Design flaw to blame for open LRT train door?

PHOTO: Twitter/@dladmtra, Twitter/@@nnadhirahhh_

TRANSPORT operator SMRT yesterday shed light on how the door of a Bukit Panjang LRT train could have flung open during a journey between stations last week, suggesting that the cause of the incident was a design flaw in the system.

During the incident on Friday morning, SMRT staff had to override the driverless Bukit Panjang LRT system and drive the trains manually after a signalling fault occurred during commuting hours, said SMRT.

At 6.47am, the door at the rear of a two-car train opened when moving from Bukit Panjang station towards Senja station. This caused the train's safety system to apply the emergency brakes.

SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan said: "The SMRT staff driving the train immediately checked that all doors in the front car were closed and then moved to the rear car, where one door was found open.

"The door was closed manually and the train continued on its journey."

The driver had moved off when the "doors locked" light on the train console had not yet come on, said SMRT.

Disciplinary action has since been taken against the employee, said Mr Nathan.

SMRT noted that trains on other lines, namely the North-South, East-West and Circle lines, cannot be driven if any one of their doors is not locked.

"We would like to assure all passengers that trains serving the Circle Line and North-South and East-West Lines are designed to ensure all doors are closed and locked before moving off in both automatic and manual modes," said Mr Nathan.

Referring to the Bukit Panjang LRT, he said: "We are also exploring with LTA (Land Transport Authority) and (train manufacturer) Bombardier on improving the (system's) design such that trains in manual mode cannot move until all doors are closed and locked."

Passengers on the affected LRT train had also complained that the train's intercom system was not working at the time of the incident.

SMRT said the intercom system was linked to the line's signalling system, again a peculiarity of the Bukit Panjang LRT system. Mr Nathan said: "SMRT is working with LTA and Bombardier to install an independent communication system that can work even during a signal fault.

"In the meantime, the phone number of the Bukit Panjang LRT Operations Control Centre will be made available in each (train) car so that passengers can quickly reach SMRT staff through their mobile phones, if the onboard telephone is inoperable.

"We apologise for the incident."

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