Update: Services resumed at 1.52pm.
Update: There will be no train service between Ang Mo Kio and Newton “until further notice”, says SMRT. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan declined to speak to the media.
Train services on the North-South Line have been terminated for over 14 hours since 5.22pm yesterday (Oct 7) after a rain flooded the train tunnel between Braddell and Bishan. As SMRT lack the lack the engineering capabilities on how to drain the water out of the tunnel, they called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for help at 7.07pm yesterday.
Chaos ensued in all stations on the Saturday evening peak hours, with crowds of commuters blindly waiting at the platforms as SMRT delayed their updates. An estimated 2 million commuters are affected by the day-long disruption on the North-South Line, making the breakdown the most disruptive ever in Singapore.
It is unknown how serious the tunnel was flooded and how did a third world problem surfaced on the dictatorship’s self-proclaimed first world public transport system. There is also no explanation why SMRT lack a solution and had to call for a third party for help.
The SCDF said they will be using a portable pump to siphon water out from the flooded tunnel, but they noted that it will be a “long operation”. As of publication time on Sunday morning today (Oct 8), the North-South Line is still down.
In two separate incidents on the same day, a fire was spotted in the tunnel between Raffles Place and Marina Bay at 5.55pm yesterday and the train fault happened on the North-East Line at 12.39pm delaying services for about 20 minutes. The fire died out by itself but SMRT is also unable to give an explanation for the incident. The North-East Line incident was the fourth delay consecutively in 4 days.
Singapore’s two Transport Ministers – Khaw Boon Wan and Ng Chee Meng – and two CEOs of SMRT – Lee Ling Wee and Desmond Kuek – did not comment on the disastrous disruption.