Singapore, 22 May 2019
Joint LTA-SBS-SMRT News Release: Joint Ground Deployment Exercise to Validate and Improve Rail Incident Management
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) conducted a joint ground deployment exercise with rail operators SBS Transit (SBST) and SMRT at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station this afternoon. Codenamed ‘Exercise Greyhound 2019’, it is part of a series of regular exercises to ensure that SBST and SMRT maintain a high level of operational readiness in managing rail incidents. This is the sixth edition of Exercise Greyhound since its inauguration in 2012.
2. The exercise, which involved about 100 personnel including representatives from LTA, SBST and SMRT, allowed the operators to validate their Operations Control Centre procedures and the contingency plans for bridging bus services and deployment of ground staff in the event of prolonged train service disruptions. It also allowed the operators and LTA to validate their coordinated approach to a multi-line disruption. Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Communications and Information Dr Janil Puthucheary and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng observed the exercise.
3. During this afternoon’s exercise, train services on all rail lines continued as usual without affecting commuters. LTA, SBST and SMRT staff simulated a scenario in which three separate rail incidents occurred within a short timeframe during the evening peak hour on the North-South Line (NSL), Circle Line (CCL) and North-East Line (NEL) respectively. The first two simulated incidents involved service delays of more than an hour on the NSL between Newton and City Hall stations, as well as the CCL between Bras Basah and Esplanade stations. The third simulated incident which affected the NEL was caused by a traction power trip between Dhoby Ghaut and Clarke Quay stations, with no train services between Outram Park and Farrer Park stations.
4. As part of the simulation, SBST and SMRT activated their train service disruption response plans to provide free bridging bus services between affected stations. Station staff were deployed on site to assist commuters to the bridging bus points. LTA and the operators also simulated the dissemination of situational updates through station and in-train announcements and social media platforms. With the disruption of three MRT lines, tight coordination among LTA, SBST, SMRT and the relevant agencies was crucial to ensure timely recovery and smooth commuter management. Contingency plans for temporary road closures near the vicinity were also drawn up to facilitate the movement of bridging buses ferrying commuters.
5. LTA, as the exercise coordinator, assessed the rail operators’ contingency plans in managing the prolonged train service disruptions and their processes for incident reporting and management. The exercise also tested the operators’ bridging bus plans and the area management plans at affected stations and bus stops to facilitate commuter flow. LTA will review the actions carried out today and share its observations with the operators, so that key learnings may be incorporated into the operators’ contingency plans.
6. Said LTA's Chief Executive Mr Ngien Hoon Ping: “Over the last few years, LTA, SBST and SMRT have worked hard to improve rail reliability and they have shown marked progress. Nevertheless, we should always prepare for scenarios such as disruptions and be ready when called upon. Today’s exercise has allowed us to test and validate our operators’ contingency plans and their ability to coordinate incident responses to ensure transport connectivity while working towards the common goal of resuming train services speedily and safely.”
7. Mr Yang Ban Seng, Chief Executive Officer of SBS Transit, said: "Combined ground deployment exercises are valuable as they help to hone our emergency preparedness and coordinate our efforts effectively with SMRT, the other rail operator. It also provides us with the opportunity to test our contingency plans and make adjustments, where necessary, that will enable us to minimise inconvenience caused to passengers in the unfortunate event of a rail disruption.”
8. Mr Lee Ling Wee, Chief Executive Officer of SMRT Trains said: “This joint exercise with LTA and SBST to test our operational readiness has helped to prepare our staff to manage complex rail incidents. SMRT is continually improving our ability to strengthen the robustness and reliability of our rail systems in the event of a contingency.”