Elevation, exposure, crowds: Why Delhi Metro’s Blue Line breaks down so often

Updated on Jan 04, 2017 02:50 PM IST
With a network running over 50 km, five interchange stations and 30% increase in the expected ridership, the Blue Line may be crumbling under its own pressure. But the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hopes that phase-III stations will help reduce the burden.
Long queues at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station.(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
Long queues at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station.(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Four snags in less than 30 days have raised questions on the efficiency of Delhi Metro’s longest and busiest line.

With a network running over 50 km, five interchange stations and 30% increase in the expected ridership, the Blue Line may be crumbling under its own pressure. But the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hopes that phase-III stations will help reduce the burden.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) estimated that the ridership of the line by 2016 would be 9.18 lakh per day but in August, 2015, it was 11.94 lakh in a day. This line carries over 30% of Metro passengers and since most of the part is elevated, the vulnerability to snag is more.

“It is the longest route and most of it exposed to nature. The problem in overhead wires happens because of change in atmosphere and because of heat and frequent thunderstorms, this line is the most vulnerable. The track circuit problem occurs because of variation in temperature. Today also, a spark was noticed and as a precautionary measure, speed was slowed down. Also, since the line is getting old, it requires regular maintenance,” said a DMRC official, requesting anonymity.

“The wires are in open and even when a kite or bird gets stuck, the operation gets affected. Also the growth is more than expected due to which at many stations, the waiting time is more than what it should be. Since majority of interchange stations are on this line, passengers travelling in Delhi Metro network have to come to this line. All things combined have led to frequent snags,” said a DMRC official, on condition of anonymity.

Read | Speed restriction throws Metro trains on Blue Line off schedule

It is not only the snag in the line but crowding at the stations too, which is causing problems. According to sources, waiting time during peak hours is more than five minutes at Karol Bagh, Vaishali, Laxmi Nagar and despite having enough entry/exit gates, majority of the stations face snag at the Automated Fare Collection (AFC) gates.

This line has 44 stations from Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida City Centre with a length of 51.35 km and a 8.85 km branch line consisting of seven stations from Yamuna Bank to Vaishali.

The second longest line is the Yellow Line, which consists of 37 stations from Samaypur Badli in Delhi to HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon. The line with a length of 48.8 kilometers is mostly underground and has seen fewer snags.

Recently, track circuit failure has crippled the operations on two occasions while other lines have also faced problems. Last week, a tin sheet got stuck in overhead wire in Azadpur — part of the Yellow Line. The ITO-Faridabad line has also developed snags on few occasions.

Frequent snags have made commute on the Blue Line a pain for Delhiites
December 25: Repair work on the track between Yamuna Bank and Indrapratha delays trains
December 18: Problem in track circuit between Yamuna Bank and Indraprastha hits operations
December 8: Smoke detected from a train at Rajendra Nagar causes panic.
June 3: Metro train services on Line – 3/4 (Dwarka to Noida City Center/Vaishali) affected throughout the day as track circuit fails. Trains run on restricted speed of 25 km/hour lead to bunching.
May 5: Train services at ITO Metro station of Line-6 (Violet Line) disrupted for four hours as a train gets stuck at the Mandi House station.
April 4: Passengers stuck during peak hours due to technical glitch on Dwarka-Vaishali/Noida and ITO-Faridabad line.
July 8: Passengers evacuated from a train after it got stuck between Yamuna Bank and Vaishali due to a snag.
June: Thousands of commuters stranded after services on the Blue Line (Dwarka-Noida corridor) are hit for over two hours.
October 25: Service disrupted after the signalling system near Yamuna Bank interchange station fails to set directions for trains coming from Dwarka.
August 20: Services hit on the Dwarka-Noida line due to technical problems.

    Faizan Haidar writes on the Delhi government, city politics, transport, aviation, and social welfare. A journalist for a decade, he also tracks issues such as trafficking and labour exploitation in Delhi and other states.

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