New Delhi: Thousands of metro commuters were left stranded at various stations on Jehangirpuri-HUDA City Centre line after a train broke down in the tunnel between Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan stations during the morning rush hour on Tuesday.
The incident happened around 9.24 AM, when an eight-coach metro train going to HUDA City Centre, on Delhi Metro`s busy Yellow Line, faced technical problem in the middle of the tunnel between the two stations, forcing authorities to evacuate 1,791 passengers, including women and children a senior Delhi Metro official said.
Panicky commuters even forced open the emergency door to come out on the tracks and started to walk towards the Central Secretariat before they were escorted to safety by the metro staff.
The DMRC has formed a three-member committee to find out the causes of failure and to suggest evacuation procedures in the underground tunnel.
The train services were badly affected and remained suspended for about an hour-and-half, causing inconvenience to the commuters and office-goers who were forced to frantically search for other modes of transport to reach their destination. The disruption led to bunching of trains on the corridor, which was finally cleared only by the evening.
"The train came to a halt at 9.24 AM suddenly after its emergency brakes were applied automatically due to some technical reason. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation`s (DMRC) Operations Control Centre (OCC) and train staff attempted to troubleshoot and restart the train but they failed," said Anuj Dayal, Executive Director (Corporate Communications).
Giving the sequence of event, Dayal said, by 9.37 AM the operation`s managers decided to evacuate a total of 1,791 passengers, who were onboard the snag-hit train by using another train which was behind it.
But the metro authorities had to dropped their plans as commuters forced open the emergency door and came out on the tracks. They started to move towards the Central Secretariat, Dayal said, they were evacuated by metro staffs.
"As some passengers had entered into the other adjacent tracks, that is on HUDA City Centre and Jehangirpuri line, they were evacuated by the help of metro staff which took around an hour.
All the 1,791 passengers including women and children were brought safely to Central Secretariat metro station, Dayal said.
There was utter chaos at the metro stations between Udyog Bhawan and Green Park as there were no metro services and people were stranded without any information.
"There was so much confusion but the only announcement being made was that the train services were disrupted due to technical snag," said Antara, a bank official.
Though metro ran two short loop services between Green Park to HUDA City Centre and Central Secretariat to Jehangirpuri to ease the rush but it was of no avail. DMRC also cancelled six round trips between Jehangirpuri and HUDA City Centre and four round trips between Vishwavidyalaya and Qutub Minar.
Five round trips were delayed and to clear the rush at Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate metro stations, DMRC rushed two empty trains from Vishwavidyalaya to these stations.
The snag-hit train was later taken to Green Park metro station at around 11 AM, after which services resumed but normalcy returned only by the evening.
During the disruption, trains were running at restricted speed at various stations, which led to bunching of trains on the corridor, which was finally cleared only by the evening.
During the peak hours, trains are run at a frequency of three minutes on this corridor but due to the incident trains were running at half and hour interval, some commuters complained.
"I had to go to for a job interview at Gurgaon. I boarded metro at 9.15 AM from New Delhi but I was stuck in the mess for about two hours and finally I missed my interview," said Amit Saurav, an IT professional.
Similar was the story of Ritesh Kumar, who had to go to Nirman Vihar. He boarded the metro at Saket Metro station at 9.30 AM but he reached AIIMS metro station at 11 AM.
"I had reach o office by 10 AM but could not reach as I was stuck in metro till 11 AM, so decided to take a bus which was also not available and the autorickshaws were demanding exhorbitant charges, so I decided to go back to home but even for that I had to stand for about an hour to get a bus," he said.
The DMRC committee consisting of Executive Director (Safety) SC Jindal, Executive Director (rolling stock) OH Pandey and General Manager (Operations) Vikash Kumar will find out the causes of failure and suggest additional methodologies to manage the evacuation procedures in the underground tunnel.