Singapore

Faulty doors cause delays on Downtown Line

Downtown Line MRT services were delayed from the start of service up until lunchtime yesterday due to a platform door fault - the third known door glitch on the newest MRT line in the past seven months.

Operator SBS Transit sent an alert at 7.45am - two hours after the fault was discovered - telling commuters that south-bound journeys on the entire line from Bukit Panjang to Chinatown would take 10 minutes longer because of a signalling fault traced to faulty doors at Botanic Gardens station.

The train's signalling system - which determines how close trains can travel safely between each other - is tied to the station platform screen doors.

The system communicates with the doors to ensure they do not open until a train has come to a complete stop, and trains do not move off until the platform doors are fully closed.

Yesterday, the doors would not open automatically and had to be operated manually each time a train pulled in.

This caused congestion and delays on the whole line, which commuters complained were closer to 30 minutes.

Around 9.40am, SBS Transit announced that south-bound trains would bypass Botanic Gardens, an interchange station with the Circle Line, to allow workers to trace and fix the problem.

Checks by The Straits Times found that when commuters arrived at the station platform, they were told by SBS Transit staff to take the north-bound train to Tan Kah Kee station and switch to a south-bound train to continue their journeys.

Meanwhile, a team of technicians was seen at the station screen doors trying to locate the flaw, believed to be an electrical short in the circuitry.

It was only around 1pm - some seven hours after the glitch was discovered - that the team managed to do so.

The platform doors on the Downtown Line were supplied by Faiveley Transport from France.

It would not comment when contacted yesterday.

SBS Transit said yesterday's malfunction was discovered at 5.45am.

"The fault was rectified at 12.54pm," the operator said, but it added that two doors "will remain closed for more in-depth repairs to be conducted during engineering hours".

Bukit Panjang resident Ashley Wu, 37, said she took a cab to work around 9.30am instead of the Downtown Line because she did not want to risk being late.

"But the JustGrab prices were crazy," she said, adding that her ride to one-north cost $28, instead of the usual $16.

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