SINGAPORE – There was a lapse in procedure before an MRT train hit and killed two trainee employees yesterday (March 22), according to a timeline of events provided by operator SMRT today (March 23).
Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were part of a 15-member maintenance crew sent to investigate an alarm that had gone off at a servicing point on the tracks near Pasir Ris MRT station at around 11.10am.
They were authorised to do so, in a practice – of sending a team to the tracks to investigate faults when trains services are running – that SMRT said yesterday was normal.
SMRT said in a statement today that an average of two to three such authorisations are given each day.
Before they are allowed to step back onto the tracks, the team is supposed to coordinate with the signal unit to ensure that oncoming trains stop and do not enter the affected sector.
“Our records do not show that this procedure took place,” SMRT said.
SMRT’S timeline of events
a) At 8.08am yesterday, a signalling condition monitoring device installed along the tracks near Pasir Ris MRT station registered a warning.
b) At 10.54am, authorisation was granted for the Permanent Way team and the Signal team to move down from the station platform, cross the track, and access the maintenance walkway in order to proceed to the location of the device.
c) The 15 members comprised one engineer, five assistant engineers, five technical officers and four trainees. Led by an experienced assistant engineer, they moved in a single file along the maintenance walkway (of approximately 0.5m width) beside the track toward the device location. They followed the safety procedure of walking in the direction facing oncoming train traffic.
d) Nasrulhudin and Muhammad Asyraf were following immediately behind the lead assistant engineer.
e) Before the team is allowed to step back on to the trackway, the following procedure must be carried out: The team must coordinate with the Signal unit at the station for oncoming trains to be brought to a stop and to ensure that no trains enter the affected sector. Our records do not show that this procedure took place.
f) Pasir Ris MRT station is a terminal station with two platforms. Trains arriving at Pasir Ris can berth at either platform. Trains can cross from one track to the other as they approach the station. In this accident, the train moving in automatic mode was routed to Platform 2. When the train captain saw staff on the track, he immediately applied emergency brakes but was unable to prevent the accident.
g) The accident took place at 11.08am and was immediately reported to the Operations Control Centre.