Khaw Boon Wan apologises for MRT collision, says he is just as upset as commuters


Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has apologised to commuters for the MRT collision at Joo Koon station this morning in which 28 people suffered injuries.

Calling this morning’s collision “the first major incident involving the new signalling system,” while speaking to reporters after a joint press conference with SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Khaw said he was as upset as commuters and added:

“It’s an awful day…Commuters were inconvenienced and some were even injured. So we are deeply sorry for that. Those who were injured and are in hospitals, the Second Minister (for Transport), Ng Chee Meng as well as Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Lam (Pin Min) visited all of them. They have been most understanding and we are deeply grateful.”


"It's an awful day today": Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan apologises to commuters after the train collision which caused delays on the East-West and North-South lines.

Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, 15 November 2017

When asked whether a Committee of Inquiry will be called, Khaw responded that this will only be determined after further investigation, adding that no Committee will be called if the facts surrounding the incident are clear.

He also revealed that he advised SMRT and LTA to suspend train services on the East-West Line tomorrow, so that system provider Thales can conduct a comprehensive check:

“Thales is confident of the system and I advised the team, ‘lets play doubly safe’- safety is involved. That’s why I advised them to suspend the Tuas West Extension (operations) tomorrow. Then we have a whole day to do a thorough check before we resume the Tuas West extension.”

At the joint conference called to explain preliminary findings on the collision contact between two trains, SMRT and LTA revealed that the “inadvertent” disabling of a software protection feature caused one train to hit another stalled train at Joo Koon station.

LTA deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng that the first train departed Ulu Pandan with a software protection feature that had been “inadvertently removed” when it passed a faulty signaling circuit:

“This train then arrived at Joo Koon station without the feature,” said Mr Chua. “This resulted in it giving off a train profile on the new signaling system of a three-car train instead of a six-car train.” 
“As a result, the second train (behind) detected the first train as a three-car train and misjudged the distance between the two, causing a collision.” 

Chua said there was no indication that the removal of the software protection feature was due to human action and added that a thorough investigation is underway to get to the bottom of the issue.

He explained:

“The new trackside signaling circuit is still a work-in-progress and as the train passed by, we observed this (software protection) feature got removed.”

The authorities also provided further details on the injuries sustained by commuters hurt by the collision. Chua said most of the injured commuters were treated for falls and bruises, while one suffered a face injury and a broken tooth.

Other commuters also suffered facial injuries when they crashed into the grab bars when the collision occurred.

SMRT’s Senior Vice President of Rail Operations on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), Alvin Kek revealed that care teams were deployed to help injured commuters and that SMRT has a compensation process in place for such events.

Chua further added:

“Obviously the situation is not satisfactory, we are concerned and will work closely with SMRT on this.
“There’s also a technical bit here and we must be clear about responsibilities. This incident involve technical aspects and we need to iron those out with Thales.
“But ensuring the safety of our commuters remains our priority.”

The ensuing service breakdown on the East-West Line following the collision is incidentally not the only train line breakdown today. The Circle Line and the North-South Line also experienced service disruptions today.

All three train lines are managed by SMRT.


  1. Khaw Boon Wan, You are a “respected senior” minister in the country.

    You took the role as this country’s minister. As a minister, you will have burdens and difficult task to tackle.

    Mechanical stuffs are very different from biological beings.

    We biologically can heal ourselves when we suffered from cold, fever or whatever.

    But mechanical stuffs needs manual repair.
    You cannot just sleep through the whole incident and hope that your MRT system will heal itself miraculously.

    Please. Wake up on time, go to work on time, after you sign in, stay in your position. Don’t sign in then go back home sleep then at 5pm go back work place sign out.

    It’s not a good example for your SMRT staffs.

  2. No, you do not get to be on our side and claim upset. You are not one of us and do not live our realities. Stay put and accept your share of responsibilities. Please don’t play your games of abdication

  3. 厉害了,SMRT竟然还拿到了汤神东海岸线(棕褐线)的运营权我也是无语了。先是地铁隧道里积水,现在2辆列车碰撞,一天出现3次延误实在是太他妈的罕见了。新加坡可以申请吉尼斯世界纪录了,世界上地铁故障发生频率最多的国家。

  4. “Everything works, whether its water, electricity, gas, telephone, telexes, it just has to work. If it doesn’t work, I want to know why, and if I am not satisfied, and I often was not, the chief goes, and I have to find another chief. Firing the chief is very simple.”

    So how??

  5. Is not your fault…Just push downward like what u do usually…So unusual of you…Just wondering who is the poor one going to get big time from you behind the scene

  6. In recent times train commuters are already facing frustration, uncertainty and inconvenience with the delays and breakdowns of the train system. Now there will be the additional fear of the possibility of getting injured onboard the train due to system failure. Morale, confidence and pride in our train system are at an all time low.

  7. Jokes aside…could this happen again? And if it happens at 80-90km/h …how? Instead of 26 injured…become 26 dead then WE REALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT issit?

  8. LTA deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng and his set of analysis sounded to me like a cheating husband trying to explain to his wife the reason why he cheated on her in full details .
    Due to the unforeseen circumstance of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time , I stumble across this beautiful woman whom may have caused an reaction of my red blood cells which in turn sent a undesirable signal to my brain , causing the blood vessel of the male genital to expand in a tremendous rate and …..
    Fxxk you , a collision is a collision … imagine if my love ones are one of the 23 who were conveyed to the hospital , do you think I fxxking care ?
    The people of Singapore is not going to care too , ok about who is going to resign ….
    Have you gotten the list ready ?

  9. LTA must explain why no emergency brake was applied by the driver eventhough signal was faulty? Or he applied and that too failed? Or he was waiting for instruction from control. When 2 ypung boys were killed on track , country should have woke up. Not only Minister , this rotten sweep under the carpet culture is responsible. Thanks PAP , this is the First World Swiss standard you promised ?

  10. Very easy to say sorry or apologies! Now it is only injury but the next one may be death! By then still say sorry or apologies? ? Need no terrorist to bomb the train!!

  11. They claimed that their men were the creme de la creme and people of impeccable character, which warranted their obscene salaries, but they had only displayed they were nothing more than a bunch of mercenaries. They do not take ownership of responsibilities and pushed the blame to their subordinates whenever something went wrong. And of course, there were those who tried to score points in the eyes of their masters, by supporting their errant colleague only to display their true characters to the people. It’s sadder everyday for the people of Singapore

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