Potentially more delays as signalling tests continue on North-South Line: LTA, SMRT

SINGAPORE: The rush-hour delays along the North-South Line on Thursday and Friday were due to two unrelated faults, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and transport operator SMRT in a joint statement on Friday night (Jun 2).

They added that there could be more delays while the line’s new signalling system is being tested.

LTA and SMRT have been running these tests progressively since Mar 28, together with Thales, the supplier of the signalling system. Tests first started with the last hour of passenger service on selected weekdays.

This progressed to the second phase of testing, which started on Apr 16, involving full-day trials on Sundays. There were no major incidents during this stage of testing, said LTA and SMRT.

“This gave us the confidence to move into phase three this week, which involved full-day weekday trials,” the joint statement said.

LTA and SMRT explained that Thursday’s train delays were due to a glitch in the computer server used to manage train schedules, causing all trains along the North-South Line to stop. Operations controllers then needed 30 minutes to manually reassign train schedules, even though the back-up server kicked in quickly.

As for the delays on Friday evening, they were caused by a signalling equipment known as the Movement Authority Unit (MAU), which registered a fault at around 4.48pm. This resulted in slower train movement between Kranji and Admiralty stations.

“Service recovery took some time as engineers needed to troubleshoot and replace components in the faulty MAU,” SMRT and LTA explained.


The full-day tests on weekdays had been announced last week, when authorities warned commuters travelling on the North-South Line to cater for additional travelling time.

Still, some commuters questioned why the tests had to be conducted during peak hours. One commuter said on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page that while he had been prepared for the delays, he did not expect the situation to be as bad.

“Signalling trials are part and parcel of new signaling systems and carried out to help train operators identify and resolve teething problems that may occur,” said LTA and SMRT on Friday.

They added that there could be more delays in the coming days, as they “intensify” the testing of the new signalling system until it stabilises.

“LTA, SMRT and Thales engineers are intensifying system-level checks.  We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused and seek the understanding of commuters.”
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/potentially-more-delays-as-signalling-tests-continue-on-north-8908026

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