Singapore

Signalling fault delays North-South Line for two hours

Commuters travelling on the North-South Line yesterday were stranded after a signalling fault on the 30-year-old line caused delays for two hours during the evening peak period.

At 6.18pm, SMRT first cautioned commuters to expect an additional 20 minutes' travelling time between Yishun and Marina South Pier stations due to a fault with the new signalling system near Ang Mo Kio station.

Nearly half-an-hour later, it advised commuters to add 25 minutes to their journeys.

This was further increased to 40 minutes at 7pm.

Mr Lim Chia Wei, 21, was on his way from Novena to Bishan when the train stopped at Braddell station for 15 minutes.

The student added that it was "extremely crowded" at the station when he got there.

Though the delays were said to be on the 16-station stretch between Yishun and Marina South Pier, commuters complained on social media of delays affecting the entire line.

Photos posted online showed packed train platforms at the Jurong East interchange station, which is at the other end of the line from Marina South Pier.

Free bus services were provided between Marina South Pier and Ang Mo Kio in both directions during the delays.

On its Facebook page, SMRT said a signalling unit along the tracks near Ang Mo Kio station experienced a fault around 5.35pm yesterday.

Train services were back to normal at 8.15pm.

SMRT apologised for the "difficult evening for (its) affected commuters".

Full-day tests of the new signalling system on the North-South Line, which will allow trains to run closer together, began in May. Since then, there have been numerous delays on the line.

The Land Transport Authority and SMRT have said full-day tests of the signalling system on weekdays "cannot be avoided".

At a forum last month, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said the new signalling system should stabilise by year's end, "if there are no new surprises", with tests of the new system on the East-West Line to follow. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CLARA CHONG

smrtYishunAng Mo Kio