No train, exam pain

Students felt more than frustration when the North-South Line broke down due to a power fault yesterday at 5.54am.

They felt fear.

Fear they would be late to their GCE A-level Literature In English examination that was due to begin at 8am.

Yishun Junior College student Klaudia Puah, 19, was shocked to find a huge crowd at Ang Mo Kio MRT station at 7.15am. (See report on right.)

"It was so crowded. I've never been involved in an MRT disruption before and never thought I'd be caught in it, especially on the day of an exam.

"I thought to myself, 'That's it, I'm going to be late' because I only had half an hour to reach my JC.

"Time was really tight and I was feeling pretty scared," she said.


She thought perhaps she could catch a bus, but there was a mass of people at the bus stop.

So Miss Puah called her father for help.

"I live a few blocks away so it didn't take much time for my father to get me and drop me off at school," she said.

She reached school on time and sat the paper with the other candidates in her school.

Miss Puah said: "I hope that in the future, no such unfortunate incidents occur as I think that it can really shake one up before an examination and result in a lack of focus (for) the duration of the paper."

Another Yishun Junior College student, Mr Daniel Ng, 19, was caught in a similar situation.

"I usually take the MRT from Bishan at 7.05am so I can be early and calm myself down before the exam, but when I reached the station and saw the signs of the disruption, I was a bit worried.

"But I wasn't caught off guard because these disruptions have happened quite often," he said.

He called his father for a lift as the taxi queues were long and there was no direct bus from Bishan to Yishun.

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board said that when there is a train disruption, students who arrive before the end of the paper can still take it and will be given the full time allocated. Students can also go to the nearest examination centre to take the exam.

The principal of Yishun Junior College, Madam Koh Teck Siew, confirmed that a few students from other junior colleges had sat for the examination there.

Thousands hit by 2-hour disruption

Train services at several stations on the North-South Line were disrupted for more than two hours yesterday during the morning rush hour, due to a traction power fault.

The timing of the disruption resulted in huge crowds at the stations between Yishun and Bishan, with long queues forming at bus stops and taxi stands nearby.

The disruption was first announced by rail operator SMRT at 5.54am and train service resumed at 8.11am.

The Straits Times reported that an estimated 70,000 commuters were affected by the disruption. When contacted, an SMRT spokesman would not confirm the number of commuters affected. Preliminary investigations had revealed a power breaker at Ang Mo Kio MRT station was damaged, according to a statement issued by The Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Free bus services were activated throughout the duration of the disruption.

SMRT staff were assisted by LTA enforcement officers and the Traffic Police to manage the crowd and traffic congestion.

LTA said it had informed the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board of the disruption and subsequent arrangements, in view of the GCE A-level Literature In English examinations yesterday morning.

Earlier, at around 5.50am, the Singapore Civil Defence Force put out a fire at Ang Mo Kio MRT station using two 9kg fire extinguishers. No injuries were reported. It is not immediately clear if the fire and the disruption, which occurred at roughly the same time, were linked, reported The Straits Times.

This article was first published on November 26, 2015.
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