New NEL, Circle Line trains to be fitted with gap fillers

New NEL, Circle Line trains to be fitted with gap fillers
Passengers on the train tried to help free an 11-year-old boy who got stuck in the platform gap. SMRT staff came shortly after to release him. The boy was stuck for a total of 10 minutes.

New trains that will be progressively put into service on the North-East Line (NEL) and Circle Line (CCL) from the second half of this year will be fitted with gap fillers, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

These rubber strips, which help to narrow the gap between the train floor and platform edge, were incorporated into the design of the 42 new trains when they were ordered in 2012. SBS Transit, which operates the NEL, and SMRT, which runs the CCL, will also retrofit older trains with these gap fillers when they are due for their mid-life refurbishment.

The gap between the platform and trains came into the spotlight again this week when on Thursday morning, a woman found her leg stuck in the gap at Boon Keng MRT station after she was pushed and lost her balance.

She suffered abrasions and swelling on her right knee, and had to be taken to hospital. Services on the NEL were disrupted for about half an hour.

A similar incident involving a student happened in March at Hougang MRT station.

The LTA said the gap is 3.6cm on the Downtown Line, where new trains have gap fillers.

For the North-South Line and East-West Line, underground stations have a gap of 11cm and due to the design of the platform screen doors, strips cannot be installed. Since 1997 however, gap fillers have been installed on the platform edges at all above- ground stations for these lines, cutting the gap to 7.5cm, said LTA.

The LTA added that there are various safety measures in place, including in-train announcements and signs on platform screen doors to remind commuters to mind the platform gap. Staff are also deployed at the platforms to manage commuter flow.

Commuter Madeline Teh, 22, an undergraduate, said: "Making the gap smaller is one thing, but when the train is crowded and people push you, it's easy to lose your footing.

"It happened to me once, but luckily I only dropped my wallet," she said.

This article was first published on May 16, 2015.
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