Full train service on NSL resumes after longest breakdown in SMRT history

It’s been called the longest breakdown of SMRT train services since the disruptions of July 2015 when services on the North-South Line (NSL) and East-West Line were affected.

With thousands of commuters affected after services were disrupted for more than 20 hours between Ang Mo Kio and Newton stations over the weekend, it was also worse than the NSL disruptions over two days in December 2011.

The good news is, SMRT said in a tweet on Sunday afternoon that services had been resumed.

Preliminary investigations showed that rainwater from a heavy downpour had seeped into the train tunnels from Bishan to Braddell stations, causing the incident.

MRT tunnels are equipped with pumps which are supposed to kick in when water enters but this system failed on Saturday, said the Land Transport Authority on Oct 8.

A small unrelated fire was also reported in the tunnel between Raffles Place and Marina Bay on Saturday at 7.32pm, some two hours after the disruption began.

So what now?

Transport experts have called for more checks and a back-up system put in place to prevent a repeat of the incident, reported The Straits Times.

In the report, National University of Singapore professor Lee Der Horng, who specialises in transportation systems, said the pump malfunction would have been due to insufficient maintenance or tests.

He told ST: “SMRT should identify critical systems and should have redundancy in place, so if the first-line equipment fails for whatever reason, the back-up system can just kick-in.”

The incident caused a flurry of negative comments on social media, but many also expressed gratitude for the work through the night by various agencies to clear the water and support recovery efforts.

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