Photo of SMRT staff from TodayOnline

Blaming its maintenance staff for a prolonged 7-hour train breakdown yesterday (Sep 19), SMRT and Senior Minister of Transport Janil Puthucheary said the repair team had to make six trips to repair a particular track fault.

The PAP millionaire Minister who has never served National Service told state media reporters that he made the decision to slow the train speed over 7 hours and claimed it is “better” than having an one-off repair:

“The decision we took allows trains to pass but it’s slowing down the commute. On balance, that was better for the commuters, but it does mean that it’s going to take a little bit of time to ascertain exactly what the problem is with the switch mechanism.”

A major track fault hit Clementi station at 7am yesterday paralysing the East-West Line stopping all train services. About 40 minutes later at 7.40am, SMRT announced a fake announcement claiming that services have “resumed” but commuters found out that the trains were crawling at a speed of about 20km/hr. Normal train services were returned only at 1.50pm in the afternoon, nearly seven hours after the first reported fault.

The major train breakdown came after the Land Transport Authority announced last month that Singapore’s rail reliability is reaching “gold standards”.

Affected commuters reported on Twitter saying there was no free bus services available, which SMRT denied and lied in a state media report.

According to SMRT, the Temasek Holdings-owned duopoly train operator refused to stop train services and allow the maintenance team to clear the fault. The maintenance crews had to make round trips back and forth, totalling 6 times, to keep the train services running, albeit at a lower speed. Senior Minister Janil Puthucheary collaborated with SMRT in lying that the train fault was fixed at “after peak period”, which was some 4 hours pass the official 9.30am peak hour.

SMRT’s newly-appointed CEO Neo Kian Hong was notably missing and avoided fronting the handling of the train breakdowns.