A section of power cable that was burned through and a faulty circuit breaker along the Tuas West Extension were the primary causes of a massive disruption that affected three MRT lines on Oct 14. The 3hr 36min incident affected 123,000 commuters. Of these, 6,500 commuters were on 12 stalled trains along the North-South and East-West lines, while 275 were on three stalled Circle Line trains. It is reassuring to learn that all electrical power cables along the Tuas West Extension will now be replaced. This move recognises the magnitude of a technical glitch that could afflict three lines and leave thousands of passengers stuck on trains for up to three hours.
In a joint briefing with rail operator SMRT and systems supplier Alstom, the Land Transport Authority said the French company will replace some 150km of cables which supply power to trains by the end of next year. The replacement cables will have tougher insulation. Alstom will also replace all 113 trip coils – core components of circuit breakers – along the three-year-old western stretch of the East-West Line by the end of this year. The company will do so at its own cost, thus recognising its responsibility to SMRT and, ultimately, to passengers. This would provide some comfort to those affected by the breakdown and to the travelling public at large, which expects accountability.