Flooded MRT tunnel, trackside fire caused train disruption on NSL: SMRT

Flooded MRT tunnel, trackside fire caused train disruption on NSL: SMRT

NSL disruption city hall oct 7
Commuters at City Hall MRT station which is affected by the train disruption.

SINGAPORE: Train service along a large stretch of the North-South Line (NSL) - from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier - was disrupted on Saturday (Oct 7), after two separate incidents in the tunnel.

First, water got into a section of the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations during the heavy downpour in the afternoon. As a result, train services were stopped between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations at about 5.30pm as a precaution, said SMRT.

Separately, at about 5.55pm, a small fire was spotted trackside in the tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place MRT stations, said SMRT.

It added that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was activated "within minutes" and was deployed to Marina Bay, but the fire "died out by itself".

"For safety reasons, North-South Line train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier are not available," said SMRT in a Facebook post at about 7.30pm. "Our engineers are on site and investigating both incidents." 

Five hours after the disruption was first reported, services are still not fully restored. SMRT announced in a tweet at about 10.45pm that services between Ang Mo Kio and Newton in both directions will not be available for the rest of the night. 

"We are working to resume services for Sunday," it added.

SCDF said it is using portable pumps to remove water in the tunnel, in what's expected to be "a prolonged operation".

SMRT first tweeted about a disruption between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations at about 5.35pm. But in an update 30 minutes later, it said that there was no train service between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier stations in both directions. That's 13 stations or half the stretch of NSL.

Free regular bus and bridging services were made available. SMRT also said commuters should consider alternative transport. 

"Our engineers are on-site and are working to recover services as quickly as possible," said SMRT. "We are sorry that your journey has been affected this evening."

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The crowd at Toa Payoh MRT station which is affected by the train disruption along the North-South Line.

SMRT disruption
The crowd at Jurong East due to the train disruption. 

Crowds were seen at bus stops outside the affected train stations, as commuters waited for bus bridging services or sought other forms of transport.

SMRT delay bridging buses
Congestion outside Bishan MRT station on the day of the MRT flooding incident as commuters find other ways to get to their destination. (Photo: Calvin Hui) 

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Crowds at the bus stop outside Dhoby Ghaut station. (Photo: Brandon Tanoto) 

Commuter Cheryl Law, 28, said she had to ask family members to pick her up from Bishan MRT station, as there was "no chance" for her to get onto buses due to the crowds. "Some of the passengers here are so frustrated," she told Channel NewsAsia. 

Heavy rains were reported over many areas of Singapore on Saturday afternoon, prompting national water agency PUB to issue flood warnings for several areas including Paya Lebar Road and Leng Kee Road.

The NSL disruption is the second in a day. Earlier on Saturday, services on the North-East Line towards Punggol were affected briefly by a train fault at Sengkang.

Source: CNA/ad/gs