Bishan tunnel flooding

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Bishan tunnel flooding
NS17 Bishan Tracks.jpg
Tracks leading out from the station to the tunnel in the distance.
Date 7 October 2017
Location Between Bishan MRT station and Braddell MRT station
Country Singapore
Line North South MRT Line
Operator SMRT Trains
Incident type Flooding of MRT tunnel.
Cause Human error, malfunction in the water pumping system, which has since been repaired.
Deaths 0
Injuries 0
Damage S$2mil

The Bishan tunnel flooding was a major incident on the North South MRT line (NSL) of the Singapore MRT which occurred at 5.33 pm on 7 October 2017. The flooding of the tunnels between the Bishan and Braddell MRT stations was caused by heavy rain and a faulty maintenance pump. The flooding of the tunnels made the passage impassable, and bridging bus services had to be deployed while the Singapore Civil Defence Force and maintenance staff removed the water from the tunnel. The incident caused more than S$2 million in damages and lost revenue for the operator SMRT and led to the firing of eight maintenance employees.


The section of flooded tunnels between Bishan and Braddell was part of the first section of the system to open. At the time of the incident, the system was going through a turbulent period plagued with multiple disruptions and delays which caused much public displeasure, and this incident further aggravated the situation. Earlier in the day, there was a lunchtime delay on the North East line,[1] and in the previous month, service on the Bukit Panjang LRT line was disrupted.[2][3]


At 5.33 p.m. on 7 October 2017, heavy rain flooded the tunnels between the Bishan and Braddell MRT stations. In addition, a small trackside fire, whose cause is still unknown, was spotted by a train driver between the Raffles Place MRT station and the Marina Bay MRT station. This prompted the trains operator, SMRT, to suspend all service from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier. SMRT provided free bridging buses along the affected stretch of stations.[4]

At 7.07 p.m., the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call from SMRT about a flooding situation in the tunnels between the two affected stations. SMRT then officially reported the flooding on social media at 7.30 p.m. Train service between the Newton MRT station and Marina South Pier was restored, but service between Newton and Ang Mo Kio remained down. SMRT also mentioned that its engineers were working with SCDF personnel to pump water out of the affected stretch of tunnels.[5][6] At 1.50 p.m. the next day, SMRT said that the water had been cleared and that service would resume, and test trains were deployed to ensure passenger safety. This resulted in almost 20 hours of disruption.[6]


Following the incident, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched a joint investigation into the incident. The initial report delivered by the LTA listed three possible causes for the failure.[7] The investigation led to the uncovering of falsified maintenance records and lack of maintenance of the water pumps.[8]


As a result of the incident, SMRT suffered S$2 million in damage to trackside equipment and trains.[9] The incident prompted a check of other similar pumps around the system, two of which, at Lavender and Kembangan, were also found to be faulty.[10] SMRT also fired eight employees from their maintenance crew — including a senior executive, two managers, and five members of the technical staff — as a result of the incident.[8]


  1. ^ Charmaine Ng (7 October 2017). "North East Line hit by second delay in 4 days". The Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Five-hour disruption on Bukit Panjang LRT line due to broken rail support brackets". Channel NewsAsia. 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  3. ^ Lam, Lydia; Alkhatib, Shaffiq Idris (9 September 2017). "Broken rail support brackets behind 6-hour Bukit Panjang LRT disruption: SMRT". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Flooded MRT Tunnel trackside fire caused train disruption on NSL". Channel NewsAsia. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Timeline of NSL disruption due to flooded MRT tunnel". Channel NewsAsia. 8 October 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b "NSL disruption: Flooded MRT tunnels cleared, train service resumes between Ang Mo Kio and Newton". Channel NewsAsia. 8 October 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  7. ^ Zhaki Abdullah (5 December 2017). "LTA says MRT flooding entirely preventable, outlines 3 possible reasons flood prevention system failed". The Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b Cynthia Choo (27 November 2017). "SMRT dismisses 8 employees involved in Oct 7 incident". Today. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ Fann Sim (9 January 2018). "Damage caused by Bishan MRT tunnel flooding cost S$2 million: Khaw Boon Wan". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  10. ^ Adrian Lim (7 November 2017). "Water pumps at two other locations not serviceable". The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 March 2018.

External links

  • Report on the incident

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