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Train service between Joo Koon, Tuas Link stations to be suspended on Thursday

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Train service between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations will be suspended on Thursday so that the authorities can carry out investigations.Bus bridging services will be provided for affected passengers.

[SINGAPORE ] Train service between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations will be suspended on Thursday so that the authorities can carry out investigations.Bus bridging services will be provided for affected passengers.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that trains on the North-South and East-West lines will also run at slower intervals of between 2½ minutes and three minutes, compared with the current two minutes, as an interim safety precaution.

These measures come after an SMRT train collided with another train at Joo Koon station on Wednesday morning, leaving at least 28 passengers injured.Preliminary investigations found that a glitch in the new communications-based train control system wiped out a safety software feature when the first train passed a faulty circuit.

The company which provided the signalling system, Thales, said this was the first time such an incident had happened."On record, we are one of the safest... we have never had a collision," said Thales' Mr Peter Tawn.

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Mr Tawn added that the company may look at increasing the safety factor, or the buffer distance, between trains. This currently ranges from about 10m to 50m.

In Wednesday's incident, the trains had adhered to a safety buffer of 10.7m before the collision.

Speaking at a press conference, SMRT's senior vice-president of rail operations for the North-South and East-West lines, Mr Alvin Kek, said the company was ensuring that all drivers did extra checks and had controls in place even if the train was driven in automatic mode.

Additional information will also be made available to drivers in their train cabins.

The LTA said that trains will go through an additional layer of control measures and manual checks before they are deployed.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "Thales is confident of their system but I advised the team, let's play doubly safe, where safety is involved, that's why I want them to suspend the Tuas West Extension tomorrow, so we have a whole day to do a thorough check before we resume the Tuas West Extension." Asked if a committee of inquiry will be convened to look into this, Mr Khaw said to let the investigation take its course.

Asked about whether commuters' confidence in the MRT system has been undermined following Wednesday's accident and October's MRT tunnel flooding, Mr Khaw said: "Obviously people will be upset... I'm equally upset as they (are)."

THE STRAITS TIMES

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