SINGAPORE: A fault on an LRT train's antenna caused the train to skip stations along the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) line on Jul 28, SMRT said in a statement on Monday (Aug 1).
The public transport operator was responding to feedback from a commuter, Ms Jacqueline Bong, following its investigations.
Ms Bong wrote on SMRT's Facebook page on Jul 28 that she boarded an LRT train at Segar Station with the intention of alighting at Jelapang station. However, the train did not stop at Jelapang station. A commuter tried contacting staff via the emergency phone, but there was no response, according to Ms Bong.
She added that the train was moving "really fast and passed three stations without stopping", and that she tried pressing the emergency button aboard the train to no avail. The train came to a stop after a passenger made a call and eventually stopped near Phoenix station, Ms Bong said in her post.
In a statement, SMRT said that the BPLRT train skipped Jelapang station at about 11.50am on that day "due to a fault on the train's antenna that ensures trains stop accurately at each station".
"The train was hence not able to pick up the signal to stop at the next three stations," said SMRT's Vice President of Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan in the statement.
EMERGENCY HALT REQUEST BUTTON CAN ONLY BE USED DURING COMPLETE STOP
Mr Nathan said that trains along the BPLRT line normally travel at 30 to 55 kilometres per hour depending on the gradient and turn at each section of the network, and in this instance, the train's speed did not exceed 55km per hour.
"The system is also equipped with an independent Automatic Train Protection System that ensures safe separation between trains," he added.
"Ms Bong referred to an emergency button being pressed several times. She was probably referring to the Emergency Halt Request button. We would like to clarify that this button can only be activated when a train comes to a complete stop at a station, to prevent it from moving off again," Mr Nathan said.
SMRT said its BPLRT Operations Control Centre (OCC) received alerts from commuters through the station intercom, the train's emergency phone and through the OCC hotline.
"An automatic alert is immediately triggered to the OCC when either the station intercom or the train’s emergency phone is used. When our OCC responded to the call from the station intercom, the call from the train’s emergency phone was put on queue. Concurrently, our OCC also received a call from a commuter’s mobile phone. When we subsequently responded to the call from the train’s emergency phone, we did not receive a response," Mr Nathan said.
The OCC then imposed a speed code restriction, which allowed the train to stop before Phoenix station, after which staff drove the train to Phoenix station. The train was withdrawn to the depot for further checks, SMRT said.
"All equipment in the train, including the emergency phone, are checked before the train is put into service each day. Commuters can also call our staff directly at the OCC for assistance using the contact number located in the train," Mr Nathan said.
In the statement, the public transport operator also apologised to Ms Bong and other commuters who were on board the affected train in the statement.
The BPLRT network is the oldest Light Rail Transit network in Singapore. In a blog post in March, SMRT said the network is nearly at the end of its design life. The network is fully automated and driverless trains ply the line, which has 14 stations.