SMRT to improve measures preventing track intrusion after fatal LRT accident

SMRT to improve measures preventing track intrusion after fatal LRT accident

SINGAPORE: SMRT on Thursday (Aug 17) said it will be putting up additional signs at Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) system station platforms and work to improve commuters' awareness of using the emergency train stop button, following the fatal accident that resulted in the death of a man earlier in March. 

A coroner's inquiry on Wednesday found that the 43-year-old Ang Boon Tong had been drunk when he fell onto the tracks, and was hit by two trains.

SMRT's senior vice president for the Circle Line and Bukit Panjang LRT Chia Chun Wah had testified that LRT trains are not equipped with obstacle detection systems, and there is currently no system in place to alert the station or Operations Control Centre if a passenger falls onto the tracks. 

The transport operator on Thursday said safety measures to prevent track intrusions at BPLRT include fixed fixed barriers at station platforms, safety reminders displayed on posters and regular broadcast messages at the platforms to remind passengers to stand behind the yellow line while waiting for the train. There is also a line of tactile warning studs installed before the yellow safety line along the entire length of the platform to warn visually handicapped passengers that they are approaching the platform edge, SMRT said.

Commuters can also activate the emergency train stop buttons at the platforms when there is an emergency, said SMRT's vice president for corporate communications Patrick Nathan.

Mr Chia had also testified that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is currently trialling a video analytics system which may be able to detect foreign objects on train tracks - a move Mr Bay had called a "step in the right direction".

LTA said in a separate statement on Thursday that it had been working together with the transport operator since March to trial the system, which would issue alerts to the train operator of a possible situation for investigations or remedial actions.

The trial, currently being conducted at Fajar LRT station, is still ongoing and the LTA will evaluate its effectiveness "before deciding on the next step", it added.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said on Wednesday that it would be useful to "raise public awareness of the emergency stop plunger, the safety zone on the tracks and staircase access back to the platform to avert disaster whenever a person falls onto the tracks".

These suggestions were only partially taken up, based on the transport operator's latest statement.

Mr Nathan added that SMRT is reaching out to the family to offer assistance. Mr Ang is survived by his wife and three children.  

Source: CNA/kk