The fog on Thursday was not as dense as officials had initially predicted, but at least 100 trains coming into the city were delayed by 2 to 33 hours on Thursday. Weather experts have predicted that the dense fog will continue to persist over the next few days.
Railway officials said, due to dense fog, which reduced visibility to 100 metre in many areas, 48 trains were rescheduled from the stations in Delhi and 11 trains had to be cancelled. The temperature also dropped to 8.7°C on Thursday, according to the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC).
Train operations are affected from New Delhi up to Howrah due to low visibility on sections like Tundla, Varanasi, Muradabad and Lucknow. Since last night, trains coming to Delhi from Punjab are also affected as dense fog has reportedly decreased the visibility near Ambala station, bringing trains to standstill. Trains delayed by more than 20 hours include Neelanchal Express, Poorva Express, Lichchavi Express, Vikramshilla Express, Magadh Express and Udyan Abha Toofan Express.
Across the railway stations, passengers are seen huddled together, waiting for announcements of arrival and departure. Fog has left passengers stranded and with each day the number is rising. The passengers were seen lining up in queue to confirm the timings at inquiry counters.
Taking preventives measures, the security at the stations has been beefed up and additional staff has been deployed. A special winter roster of officers has also been prepared, who carry out night inspections and monitor punctuality of trains.
“The fog was not as dense as expected, and did not last as long we had initially thought. This could be because of urbanisation as discussed in the research paper by Ritesh Gautam of IIT Mumbai. It is said that with increased urbanisation, there is also an increase in greenhouse gases, which raises the temperatures. This raised temperature may have helped lift the fog,” said a weather expert.
The situation is likely to remain same as the metrological department has forecast dense fog in the coming days. “Wind directions are expected to change by Saturday, which may help reduce some fog, but the dense fog may persist until then,” said the expert.
The RWFC has predicted dense to very dense fog on Friday, with a maximum and minimum temperature of 24°C and 9°C, respectively. The MeT Department at the IGI Airport has also released statements suggesting that they are also expecting dense fog on Friday and Saturday.