Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable

Singapore’s transport system grinding to a halt

Under mounting pressure over transport inefficiencies and lack of transparency, former army general Chew Men Leong resigned from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on August 6. His 22-month-long tenure as CEO was the shortest in the history of Singapore’s civil service.

“[In the coming months] I will be making a change of career over to the private sector,” commented Chew Men Leong on his decision, but it is believed that his departure from LTA had been sped up by frequent MRT failures and public dissatisfaction with increasing fares.

The failing system - Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has undergone a rapid urbanisation. The island city-state’s total area measures only 274 square miles and it is currently inhabited by 5,7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated territories in the world.

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Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable - LTA

There were 14 major breakdowns on the MRT network last year - an increase of 40% from the previous year, the Land Transport Authority announced on its website yesterday.

Meanwhile, the number of such breakdowns, each lasting more than 30 minutes, on the LRT system nearly quadrupled to 15.

For the MRT, only the newest line - the Downtown Line - posted a drop in the number of major disruptions. All others saw an increase, with the oldest --- North-South and East-West lines --- accounting for half the total of 14.

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Delays expected as signalling issues plague Circle Line for 4th straight day

Commuters were told to expect delays as signalling problems continued to plague the Circle Line for the 4th day in a row, according to a news release issued by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT early on Thursday (Sep 1).

Commuters should factor in extra travel time to get to their appointments on time, the release said.

"We have narrowed the problem to signal interference, causing intermittent loss of signal between trains & stations," LTA & SMRT said, adding that they are working with a team of experts from train manufacturer Alstom to resolve the issue.

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Circle Line Slump Enters 5th Day: Experts Warn of Possible Total Shutdown

In what appears to be a landmark disruption, the Circle Line’s slump in train service has continued into its fifth day.

SMRT says the problem lies in a fault with the signaling system and its technicians are working to fix it.

Since Monday morning, trains on the 5-year-old line have had to apply emergency braking several times a day as they intermittently lose signalling communication with the tracks.

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SMRT switch off mobile network in attempt to fix 5-day train breakdown

Still clueless about the problem of intermittent signalling issues, SMRT switched off the mobile network in four stations for two hours in an attempt to fix the 5-day old train breakdown issue. SMRT suspect that third-party signal may be the cause of the signalling issue and hence decided to turn off the mobile network at Kent Ridge, Haw Par Villa, Pasir Panjang and Labrador Park between 7pm to 9pm yesterday (Sep 3).

The Circle Line saw trains travelling as slow as 18km/h for 5 days straight as SMRT lack the expertise to fix the issue. Travelling time for a usual 15 minutes ride extend to over 40 minutes, with stations severely overcrowded.

No alternative transport is provided and fare charges remain as usual. Over the period, Singaporean commuters lodged barrage of complains over the lack of responsibility and accountability by SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in handling the train breakdown. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan disappeared into hiding and passed the ball over to his LTA officials and SMRT personnel to handle the outrage.

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4 days in a row as Mystery deepens over Circle Line

18km/h – this is how slow the Circle Line trains are going right now on manual mode. Commuters on Singapore’s Circle Line are yet frustrated again by SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s incompetency to fix the train speed.

Despite blaming the problem solely on the signalling system, SMRT and LTA said they were still unable to pinpoint the problem and are now seeking assistance from its France-based manufacturer, Alstom.

According to state media, the trains started seeing intermittent losses of connection between the train transceivers 4 days ago when SMRT upgraded the signalling system software. SMRT has since rolled back the new upgrade and installed the old software, but the problem persists. State media calls the problem “a mystery” while LTA and SMRT remain clueless and unable to deliver a response.

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Circle Line may be plagued by disruptions 4 days in a row

SMRT said that the problem is caused by “signal interference, causing intermittent loss of signal between trains and stations.”

It further added: “We are working round the clock to restore service levels. However, as the CCL runs underground, trackside checks and physical interventions can only take place after operating hours although backend system checks are being conducted throughout daylight hours.”

SMRT’s Vice-President of Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan said yesterday (31 Aug) that initial investigations showed “possible signal interference in tunnels, causing loss of signal between the trains and stations” – which its engineers had yet to confirm – and that SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are working with Alstom to rectify the fault “as quickly as possible.”

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Services along North-South Line disrupted when lightning strike cripples SMRT train

Mother nature was presumably deeply upset with the state of public transport this afternoon, striking an SMRT train with lightning that managed to fry its brains.

The Yio Chu Kang-bound train that felt her wrath was crippled after leaving Yishun MRT station during the freak thunderstorm, disrupting services on the North-South Line. Yishun, Khatib and Yio Chu Kang stations were affected, and SMRT deployed free bus services between them.

The thunderstruck train had to be pushed out by another train — and fortunately, none were hurt in the incident. Train services resumed around 4.40pm, according to SMRT. 

Lightning strike stalls MRT operations
Lightning strike stalls LRT operations anew

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Big Blackout, Stalled Trains and Power Cut at Over 30 Stations, but SMRT is Improving

Over 30 MRT stations had to rely on emergency lighting after power was cut.

Train services were disrupted on 3 MRT lines and 1 LRT line. Not to mention blackouts in certain train carriages.

But at least, the gantries were working fine.

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Power fault disrupted 20-plus MRT stations, 3 lines & Bukit Panjang LRT: SMRT

Some MRT stations experienced blackouts, while the power was intermittent resulting in the lights and air-conditioning turning on and off.

Free regular bus services were made available between Joo Koon and City Hall stations, and between Kranji and Jurong East stations.

This power fault comes four days after two train breakdowns on April 21, which was two days after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the North-South Line had achieved 100 days without any major incident and was on track to better reliability.

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Breaking down but more reliable

That’s the headline that Straitstimes had. It doesn’t seem like a logical statement as it’s a contradicting statement. How can a rise in major breakdowns equate to things becoming more reliable?

It’s very much like scoring 1/20 on your spelling test in primary school but selling it as a great improvement from 0/20. Whilst it is an improvement, we wouldn’t be telling anyone about it. So LTA and Straitstimes let’s just run through this article briefly.

An increase in breakdown from the previous year, that’s not positive and it’s the opening sentence.

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On track to better reliability

Yesterday, the North-South Line (NSL) achieved 100 days without any major incident! It joined Downtown Line, which has passed the 178days’ mark and is working towards its 200-day milestone next month!

For us in the rail industry, clearing 100 disruption-free days is no mean feat: it requires everyone to do everything right. Any misstep can cause a disruption.

We have five MRT lines, with two having crossed the 100 days’ mark. The entry of NSL is especially inspiring as it is our oldest line. Its success gives us confidence that with hard work and strong determination, we will improve our rail reliability. But today’s success does not mean continued success. Any lapse, and we are back to square one, much like a game of snakes and ladders, and the clock is reset.

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North-South Line passes 100-day milestone without disruption: Khaw Boon Wan

It has been 100 days since the North-South Line (NSL) last experienced a major incident, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced on his blog on Tues (Apr 19).

The NSL achieved the feat on Monday, joining the Downtown Line (DTL) - which passed 178 days without disruption -- in clearing the 100-day milestone.

"For us in the rail industry, clearing 100 disruption-free days is no mean feat: it requires everyone to do everything right. Any misstep can cause a disruption," Mr Khaw wrote in his post, titled "On track to better rail reliability".

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NSL shown the exit from ‘100 Day Club’

HEY, don’t jinx it! Especially if it means unleashing Singaporeans’ worst nightmare: MRT breakdowns.

In a blogpost on Tuesday (April 19), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan praised the North South Line (NSL) for “having achieved 100 days without any major incident“. Two days later riders whizzed off in NSL trains echoing the very efficiency of Singapore’s public transport system: Not.

Commuters woke up to a disruption on the SMRT-operated line yesterday (April 22) that lasted from the start of service till 6.50am. The very vehicle tasked to keep trains running – a maintenance locomotive – had broken down and obstructed the way of trains. Maybe it was a rogue double agent working for rival train operator SBS Transit?

In the SMRT war room yesterday morning
133,000 km last year compared to 93,000km in 2014.
EWL & NSL have been undergoing track renewal & signal upgrading works

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Celebrate By Keeping Quiet

It’s funny how things can come back to bite us, and yes that also happens to me, so before I go on, I’m making sure that I’m touching lots of wood. Checked. Table is made of wood. This is about how Transport Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan jinxed the MRT after celebrating his 100-days of no-break-down milestone.

On Tuesday, Mr Khaw proudly announced on his blog that the North-South Line (NSL) achieved 100 days without any major incident. Two days later, which is today, the MRT system was struck by two breakdowns.

The first breakdown happened on the NSL. The train operator, SMRT, announced via a tweet at 6:09am about the disruption. Full service was resumed at 6:57am.

MTBF Has Been Sufficiently Reduced
Mediocre Engineering, Failed Management
Smoke From SMRT
Claw At Root Of Train Breakdowns

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Transport Minister mislead Singaporeans about rail reliability

There is a major train breakdown between Marina South Pier and Newton station on the NSL this morning (April 21). The article below is written only 9 hours ago.

Calling the 100-day major disruption-free on the North South Line (NSL) a “success”, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan mischievously misled Singaporeans about the reliability of Singapore’s public railway system.

Minister Khaw cherry-picked the NSL and left out the recent damning report by the Land Transport Authority, which highlighted an increase in train breakdowns. In 2015, there was a total of 14 major MRT train breakdowns, 40% more than 2014’s 10 incidents. For the LRT trains, the number of breakdowns exceeding thirty minutes increased 4-fold to 15 in 2015. The most problematic train system is the Bukit Panjang LRT line, which saw 10 breakdowns in 2015. In summary, there is a train breakdown nearly every 2 weeks in Singapore.

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Two MRT breakdowns in a day

Commuters saw their journeys disrupted by separate faults on the North-South and North East MRT lines yesterday.

On the North-South Line (NSL), a maintenance locomotive that stalled at Raffles Place station shut down northbound train services between Marina South Pier and Newton from the start of service till about 6.50am.

Just after 11am, a power fault disrupted train service between Outram Park and Farrer Park stations on the North East Line (NEL) for about 40 minutes.

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SMRT Breaks Another Record, Faces 2 Train Disruptions Within 12 Hours

Train service on the North-South Line (NSL) was disrupted for about half an hour today (26 Apr), less than 12 hours after four train lines were affected by a power trip in another incident. This was also the third disruption on the NSL in less than a week. There was no train service between Kranji and Woodlands because of a traction power fault. SMRT got trains moving again at 6.49am and announced that everything was back to normal at 7.29am.

In a statement on Facebook, SMRT apologised to commuters and said it was investigating the cause to determine if it was related to the disruption yesterday (25 Apr) evening.

Tuesday morning’s disruption comes less than 12 hours after four train lines were affected by a power dip on Monday. Three MRT lines and one LRT line were affected on yesterday evening, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

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2 breakdowns in a day sees MRT behaving normally again after 100 disruption-free days

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who like to take public transport because cars are for rich people, are blaming themselves and saying it is their own fault.

This after there were two train breakdowns on April 21, two days after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the North-South Line achieved 100 days without any major incident and was on track to better reliability.

One Singaporean, Huai Leow, said she should have done more in her own capacity to prevent the breakdowns: “I did not shout ‘Majulah’ loudly each time I left the house in the morning to take the train.”

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Blackout hits MRT – Parts of East-West and North-South lines affected

News starting trickling in through twitter at about 8pm today (25 Apr) that a power trip had hit parts of the North-South (NSL) and the East-West (EWL) lines of the MRT system. Blogger Darryl Kang twitted at 8pm, “Dover MRT station celebrating Earth Hour? How come all lights turned off.”

About 10 minutes alter, at 8.11pm, SMRT tweeted that there was no train service between Joo Koon and Bugis on EWL, between Woodlands and Jurong East on NSL due to traction power fault.

Services were restored about 30 minutes after the reports of power trip started surfacing on social media. SMRT said that the disruptions were due to a traction power fault.

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Poems Written For Every MRT Station So You Can Recite During Train Breakdowns

If you can guess which MRT station this poem is for, you’ve got a pretty sharp eye for detail. (Here’s a hint: there is a swan lake in that area.)

To check out Rodrigo’s full poem, click here.

For this year’s Singapore Poetry Writing Month, a group of writers gathered together and wrote a poem for every MRT station, aptly titled: Poems On The MRT.

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