Thousands of commuters were stranded at Delhi's railways stations as dense fog, failure in the northern power grid and rail accidents in Uttar Pradesh caused several hours of delay or cancellations for trains arriving at and originating from the national Capital on Saturday.
Starting early in the morning, railway officials rescheduled as many as 35 trains from Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazarat Nizamuddin railway stations as the day progressed. A total of 52 trains were late while 11 trains were diverted, said railway officials, adding, “Only nine trains were cancelled. This includes two trains cancelled due to fog and six due to railway accidents.”
Due to disruption in electric supply after a grid failure, a number of trains run by electric locomotives came to a standstill.
“As many as 11 important trains were run using diesel locomotives,” a railway release said.
Platforms and waiting rooms were overflowing with thousands of passengers who waited desperately for any and every information from railway officials. People were also seen parked with their luggage on all foot-over-bridges connecting platforms.
There were information boards displaying new timings, cancellations, etc, but their number was far less than the requirement. Enquiry counters saw extraordinarily long queues. Despite arrangements by railway staff, scores of people were seen searching for authentic information.
“There is no proper announcement. The best … rather worst … I can describe the situation is that of utter chaos,” pointed out 63-year-old ex-Armyman R M Singh, who was traveling with three other members of his family from Delhi to Amritsar.
The rescheduling ranged from two hours (the Hazarat Nizamuddin Amritsar Shah-e-Punjab train was rescheduled from 6.10 am to 8.00 am) to more than five hours: Delhi junction - Jogbani Seemanchal Express departed at 11.50 am as against scheduled time of 7.25 am.
For some trains, the delay spilled over to next day like the New Delhi - Islampur Magadh Express was rescheduled from 8.10 pm on Saturday to 4.30 am on Sunday, according officials.
Officials expressed the possibility of a similar scene if fog conditions prevailed on Sunday.