Metro issues new guidelines for emergencies after tunnel chaos

A train had broken down in a tunnel on a busy route leaving thousands of commuters stranded earlier this week.

New Delhi: Three days after a train broke down in a tunnel on a busy route leaving thousands of commuters stranded, the Delhi Metro on Friday came out with guidelines to deal with such emergencies following submission of a preliminary inquiry report into the incident.

After receiving the report into breakdown of a train on `yellow line`, DMRC managing director Mangu Singh issued guidelines which include ensuring a secondary backup system, lighting and ventilation inside the trains during emergencies and evacuation of passengers if the problem cannot be resolved within 10 minutes.

On June 11, an eight-coach metro train going to HUDA City Centre on Delhi Metro`s busy Yellow Line broke down in the middle of the tunnel between Central Secretariat and Udhyog Bhawan stations, giving a difficult time to over 1,791 passengers onboard the train and severely affecting metro services across the city during the morning rush hour.

The DMRC had appointed a three-member internal inquiry committee which on Friday submitted its report.

Members of the inquiry committee were -- executive director (Rolling Stock), executive director (Safety) and general manager (Operations).

"Such a failure has happened for the first time and the same is being investigated by a team of engineers from DMRC and the manufacturer to avoid recurrence of such incident," Anuj Dayal, executive director Corporate Communications said.

As per the report, the emergency brakes of train were applied following a problem in the software of the communication system.

In his guidelines, the DMRC chief said, arrangements for proper lighting and ventilation inside the coaches must be ensured within 10 minutes in case of similar incidents in future in the underground tunnel.

He has also instructed DMRC operational managers to start evacuation of passengers if the problem could not be resolved within 10 minutes.

The commuters in the train, which broke down, had a difficult time for nearly 90 minutes as there was no ventilation and proper lighting inside the coach. Panic-stricken passengers later opened the emergency doors and started walking on the tracks before they were escorted to safety by the metro staff. DMRC engineers have been asked to examine the feasibility of having a secondary backup system for train lighting and ventilation in an emergency situation to ensure that lights and ventilation are always functional, Dayal said.

The tunnel lighting in the underground tunnel should be reoriented by the Metro Electrical Engineers so that a clear view of the underground passage is available to the commuters in an evacuation scenario, the guidelines mentioned.

In such emergency situations, the DMRC Operational Managers should normally evacuate passengers if they are not able to rectify the fault through local troubleshooting and in case a rescue train has to be thrust into service the same will be done on the orders of the Operation Control Centre (OCC).

The DMRC will also launch an awareness campaign to cover the 2.2 million commuters using the Metro system to spread awareness about the procedures to be adopted during such emergency situations.