Singapore Northeast Train Service Halted on Power Fault

  • Tuesday incident adds to recent history of train breakdowns
  • Transport disruptions were an issue in September election

Trains on one of Singapore’s main subway lines were halted during the morning rush hour on Tuesday because of a power fault, adding to service disruptions in recent years that were a topic of contention for voters in elections last month.

Delayed service between the Farrer Park and Hougang stations on the North East Line could lead to additional travel times of about 15 minutes, SBS Transit Ltd., the operator, said in Twitter posts starting at about 7:50 a.m. local time. The company offered free bus rides at designated stops, according to updates.

“We are sorry,” SBS said in its Twitter posts. Full service resumed at about 8:20 a.m. and the company is investigating the cause of the fault, Tammy Tan, a spokeswoman at SBS, said in an e-mail.

Singaporeans, used to smooth commutes on the island’s trains for more than two decades, turned vocal critics on social media after operational failures in recent years. Lui Tuck Yew, who as transport minister oversaw an expansion of the public-transportation network and dealt with increased train breakdowns, didn’t seek re-election in September, two months after thousands of people were stranded across more than 50 stations on two main lines.

The Ministry of Transport said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg News that SBS would comment on the matter. ComfortDelGro Corp., which owns 75 percent of SBS, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions.

Five stations on the line experienced power blackouts, SBS said in the e-mail.

SBS also operates the Downtown line. SMRT Corp. is the main train operator, running the North-South, East-West and Circle lines.

On Monday, hours before the latest disruption, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a Facebook post that there was a need for SBS and SMRT to test contingency plans for breakdowns.

“We are committed to minimizing rail disruptions,” he said.

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