Technical problem led to LRT train braking suddenly

KUALA LUMPUR: A technical problem caused a light rail transit (LRT) train to initiate its emergency brake, jolting all passengers on board during the incident on Monday night.

RapidKL, a subsidiary of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, said the incident occurred in a tunnel at 11.20pm,, between the Dang Wangi and Kampung Baru stations.

In issuing an apology to the affected passengers, the company said it took note of the emergency braking incident which raised concern among passengers about the safety level of the LRT trains it operated.

"In that incident, Train 64 that was driven automatically (without a driver) experienced technical problems while on its way from the Dang Wangi LRT station to the Kampung Baru LRT station.

"Guided by the safety settings of the Bombardier Mark II train system, Train 64 applied an emergency brake so the operation stops immediately to prevent potentially dangerous and unwanted incidents from occurring.

"The emergency brake is applied automatically when the system detects a technical problem when the train is operating.

"It is a 'failsafe' technique that needs to be done so that only safe trains are allowed to continue their journey," RapidKL said in a statement.

It added that depending on the speed of the train, when the emergency brake is applied, standing passengers could lose balance or fall if they were not holding the handrails provided.

"Subsequently, Train 64 was removed from service at the KLCC station and operations staff helped remove passengers from the affected train to the platform to catch another train.

"RapidKL apologises and assures appropriate follow-up action will be taken to ensure such incidents will not be repeated in future.

"We would like to emphasise that all technical problems experienced by our operating trains are thoroughly investigated, so preventive or maintenance measures can be taken immediately," it said.

On emergency brakes that occur suddenly, RapidKL said it was in discussion with the train manufacturer to devise a less abrupt measure, to prevent any injury to passengers.

It also gave its assurances that its staff at the stations were alert, ready to assist passengers and share the latest information on train conditions and service operations, so they could better plan their next trip.

The New Straits Times reported that hundreds of passengers on a Kelana Jaya Line LRT were jolted, when one of its trains suddenly braked in a tunnel.

The incident – on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri – left many dazed and slightly bruised, as the train, heading towards Gombak, screeched to a halt.

One of the passengers on board was a journalist with a prominent media company, on his way home.

He told the NST that the affected train first braked hard, then relaxed and finally made a grinding full-stop.

"Many standing passengers, even some of those seated, were caught off-guard and were 'flung about' in their coaches.

"Some appeared traumatised but fortunately, no one seemed to be 'seriously' injured," he said.

Monday's incident is in the vicinity of a head-on collision between two LRT trains – one fully-loaded with passengers and another empty one – in a tunnel between KLCC and Kampung Baru stations, which occurred at 8.45pm on May 24, last year.

It left 139 passengers injured, eight of them seriously.

Prasarana owns and operates the country's urban Rapid Rail services that include three LRT networks, the KL Monorail and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line.

Prasarana also owns and operates the Rapid Bus services in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Pahang.

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