SINGAPORE: About 10,500 passengers were affected by the Circle Line (CCL) disruption which was caused by a faulty power cable on Thursday night.
Speaking at a media conference on Friday morning, SMRT’s CEO Desmond Kuek said the issue of faulty power cables is not new.
A similar disruption at Dakota Station last year was also the result of a power cable fault.
Mr Kuek said SMRT is aware that this problem has caused inconveniences during operations, but it bears no impact on the safety of the system.
SMRT is looking at the cables that supply electricity to the power rail of the driverless Circle Line trains.
The latest disruption was triggered by a faulty cable at Promenade Station —— there was a short circuit and the network came to a halt.
Deputy CEO of the Land Transport Authority, Chua Chong Kheng, said up till last month, the cable was found to be in good condition when routine checks were carried out.
He said: "We will have to do more checks and investigations to see what caused the particular fault —— why was it not picked up and things like that."
Mr Kuek said the cable could have been damaged by water.
He said: "A power cable should not cause a short circuit if it is properly installed and insulated. So if it causes a short circuit, it is also likely because there is some water presence around there and the insulation has been damaged."
A similar problem at Dakota Station last year also caused a disruption that affected 27,000 commuters.
SMRT said the areas between Dhoby Ghaut and Dakota Stations are more problematic, compared with other parts of the network, as the cables sit in an area that is prone to water seepage from the ground.
SMRT’s executive vice president for trains, Khoo Hean Siang, said there are plans to replace all the cables.
He added: "We want to change out to a higher grade cable that can submerge, (be) more water resistant to make sure ... the system will last for 20 to 30 years."
The programme will begin from January next year and will take about 18 months to complete.
However, it may be speeded up. This will mean longer maintenance hours —— beyond the current three—hour window period a day —— or closing selected stretches during off—peak hours.
Mr Kuek said discussions are ongoing. He said: "We are very mindful that this will inconvenience commuters, and if this should be done, we will look into making the announcements in advance so that the preparations can be made and the necessary alternative transport services can be provided."
Mr Kuek said SMRT has received feedback that its contingency measures have improved. But there are areas which can still be refined, such as providing better communication during the first 15 minutes of the disruption.
Those affected by the latest breakdown can get refunds till 7 November.
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