Worrying Train Disruptions Not to be Ignored

Wednesday's (Nov 25) rail disruption along the North-South Line which affected more than 70,000 commuters was the second train disruption this week, and the 12th such incident lasting more than 30 minutes this year.

The incident is worrying on two counts, said The Straits Times’ Senior Transport Correspondent Christopher Tan.

First, it involved yet another electrical fire, supposedly ignited by a flashover at a tie-breaker. This can happen when a system is stressed with a higher-than-usual electrical load. But Tan noted that the incident happened before service started for the day, so load could not have been the likely cause.

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), disruptions caused by power and trackside faults more than doubled between 2011 and last year. Tan wrote that if this electrical problem is not tackled, a tunnel fire, no matter how small, might one day have serious consequences.

The second worrying thing about Wednesday's breakdown was when LTA Chief Executive Chew Men Leong described the incident as a "localised" one. Tan felt these breakdowns are “rarely ‘localised’, unless it is a glitch on the Sentosa monorail”.

Although SMRT managed its recovery process well on Wednesday and the number of breakdowns can never be zero, Tan commented that the increase in electrical faults and fires was a worrying pattern that cannot be ignored.

How do you feel about a possible pattern in train disruptions? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: “Train disruptions in Singapore: Worrying pattern cannot be ignored” (The Straits Times, 26 Nov 2015)

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