From the second half of this year, new trains on the North-East Line (NEL) and the Circle Line will be installed with “gap fillers”, which will reduce the space between trains and platforms, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday (May 14).
Its comments came after another commuter got her leg stuck in the 100mm gap between the train and the platform at an NEL station during rush-hour on Thursday morning, the second time in two months that such an incident has happened.
Advancements in technology have made it possible for the gap fillers to be fitted on the new trains instead of on the platform edges of train stations, an LTA spokesperson told TODAY.
Currently, gap fillers are installed only at above-ground stations on the North-South and East-West Line (NSEWL), as well as in trains running along the new Downtown Line.
Train services were delayed by about 40 minutes during morning rush hour on Thursday, after the commuter lost her balance after she was pushed while standing in the train near the door at Boon Keng MRT Station. Her right leg slipped through the 100mm gap and she could not get it out.
The woman, who is in her 40s, was later freed by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel using hydraulic rescue tools. She was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where she received outpatient treatment.
Train service on the line resumed at about 8.49am.
On March 11, the same train line saw a delay, also during the morning rush hour, when a student’s leg got trapped in the platform gap at Hougang MRT Station. Reports said the student suffered some bruises on her leg after she was freed by SCDF personnel.
Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of corporate communications for SBS Transit (SBST), which runs the NEL, explained that the gaps provide a small physical clearance to accommodate the movement of the train body as it approaches the station. “Without it, the train body may come into contact with the station’s platform edge and this would be dangerous,” she said.
The LTA spokesperson said the gaps between trains and platforms vary for the different lines. For the Downtown Line, the gaps are 36mm, as its trains have been installed with gap fillers. For the NSEWL, only above-ground stations have gap fillers, installed at the platform edges since 1997, narrowing the gaps from 110mm to 75mm. “The design of the platform screen doors on the underground stations on the NSEWL ruled out such an installation,” the spokesperson said on Thursday.
Various safety measures have been put in place at the MRT stations, including in-train announcements and signs on the platform screen doors, to remind commuters to mind the platform gap.
“The operators also deploy staff at the platforms to manage commuter flow. In addition, programmes are also run to raise awareness about commuter safety,” the spokesperson said.