SINGAPORE: A track fault near Clementi MRT station that caused delays along the East-West Line (EWL) on Wednesday (Sep 19) was due to a problem with the switch mechanism, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary.
The fault was rectified and train services resumed more than six hours after SMRT first tweeted about the problem at 7.10am.
Throughout the morning rush hour, commuters faced delays and SMRT said to add about 30 to 40 minutes travel time between Boon Lay and Queenstown MRT stations. Free bus services were provided between the two stations.
SMRT tweeted that the fault was rectified at 1.35pm and trains were progressively returning to normal speed.
At 1.50pm, it said that services had resumed and free bus services had ended.
Photos showed large crowds at the affected MRT stations during the morning rush hour, and commuters were advised to use the North-South Line via Woodlands and Ang Mo Kio to get to the city instead.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of an engagement exercise for the next land transport master plan, Dr Puthucheary, said: “We’ve identified where the problem is, it's with the switch mechanism.
“We could have taken a decision to stop services and allow (authorities) to concentrate just on repairing the problem, but that would have been a very big impact on the commuter experience. So the decision we took now allows trains to pass (but it's) slowing down the commute."
Dr Puthucheary added that slowing down the movement of trains - rather than stopping them - was “on balance better” for commuters.
But he emphasised that both SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) needed “a little time to ascertain exactly what the problem is with the switch mechanism”.
"SMRT and LTA engineers are on the ground and I expect this will be resolved in a matter of hours," he added.