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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 26 July 2006

North East Line resumes normal operation after partial stoppage on 24 Jul 2006


All Systems Up And Running On NEL

North East Line (NEL) services between Harbourfront and Dhoby Ghaut, which resumed at 5.42am this morning (25 Jul 2006), are running smoothly and according to schedule.
Full recovery of the line took place at 2.10am this morning (25 Jul 2006) after more than 70 engineers and station staff worked round the clock to get the system going. Trial runs were conducted before the system was given the final go-ahead to resume service operations at 5.42am ¨C the normal scheduled start of southbound services.
It is estimated that 60,000 commuters were affected by the partial stoppage of NEL services yesterday (24 Jul 2006).
The stoppage of NEL services between Harbourfront and Dhoby Ghaut Stations occurred at 12.57pm yesterday (24 Jul 2006) after one of our southbound trains lost traction power as it was leaving Outram Station. A messenger wire had broken about 150 meters from the platform causing the overhead power supply lines to dislodge. Investigations are ongoing as to exact cause of the incident.
After repeated attempts to get the system back up, a decision was taken to activate the detrainment process at 1.13pm. It was the first time NEL was detrained due to a service fault. A previous detrainment exercise had taken place last year when a drunken sailor activated the emergency detrainment door, causing the train to stop.
Once the decision was made to stop services, NEL staff kicked into action. Detour signs were put up and announcements made to inform passengers of the stoppage of services. Seventy-seven SBS Transit Goodwill Ambassadors were also deployed to the affected stations to help with traffic control.
Free shuttle bus services were activated at 1.05pm. In all, 39 buses were deployed between HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut Stations stopping at Outram Park, Chinatown and Clarke Quay Stations. A total of 145 bus trips were made.
At 7.30pm, a free train shuttle was introduced to supplement the free bus shuttle. It operated between HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut Stations, and was free to all commuters who entered or left the NEL from HarbourFront, Outram Park, Chinatown and Clarke Quay Stations. A total of 13 train trips were made between 7.30pm and the end of service.
The service halt served as a true test of SBS Transit¡¯s crisis management capabilities. All staff were routed to their respective stations and everyone tried their best to minimise inconveniences caused to the commuters.
Mr Karl Chu, a NEL LRT staff who was deployed as a Goodwill Ambassador, said: ¡°There were people everywhere. Everyone wanted to know what was going on. Many actually thought that it was just another drill and demanded that we let them into the station. We had to explain to them calmly that it was not a planned service stop and that it was a real situation. ¡°
In all, more than 200 SBS Transit staff were directly involved in the management of yesterday¡¯s (24 Jul 2006) breakdown. No less than 200 packets of curry puffs, fast food and drinks were handed out to staff were worked through the night.
SBS Transit Executive Director, Mr Ong Boon Leong, said: ¡°This is an incident which no operator would want happen but I am very proud of the way our staff came together and worked as one. We have been training for such a situation and managed to put all that we have learnt to good use. We will come away from this with even more experiences to learn from.¡±
Passengers who were on the stalled train can seek a refund of their train fare at any NEL Passenger Service Counter.
We wish to once again apologise for any inconvenience caused.
More..... (Earlier Reports)

Source: Press Release 25 Jul 2006 (4th and final update at 11.30am)

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