE Today Online 7 Oct 17;

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.

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.

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

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.


Water in the tunnel, trackside fire caused train disruption on NSL: SMRT
Channel NewsAsia 7 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE: Train service along a large stretch of the North-South Line (NSL) - from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier - was disrupted on Saturday (Oct 7), after two separate incidents in the tunnel.

First, water got into a section of the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations during the heavy downpour in the afternoon. As a result, train services were stopped between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations at about 5.30pm as a precaution, said SMRT.

Separately, at about 5.55pm, a small fire was spotted trackside in the tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place MRT stations, said SMRT.

It added that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was activated "within minutes" and was deployed to Marina Bay, but the fire "died out by itself".

"For safety reasons, North-South Line train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier are not available," said SMRT in a Facebook post at about 7.30pm. "Our engineers are on site and investigating both incidents."

Five hours after the disruption was first reported, services are still not fully restored. SMRT announced in a tweet at about 10.45pm that services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton in both directions will not be available for the rest of the night.

"We are working to resume services for Sunday," it added.

SCDF said it is using portable pumps to remove water in the tunnel, in what's expected to be "a prolonged operation".

SMRT first tweeted about a disruption between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations at about 5.35pm. But in an update 30 minutes later, it said that there was no train service between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier stations in both directions. That's 13 stations or half the stretch of NSL.

Free regular bus and bridging services were made available. SMRT also said commuters should consider alternative transport.

"Our engineers are on-site and are working to recover services as quickly as possible," said SMRT. "We are sorry that your journey has been affected this evening."

Crowds were seen at bus stops outside the affected train stations, as commuters waited for bus bridging services or sought other forms of transport.

Commuter Cheryl Law, 28, said she had to ask family members to pick her up from Bishan MRT station, as there was "no chance" for her to get onto buses due to the crowds. "Some of the passengers here are so frustrated," she told Channel NewsAsia.

Heavy rains were reported over many areas of Singapore on Saturday afternoon, prompting national water agency PUB to issue flood warnings for several areas including Paya Lebar Road and Leng Kee Road.

The NSL disruption is the second in a day. Earlier on Saturday, services on the North-East Line towards Punggol were affected briefly by a train fault at Sengkang.
Source: CNA/ad/gs


NSL disruption: Train services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton will not be available until earliest Sunday
Christopher Tan, Charmaine Ng, Jose Hong, Ng Huiwen Straits Times 7 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE - Water in MRT tunnels from Bishan to Braddell stations disrupted train services along 13 stations on the North-South Line for several hours on Saturday (Oct 7).

Train services between Newton and Marina South Pier were restored at 9.22pm, almost four hours after SMRT's first alert on the disrupted services.

However, at 10.45pm, SMRT said services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton will not be resumed on Saturday. SMRT was working to resume services on Sunday, the train operator said in a tweet and on Facebook.

It will carry out network-wide tunnel checks throughout the night, it said.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a call from SMRT at 7.07pm about flooding in the tunnel between Braddell and Bishan MRT stations. In an update close to midnight on Saturday, SCDF said it is using portable pumps to siphon water from the affected area in what is expected to be prolonged operation.

The disruption comes as the National Environment Agency issued warnings of heavy rain with gusty winds over many parts of Singapore on Saturday.

Water in the tunnels went up to more than 30cm, The Straits Times understands.

There have been previous cases of water entering MRT tunnels, however, this is believed to be the first time it has affected train service.

Water got into the tunnels despite flood prevention measures having been improved recently, The Straits Times understands.

Bus bridging services have been activated.

Separately, a fire was spotted in a tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place stations. It has since been put out.

It is not clear if it is linked to the flood, although electrical short circuits caused by water had sparked tunnel fires before.

SMRT said the "small fire" was spotted by a train captain at 5.55pm. SCDF was alerted and it deployed assets to Marina Bay station.

"However, the fire had died out by itself," said SMRT in its Facebook post.

SCDF told ST that it received a call from SMRT around 5.55pm about the fire. The fire burned itself out prior to SCDF's arrival, a spokesman said. There were no reported injuries.

Engineers were on site and investigating both incidents, said SMRT in its update on Facebook at around 7.32pm.

At around 8.30pm, SCDF and PUB officers were seen at Braddell MRT carrying hosereels into the station.

MRT tunnels are equipped with pumps which will kick in when tunnels are flooded. It is not known why they could not cope with the water on Saturday.

SMRT first sent an alert about the disruption in a tweet at 5.36pm. It said there was no train service between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations towards Marina South Pier "due to a track fault".

At 6.05pm, it updated that train services were not available between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier.

Marketing manager P. Pang, 45, told ST that he boarded the train at Yio Chu Kang MRT at 5.37pm.

“The train was stuck at the station for quite a while. When I checked SMRT twitter and realised there was a track fault, I got off at Ang Mo Kio. But people were still boarding the train, as there was no instructions asking them not to,” he said.

Sales executive Imelda Tan, 51, was at City Hall MRT when she was instructed to take the Circle Line to Bishan instead and catch a bus from there to her home in Braddell.

“I was at Esplanade and walked to City Hall. I was about to tap in but then saw there was a large crowd outside. I had no idea what the problem was, so I asked the staff and have found out that I need to go all the way back to Esplanade and take the Circle Line back to Bishan,” she told ST.

Commodity manager Tan Yean Shi, who lives in Yishun, said directions from SMRT staff were helpful.

"There were people inside the station, and outside. It’s not bad, they’re quite helpful. But I think that now I won’t be able to get home even after an hour with this traffic jam,” the 33-year-old said.

Meanwhile, Uber Singapore said it was suspending surge pricing.

"Uber is working with the LTA to assist with the MRT service disruption between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier. We will temporarily suspend dynamic pricing and encourage more drivers to go online to provide commuters another choice for transportation," a spokesman said.

In 2006, heavy rain in the morning, left the Novena station with water-logged floors and a dripping ceiling. The water, which rose to a height of 5cm, seemed to have come from a nearby construction site.

The North-East line too was disrupted on Saturday due to a train fault.

In a tweet at 12.39pm, train operator SBS Transit said service towards Punggol station was delayed due to a train fault at Sengkang station. Train service resumed about 20 minutes later.

No comments:

Post a Comment