Downtown Line, North-South Line hit by delays on Friday morning

Downtown Line, North-South Line hit by delays on Friday morning

train disruption aug 18
Commuters queuing for free bus services outside Bishan MRT station. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

SINGAPORE: Both the Downtown (DTL) and North-South Lines (NSL) were hit by delays early on Friday morning (Aug 18), hours after train disruptions during the evening peak period on Thursday.

Service along the entire DTL was unavailable, said transport operator SBS Transit at 6.25am. It resumed at about 7am, but SBS Transit warned of longer waiting times as trains were progressively put back in service.

Trains started running normally along the DTL at about 9.05am, the transport operator said. 

Part of the NSL was also affected by a signalling fault near Ang Mo Kio MRT station, said operator SMRT at about 6.30am. It urged commuters to use other MRT lines or seek alternative transport if headed towards the city.

The signalling fault took about three hours to resolve along the NSL. Train services fully resumed at about 9.20am. Before that, SMRT said commuters should expect delays of up to 45 minutes. This was revised to 30 minutes at about 8.20am, and 15 minutes at about 9.05am. 

nsl delay - woodlands station
The North South Line was hit by another signalling fault hours after a disruption on Thursday evening. (Photo: Kannan) 

Free regular bus and bus bridging services from Marina South Pier to Sembawang are available in both bounds, it said. 

Snaking queues for taxis and free buses were spotted outside Bishan MRT station at about 8am. 

ndl delay aug 18 bishan mrt
Snaking queues for taxis and free bus services following the massive delay along the NSL. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

Mr Joseph Ravi, 52, was on his way to work when the delay hit. 

"I was stuck in the train for an hour just from Ang Mo Kio to Bishan. This has happened to me many times, but it's the worst today," he said. 

The supervisor added that he may turn to other transport options, such as ride-sharing app Grab. "But ordinary people like me can't afford it on a regular basis," he said. 

Another commuter, Ms Komathy, said she experienced a delay of about an hour. 

"At Yio Chu Kang the train door opened but the platform door didn't. Then when it did, and people started going out and coming in, the platform doors closed suddenly without warning and some people were hit on their shoulders," she said.

"This is not the first time it's happened to me - but trains are still the easiest way to get to work. If I take Grab the peak period cost will be too expensive."

Commuters also took to social media to express their frustration. 

Some students who were due to take their N-Level preliminary examinations were not able to make it to school in time, as with a few candidates sitting for the PSLE oral exam.


In an update on Friday afternoon, SMRT told commuters to "plan ahead" if they intended to travel on the North-South Line later in the day.

In a tweet at 5.01pm, SMRT warned that travellers may experience longer train travel time.

In a second tweet, it said: "Our engineers are working hard to continue their checks and investigations. Our staff is ready to assist." 

The Land Transport Authority said in a news release on Friday evening that the delays on the two MRT lines were caused by separate and unrelated faults. 

Preliminary findings showed that the North-South Line disruption may have been caused by a defective train transmitting erroneous signals to a system that's used to transmit signals between trains and stations. 

The Downtown Line, on the other hand, was affected by a fault in a system which prevented trains from being automatically launched from the depot on Friday morning, said LTA.

Source: CNA/dl/mz