Singapore

North-South Line slowdown due to melted rubber on tracks

Trains ran slower between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan for safety

Trains had to be slowed down on the North-South Line yesterday because of a track fault that could only be repaired after normal travel hours.

A rubber insulator melted along the city-bound tracks of the MRT line early yesterday morning, creating a gap between running rails, which the trains run on.

To ensure safety, transport operator SMRT said it had to run trains at lower speeds over a 150m stretch between Bishan and Ang Mo Kio stations.

This resulted in a bunching up on the heavily-used line during the morning peak hours.

During the evening peak period, there was a delay of about a minute for city-bound trains setting off from the Ang Mo Kio station. Trains slowed down when approaching Bishan station from Ang Mo Kio.

These delays however did not appear to significantly affect travelling time, with trains continuing to arrive at intervals of about three to four minutes.

The Straits Times understands the melting yesterday was caused by an electrical arcing.

Our train operators must work hard to rectify any faults expediently and ensure that repeat incidents are mitigated. Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport and MP for Potong Pasir

Electrical arcing, caused by a build-up of debris, is also understood to have been the cause of a trackside fire between the Marina Bay and Raffles Place stations on Oct 7.

Yesterday's incident came a day after a delay on the East-West Line, which SMRT said was caused by a software glitch.

Free bus services were provided between Yishun and Toa Payoh during the delays yesterday morning.

On its Facebook page, SMRT apologised for the inconvenience, adding that commuters could consider taking the North-South Line towards Jurong East to transfer to the East-West Line.

The rail operator added its engineers were "monitoring the situation closely".

Last week, SMRT apologised for an unprecedented flooding of the North-South Line which disrupted service for 20 hours on Oct 7 and 8.

'UNFORTUNATE'

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport and MP for Potong Pasir, said: "It is unfortunate that there have been train delays on the East-West Line and North-South Line in the past two days. It is understandable that commuters are frustrated.

"Our train operators must work hard to rectify any faults expediently and ensure that repeat incidents are mitigated. If there is a systemic issue to be addressed, it should be addressed."

The two faults yesterday and on Tuesday took place in the midst of O Level examinations.

When contacted, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board said no students taking their exams had been affected by yesterday's delays .

smrtTransport