Disciplinary action has been taken against the SMRT staff who did not ensure that all the doors of an LRT train were locked, causing a door to be flung open while the train was moving, the transport operator said on Wednesday (Jan 27).
The incident on the Bukit Panjang LRT line last Friday occurred during a five-hour service disruption caused by a signalling fault. The train, which is usually driverless, had to be driven manually because of the disruption, said Vice President of SMRT Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan.
According to SMRT, the staff member driving the train had checked that the doors were fully closed before moving off, but did not ensure that they were locked.
At 6.47am, the door at the rear of the two-car train opened, and the train’s emergency brakes were automatically applied. The staff member driving the train immediately checked the doors, then manually closed the open door before continuing the journey, Mr Nathan said.
INCIDENT HIGHLIGHTS DESIGN FLAW
The incident has highlighted a design flaw with the Bukit Panjang LRT trains, which can be driven manually even if the doors have not been locked, SMRT said.
This is not the case for the Circle Line, North-South and East-West Lines, which are designed to ensure that all doors are closed and locked before a train can move off, the transport operator noted.
SMRT said it is exploring the option of improving the design of the trains on the LRT line, to ensure that trains in manual mode cannot move until all doors are closed and locked.
In the meantime, the Bukit Panjang LRT Operations Control Centre will be required to check with the driver that all doors are closed and locked before any train in manual mode can move. SMRT will also reinforce operating procedures for the manual driving of LRT trains, Mr Nathan said.
The transport operator is also working with the Land Transport Authority and Bombardier, the train manufacturer, to install an independent communication system that can work even during a signalling fault, Mr Nathan said. Both the public address system and on-board telephone were not working during the disruption.
For now, the phone number of the control centre will be made available in each train car so that passengers can quickly reach SMRT staff using their handphones if the on-board telephone is not working, he added.
"SMRT will learn from this incident to prevent future recurrences. We will continue to focus on safe operations on board all SMRT trains," Mr Nathan said.