Friday, August 17, 2012

North-East Line suffers disruptions, SBS transit says it will repair the line after service ends

3 days ago on August 14th, there was an MRT breakdown on East-West Line which was probably not major enough to find its way to media. And today, North East Line (NEL), operated by SBS Transit, suffered disruptions and I had a very long journey on the line today. Although they announce the breakdown will just add 10-15 minutes to the travel time, the actual delay was as long as 40+ minutes at some times as Sbs Transit mentioned in its press release:

"Train service on the North East Line (NEL) has been delayed by an average of 20 minutes in both directions since the start of service this morning. At certain times, the delay was longer - at up to 50 minutes."

According to SBS the initial delay was coused by a fault in the traction power system where a stainless steel U-shaped bolt holding the cantilever arm of the overhead power cables broke in the northbound tunnel between HarbourFront and Outram Park Stations:

"As a result of the breakage in the bolt, power wires were misaligned. To avoid the risk of damage to the trains and overhead power wires, a section of the tunnel was closed. This meant that trains could only turnaround at one point in the tunnel - instead of two normally. 
To restore the Line to normalcy, the traction power system has to be shut down, thereby enabling engineers to enter the tunnel to replace the broken bolt. This however means that there will be no train services on NEL between HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut for a period of time - resulting in massive inconvenience to commuters. Management has therefore decided to undertake repair works, which are expected to last about two hours, after revenue service ends today. At about 2.45pm, a new fault in the signalling system was discovered. That resulted in a further delay of about 30 minutes in train services. Our engineers are currently working to repair this fault to ensure that service delays are minimised. 
We deeply apologise to all affected passengers for the inconvenience caused."
Source : Delay in the North East Line Train Service Due to Two Faults - A Power Fault and a Subsequent Signalling Fault
UPDATE : According to SBS Transit, normal train services on NEL resumes by Saturday morning:

The North East Line will commence operation this morning according to its regular schedule.
Engineers had worked through the night to replace the broken bolt and conducted realignment works and inspection of the overhead power cables. In all, 30 technical staff and 4 LTA engineering staff were involved in the works which took about 2 hours. 
During the delay on Friday evening, a total of 210 Goodwill Ambassadors were activated to assist in crowd control and assist passengers with enquiries. 85 shuttle buses were also deployed from to provide commuters with an alternative to the train service that was operating at 7.5 to 8 minutes frequency. 
We apologise once again to passengers who were affected by the delay.
Source : Delay in North East Line Train Service Update 2
Singapore's 20 km North-East MRT Line 
The North East Line (NEL), also known as Purple Line in Singapore, is one of the world's first fully automatic underground heavy rail systems. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) line is operated by SBS Transit. The NEL has previously suffered breakdown twice: In 2006, a NEL train headed for HarbourFront MRT Station has stalled in the tunnel due to a loss of traction power and On 15 March 2012, up to 90,000 commuters were affected during a peak hour train breakdown between Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront MRT stations, caused by faulty overhead power cables at the tunnel of the Outram Park station that had snapped.[1]

[1] - North East MRT Line Disruptions

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