SMRT investigating possible lightning strike on train

SMRT investigating possible lightning strike on train

SINGAPORE: SMRT is investigating a possible lightning strike after a train stalled as it was approaching Bedok MRT station on Monday afternoon (Nov 20). 

The transport operator said passengers were detrained at Bedok, and the west-bound train has been withdrawn from service for investigations.

"After the incident, the train captain, who said he was unwell, received medical attention," SMRT added. 

The man was taken conscious to Changi General Hospital (CGH), said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which was alerted to the incident at 4.20pm. 

Channel NewsAsia understands that the man complained of numbness and chest pain. 

In an update at 9pm, SMRT said the train captain will be warded for the night at CGH for further observation. 

"SMRT is in touch with the train captain and his family, as well as the doctors."

The Meteorological Service Singapore said lightning activity was detected in Singapore between 2pm and 6pm on Monday, mainly over the northern, central and eastern parts of the island.

"Around 3.37pm this afternoon, a cloud-to-ground lightning stroke was detected close to the Tanah Merah MRT station," it said.

cloud to ground lightning at Tanah Merah
(Image: Meteorological Service Singapore)

SMRT said that in the event of lightning, trains and commuters are protected by what is known as a faraday cage, which is an enclosure formed by conductive material that blocks electric fields and currents like lightning strikes.  

"The cage conducts current around the outside of the enclosed space with none passing through the interior," said SMRT.

"If lightning strikes, the electric current will travel through the outside shell of the train, not through the cabin, and pass through the wheels to the track. The train is grounded to the track."  

This shielding process is used in cars and planes as well.

In May last year, a suspected lightning strike caused a track fault along the North-South Line. SMRT said that the strike, which was suspected to have hit an area close to the train, resulted in a delay of about 50 minutes between Yishun and Yio Chu Kang stations. No injuries were reported. 

Lightning-related incidents are "a relatively rare occurence", SMRT had said in a blog post after the May incident, with an average of one or two such incidents in recent years. 

Source: CNA/ad