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How safe is a Metro coach?

delhi Updated: Jan 19, 2012 01:46 IST
Subhendu Ray
Subhendu Ray
Hindustan Times
Metro train

Tuesday night's incident - the second of its kind - in which a Metro train rolled on with a man's hand and ankle stuck between doors, has raised questions about the safety features of the coaches.

In both cases - one on February 6, 2009 and the other on Tuesday night - the commuters had a miraculous escape. But such incidents can be fatal, said a senior officer of the Central Industrial Security Force.

Moreover, till Wednesday night, Delhi Metro officials could not identify the fault in the train which had led to 25-year-old Soni Kumar being carried away to the next station with his ankle and hand stuck in a Metro coach. This, when Delhi Metro officials boast about proper maintenance and safety features of their trains. Kumar got stuck when he was trying to disembark from the train.

"Metro trains have been designed in such a way that they will move only when the doors are properly shut. If an object gets stuck, the automated system will open the doors,"

HS Anand, director (Rolling Stock), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), had said last Thursday in a press meet at Shastri Park.

A DMRC engineer said that in a bid to ensure high standards of the trains' reliability and the safety of commuters, a 19mm buffer is kept between the doors, so that even if an object gets stuck in the doors and the doors are centrally locked, one can manually open them partially.

Many commuters are often seen obstructing the train doors by placing objects such as coins and empty gutkha pouches on the floor that cause delays in Metro schedule. Every day, the cleaning staff removes empty gutkha pouches and other eatables, coins, chewing gum and marbles from the track of the doors, said DMRC officials.

But Tuesday's incident has been an eye-opener for many commuters. "Now whenever we board an overcrowded train, there will be a fear of getting stuck. Moreover, miracles do not happen every time," said Ranita Naskar of Noida, a regular Metro commuter.

Only last month, the DMRC had installed seven training simulators for its staff to help them maintain different sub-systems at its training institute at Shastri Park.

These simulators are for brakes, air supply, auxiliary system, traction system, train air-conditioning, train control management system as well as the door system.