The Delhi Metro has decided to apologise for frequent snags that are crippling the Blue Line (Dwarka-Vaishali/Noida) through video messages. After two snags during peak hours on Wednesday, another snag disrupted movement of trains on Thursday morning.
According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the view and control of the signalling and automatic train control system (Blue Line) at Operation Control Centre (OCC) was lost at 11.28am due to power failure. As a result, the trains needed to be controlled manually, which led to bunching of trains. This was the third snag in less than 24 hours and seventh in 40 days.
“Through video messages, which will be displayed at Metro stations, we want to apologise to commuters for the problems they faced. The safety of commuters is our priority and that is why whenever there is a snag in control room, trains stop automatically. We are building a parallel backup system to avoid such delay in the future. We appreciate that passengers showed patience,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC spokesperson.
Dayal said that the DMRC will also use social media to inform passengers whenever such snag happens.
Over 50km of network, five interchange stations and 30% increase in the expected ridership, seem to be too much for the line and the DMRC is hoping that Phase-3 stations will share the burden.
The DMRC had estimated that ridership of this line to be 9.18 lakh per day by 2016, but in August 2015, it was 11.94 lakh in a day. This line carries over 30% of the Delhi Metro’s passengers and since most of the line is elevated, the vulnerability to snag is more.
“It is the longest route and most of it exposed. The problem in overhead wires happens because of heat and frequent thunderstorms, this line is most vulnerable. The track circuit problem occurs because of variation in temperature. Today, when a spark was noticed, the speed of the trains was slowed down as a precautionary measure. Since the line is getting old, it requires regular maintenance,” said a DMRC official.
The DMRC said that operations are controlled from the centralised control room and in case of loss of power supply, the screen at control room goes blank. “In such cases, we have divided the Blue Line in 17 interlocking station and trains are operated at local (station) level. The interlocking stations are then given permission to allow trains and control the movement of trains locally,” Dayal added.
An interlocking station is the station where trains can change tracks and have reversal facility.
On Thursday, the control came back to OCC at 11.43am. The OCC then started giving identification to each trains from 11.49am and finished by 12.20pm, but by that time 60 trains were on the track and due to bunching, the movement was slow.
The DMRC, however, is still not sure about the reason behind snag and said that detailed investigation into the probable cause of the fault will be started after revenue hours. An alternative channel for power supply back up has also been planned.