SMRT’s 2012 safety assurance derailed after train takes off with doors wide open

Seven years after SMRT assured the public its trains cannot move with open doors, an MRT train has taken off with doors wide open and set in motion social media-fuelled safety concerns.

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A seven-year-old statement from SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is circulating online as it seemingly contradicts a recent incident, when an SMRT train travelled some distance on the North-South Line from Ang Mo Kio MRT station with the doors of one compartment wide open.

Seven years ago, citizen journalism portal Stomp published a photo that featured what looked like an SMRT train moving with doors open. According to a Straits Times report from 7 years ago, SMRT came out at the time to assure passengers “that its trains will not be able to move off if the doors are not properly closed.”

In a statement, SMRT had then said: “We wish to reassure commuters that the MRT system is built with many fail-safe features to ensure passenger safety.”

On Mar 11, photos and videos circulating on social media showed that the doors in one compartment of a train moving from Ang Mo Kio MRT station along the North-South Line remained open as the train was in transit, putting commuters at risk.

The train moved a distance of 200m before stopping and returning to Ang Mo Kio station where passengers were able to disembark safely.

SMRT later reported that a station manager had been conducting checks on a faulty door when the train started to move. The rail operator revealed that the station manager had “made an error” which allowed the train to run while a door was open.

An SMRT spokesperson said: “Initial investigations showed that the station manager had made an error that allowed the train to move with a door still open. We have suspended the station manager with immediate effect.

“Safety is our top priority. We are sorry that this incident happened.”

This is, however, not the first time such an incident has occurred.

In January 2016, the doors of an MRT train flung open while the train had been in transit along the Bukit Panjang LRT line. Disciplinary action was taken against the SMRT staff who had closed the train doors but had not ensured these was locked.

MRT passengers from Ang Mo Kio rode the train with doors open