SINGAPORE – Train services along a stretch of the North-South Line (NSL) are still not available on Sunday (Oct 8) morning, after flooding in MRT tunnels from Bishan to Braddell stations disrupted service across 13 stations on Saturday evening.

SMRT said in a Facebook post at 6.09am that it is hoping to start service between Newton and Ang Mo Kio stations in both directions at 9am.

It explained that additional time is needed for final checks and to conduct test runs with trains.

The transport operator added that its engineering teams, along with those from the Land Transport Authority, had worked throughout the night to remove water from the affected tunnels.

SMRT also advised commuters to seek alternative transport on Sunday morning.

Commuters board a bridging bus at Bishan MRT at 6.45am on Sunday morning. ST PHOTO: SEAK KWANG PENG

Free regular and bridging bus services have been made available along the affected stations, while train services are running normally from Jurong East to Ang Mo Kio and Newton to Marina South Pier in both directions.

Thousands of commuters were affected on Saturday evening when services came to a halt for more than four hours due to two separate incidents – water collecting in the tunnel and then a trackside fire. 

While much of the train service was eventually restored, the two-way service between Newton and Ang Mo Kio was disrupted for the rest of the day.

SMRT had said it was hoping to get it up on Sunday, although the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it expected a “prolonged operation” on the effort to siphon water which had entered the tunnels during torrential rain on Saturday afternoon.

The National Environment Agency had earlier issued warnings of heavy rain with gusty winds over many parts of Singapore.

At 5.30pm, trains were stopped from travelling between Bishan and Toa Payoh after water was found in the tunnel.

Then, at about 5.55pm, a small fire was detected by a train captain in the tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place stations. The SCDF was alerted but the fire went out by itself, said SMRT.

At about 7.30pm, SMRT said in a Facebook post that “for safety reasons, North-South Line train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier” would not be available, as its engineers looked into both problems.

A total of 13 stations on the 26-station line were affected . Free regular bus and bridging services were made available.

Large crowds had gathered at bus shelters, such as City Hall and Bishan, with several looking at their mobile phones intently, hoping to book a ride.

However, the situation remained calm and orderly, as SMRT staff inside the stations and at the bus stops guided commuters.

Uber Singapore said at about 9pm that it would temporarily suspend its dynamic pricing and encourage more private-hire drivers to go online to provide commuters another choice of transportation.

Train services between Newton and Marina South Pier resumed at about 9.30pm.

There have been previous cases of water entering MRT tunnels, but this is believed to be the first time it has affected train services.

In 2006, heavy rain in the morning left the Novena station with water-logged floors and a dripping ceiling. The water, which rose to a height of 5cm, seemed to have come from a nearby construction site.

SMRT on Saturday declined to comment on the extent of the problem, but MRT tunnels are equipped with pumps which are supposed to kick in when water enters the tunnels.

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