Late Monday afternoon Singapore’s MRT train was struck by lightning, while on its way to Bedok station, injuring the trains captain. According to the Hospital spokesperson, Changi General, he is in a stable condition and was placed under observation on Monday night, but refused to give any further information, as they want to protect his privacy and keep the matter confidential.
The transport operator advised that they have been in touch with the hospital, the doctors, as well as the train driver’s family, but are unable to disclose confidential information on the status of the driver.
Meteorological Service of Singapore advised Singapore’s newspaper TODAY that the lightning was over the central, northern and eastern parts of Singapore between the hours of 2 and 6 PM on Monday afternoon. The “lightning stroke” was detected at around 3:37 PM and SMRT has advised that this matter was still under investigation.
The train that the captain was driving stalled at 4 PM while approaching Bedok’s MRT station. The captain then complained that he was not feeling well and asked if he could get off at this station. The train was then withdrawn from service for investigation, which delayed the service between Paya Lebar and Tanah station by 10 minutes.
Those commuters working in the area remembered seeing the major lightning storm around that time and that the winds were so strong that it pushed open glass doors of the stores of the Bedok Mall, which is close to the MRT station.
It has been reported that this was not the first time that an incident of this nature occurred and that an SMRT train was struck by lightning on the North-South line on 11 May 2016, causing delays on the southbound service from Yihun to Yio Chu Kang train stations.
When lightning hits the lines, the electric current travels through the shell and wheels to the track of the train and not the cabin as it is protected by a “Faraday Cage” which is an enclosure made by the material to block electrical currents and fields such as lightning. This incident has been the last recorded incident that has affected a rail operator.