SINGAPORE: Commuters travelling along the North-South MRT line were hit by delays during the evening peak period on Thursday (Aug 17), caused by a fault in the network's new signalling system.
It took about two hours before train services went back to normal.
Transport operator SMRT had asked commuters to use other MRT lines or make alternative transport arrangements, even as a team of engineers worked to rectify the fault.
"We are sorry that commuters’ evening journeys have been affected," it added.
At around 5.35pm, a signalling unit along the tracks near Ang Mo Kio saw a fault, which affected signalling communication to trains, SMRT said.
Trains came to a halt momentarily but service later continued, the operator added, with trains travelling at slow speeds between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan stations for "safety reasons".
Passenger Kannan told Channel NewsAsia that they had been asked to get off a packed northbound train at Newton station at around 6.15pm.
SMRT had announced that there had been a signalling fault at Ang Mo Kio, he said, adding that he managed to squeeze onto the next train but that it didn't move for more than five minutes.
The train operator first tweeted about the delay at 6.18pm.
However, commuters reported delays of up to double SMRT's initial estimated 20 minutes. Randy Peck told Channel NewsAsia that he had been waiting for a train at Raffles Place station for at least 30 minutes, while Tan Yi-Fan said in a Facebook comment that he had already been waiting for 40 minutes.
In a 7pm update, SMRT said commuters should expect a delay of 40 minutes, but added that train service was still available.
The transport operator added that free regular buses and bridging bus services were available between Marina South Pier and Ang Mo Kio in both directions.
By 8pm, the estimated delay had been cut to 15 minutes, SMRT said in a Twitter update. Train services eventually resumed at about 8.20pm, according to the transport operator.
The North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) have been affected by multiple disruptions since SMRT's engineers started full-day trials on weekdays to test its new signalling system. The transport operator had warned commuters of potential delays, as "intensive performance checks" continue.
Last month, SMRT Trains' CEO Lee Ling Wee said in a statement that it had "no choice" but to conduct checks for the new signalling system on the NSEWL throughout the day because it was being added to an already operational MRT line.