Safety on Singapore Mass Rapid Transit

Safety on Singapore Mass Rapid Transit

The safety of the Mass Rapid Transit system in Singapore was questioned by the public after several accidents on the system during the 1980s and 1990s. Most problems have been addressed, and many safety measures are visible to users of the system.

Technical incidents

5 August 1993 (7:50am) - Two Kawasaki Heavy Industries C151 Trains collided with each other at Clementi Station, resulting in 132 injuries. The collision happened because a work train that did maintenance work earlier that morning had spilled some oil onto the tracks. One of the trains passing by that stretch of track that morning had been unable to brake in time because of the oil, resulting in a collision with a stationary train at the station which was waiting to move off upon the recharging of its brakes.

9 October 1997 (2:00am) - A maintenance train derailed in the tunnel near Toa Payoh Station. The derailment occurred because a staff member had failed to reset the track alignment properly. Disruption to train services between Bishan Station & Newton Station lasted about 8 hours.

13 April 1999 (10:00am) - An empty Siemens C651 Train on its way back to Bishan Depot after the morning peak service derailed between the Yio Chu Kang Station & Ang Mo Kio Station. The derailment occurred because the station master had failed to reset the track alignment properly. Disruption to train services lasted about 7 hours.

23 April 2002 [] - 21 Kawasaki Heavy Industries & Nippon Sharyo C751B Trains were withdrawn from service due to faulty gearboxes, though there were no safety implications. There were reduced train services on all lines resulting from this shortage of trains.

3 March 2003 (7:30pm) [] - A car crashed onto a stretch of at-grade track along Lentor Avenue in between Khatib Station and Yio Chu Kang Station, resulting in a light, minor collision by an oncoming train. Disruption to train services between along this section of the line lasted almost 3 hours.

24 July 2006 (12:45pm) [ [ Welcome to SBS Transit ] ] - HarbourFront, Outram Park, Chinatown and Clarke Quay MRT Station were closed due to a loss of traction power with a train stalling after Outram Park Station. Attempts to bring the power back failed and hundred passengers were evacuated from the trains. According to later investigations, a cable which supplied traction power came loose. Train service was disrupted for hours and operator SBS Transit activated shuttle bus services to ferry commuters between affected stations. []

21 January 2008 (5.30am-12pm) [] - Tanah Merah MRT Station to Pasir Ris MRT StationNo trains were going along this rail because of a service train accident in the middle of Simei MRT Station and Tampines MRT Station in the midnight. Residents along the near by flats heard a crash sound and when they looked out they were surprised to see a service train minor crash. Trains were disrupted and there were no trains from Tenah Merah to Pasir Ris. Many commuters were affected as it was in the peak hours in the morning. SBS transit and SMRT deployed buses but the commuters told the news that they had been waiting for almost an hour but they had not gotten into any bus yet soon only trains that were east-bound were going as there were too many commuters waiting.

Commuter incidents

Commuter deaths as a result of being hit by trains on the tracks at these above ground/at-grade stations without platform screen doors (accidental/suicidal): Ang Mo Kio Station, Admiralty Station, Bedok Station, Bishan Station, Bukit Batok Station, Buona Vista Station, Chinese Garden Station, Clementi Station, Eunos Station, Kallang Station, Kembangan Station, Marsiling Station, Paya Lebar Station, Redhill Station, Tampines Station, Woodlands Station and Yishun Station.


These incidents have prompted the authorities to consider strengthening the fences along the at grade sections of train track running beside the roads, which was done. There was a proposal to install platform screen doors at elevated stations and platform gates (such as those installed on the Tokyo Monorail) at elevated stations, but was rejected before due to the high installation & maintenance costs, which could eventually be borne by the passenger. However, on 25 January 2008, Mr. Raymond Lim, Minister For Transport (Singapore) mentioned in a speech that "LTA (Land Transport Authority) has been studying the feasibility of installing platform screen doors on above-ground Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore) stations. With platform screen doors being adopted in more transit systems worldwide, their cost has fallen, making them more cost-effective now."cite press release|url= |title=Doubling our Rail Network|publisher= Minister for Transport (Singapore) |date=2008-01-25 ] Safety was also an issue as there was the risk that passengers might get trapped in the gap created between the platform gates and the train as a result of the platform gates. The idea to use CCTV cameras led to all elevated stations as of 2005 having recordable digital CCTV systems. Eventually the remaining underground stations are planned to have this new system too. More CCTV cameras are also progressively being installed in all stations. There have been no accidents on the North-East line.


Fire safety

After the Daegu subway fire incident in South Korea, fire prevention became an important consideration of the Mass Rapid Transit system of Singapore. The MRT uses the guidelines of the American National Fire Prevention Authorities (NFPA), which were established for enhancing fire safety within metro systems. The guidelines contain criteria concerning the availability of emergency exits (within 600m), emergency evacuation time (max. 6 min.), escalators, and other design features. All the MRT stations and trains have more than one fire extinguisher and smoke detection systems are installed in all North East Line trains.

afety announcements & the yellow line

In elevated stations, a wide yellow line is drawn along the platform's edge to remind passengers not to stand too near to the edge.

Under the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Regulations 11 and 29, commuters who ignore the instruction not to cross yellow line until the train has stopped at the station may be fined up to $500. For those who are caught trespassing onto the tracks, they may be fined up to $5,000.

Platform screen doors and gates

Platform screen doors by Westinghouse (a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group) are installed at all underground MRT stations. Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit was the first heavy rail system in the world to incorporate platform screen doors in its stations in 1987 [ Westinghouse Platform Screen Doors - Completed Projects] . These doors serve to prevent suicides, enable climate control within the station (better ventilation and air conditioning), better security control as access to the tunnels and tracks is restricted and for passenger safety considerations.

There is generally 2 series of the full height platform screen doors in use. The first series, installed at all underground stations along the North South Line and the East West Line (except Changi Airport Station), have been in use since 1987. These cost about an additional S$1 million per platform. The latest series of platform screen doors, featuring a sleeker design and incorporating more glass surfaces, are installed at Changi Airport Station, all stations (all underground) along the North East Line and Bishan Station in 2002, 2003 and 2008 respectively.

In a speech by the Minister for Transport on 25 January 2008, the government had announced plans for the retrofitting of half-height automatic platform gates on all platforms at all elevated stations by 2012. This was an about turn from the government's previous stance of not supporting the retrofitting of these gates at elevated platforms due to prohibitively high costs. Costs have since fallen due to the popularity of such gates worldwide, making such a project now ] feasible. The gates, supplied by Singapore Technologies, will be installed first at Jurong East Station, Pasir Ris Station and Yishun Station in 2009 before being installed at the remaining 33 elevated MRT stations (including the East West Line Boon Lay Extension) by 2012.

By 2012, all MRT stations in Singapore will have platform screen doors or gates on all platforms.

Emergency equipment

The safety facilities in the MRT are listed below:
*Emergency Stop Plunger (ESP) - SMRT/Emergency Train Stop (ETS) - SBS
*Emergency Telephone
*GTM's Passenger intercom at SBS Transit Stations
*Fire extinguishers
*Emergency Stop Button on escalator/travelator
*Emergency Detrainment Ramp
*Emergency Communication Button
*Door unlock handle at SBS Transit Stations
*Emergency door handle of platform screen doors


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