In the wake of the Jul 7 train disruption which crippled the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), the electrical supply of the two lines will be delinked when needed, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a blogpost on Thursday (Oct 15).
About 250,000 commuters were affected when the two MRT lines went down for more than three hours during the evening peak period.
“The Jul 7 train disruption was a disaster because of its scale. Two major lines, the NSEWL, were simultaneously affected. No service recovery plan can adequately address the sudden and large loss of supply in the public transport system,” Mr Khaw said.
To prevent a repeat of the disruption, the two lines will be delinked by installing electrical breaks at Jurong East and Raffles Place Interchange stations, Mr Khaw said. The breaks will be fully installed at the end of next month.
“Under normal operations, (the electrical) breaks will not be activated as we want to continue to have the flexibility between the NSL and EWL. But when the need arises, the two lines can be electrically disconnected,” he said.
In the meantime, maintenance of all lines must be stepped up to avoid any disruption, he said.
According to LTA, the two lines were originally electrically linked to allow trains to move from the NSL to the EWL and vice versa.
The link is essential as Bishan Depot is the only depot across the two lines with heavy maintenance and overhaul capability, Mr Khaw said. However, this limitation would disappear when the Tuas West Extension is completed next year, with the Tuas West Depot on the EWL which will have similar facilities.
“Other than for maintenance, allowing cross-overs gives operational flexibility. Unfortunately, this also means that a power fault on one line could affect the other,” Mr Khaw said.