Several thousand passengers were stuck in metro trains, while many others were stranded at metro stations for hours due to a signalling failure near the Mandi House metro station on the Noida–Dwarka line, on Thursday morning.
It was one of the worst technical snags in the history of the Delhi Metro. A large number of trains remained stuck between stations with thousands of passengers on board for long durations as teams of metro engineers and officials struggled to find and rectify the problem during peak office hours.
Metro officials claimed that the trouble started at 8.45am and was rectified at 2.12pm.
Passengers complained that there were no announcements inside the train and after a while, the train operator also stopped responding when commuters tried to contact him."The air-conditioning wasn’t working properly either. Since the train was crowded, I felt claustrophobic and nauseated. It was one of the most difficult two hours of my life," said Rajani Gupta, a central government employee.
The 49.93 kilometre long blue line or Dwarka–Noida line is the longest and most crowded metro sections and is equally prone to technical glitches. More than 5.5 lakh passengers travel on this section every day.
According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesman Anuj Dayal, the delay was caused due to track circuit (signalling) failure between Pragati Maidan and Mandi House metro stations.
“It took us some time to identify and diagnose the problem. That is why we could not tell passengers about how much time it was expected to take. We had to make three attempts — the first one at 11 am — by stopping the train movement completely to rectify the problem,” Dayal said.
Delhi Metro officials claimed that trains continue to ply on both the lines during those 6.5 hours when they identified and rectified the problem. The trains, however, were run on manual mode and the speed was restricted to 25km per hour on the 2kilometre stretch between Pragati Maidan and Mandi House."Trains was stopped three times for about 10 minutes each on both the tracks during which our teams identified and rectified the problem. Since there was bunching of trains, the excess crowd inside the trains as well as at the metro stations was expected," Dayal said.