Office-goers, students, and countless other commuters in south Kolkata were in for a harrowing experience as a technical glitch in the power supply system brought Metro Rail services to a screeching halt for over three excruciating hours on a Saturday morning. This unexpected snag disrupted the daily routine of thousands, leaving them frustrated and struggling to find alternative transportation options. Snag Disrupts Metro
A Morning Marred by Technical Woes
Trouble Strikes at Kalighat Station
The significant incident unfolded at around 8 am when a train headed for Dakshineswar became immobile at Kalighat station. The primary cause of this unfortunate situation was a critical power supply problem. A glitch in the power supply system disrupted Metro services in South Kolkata on a Saturday morning, leading to chaos during the rush hour.
Power Block Intervention Snag Disrupts Metro during Rush Hour
Understanding the urgency of the situation, authorities promptly enacted a power block between Rabindra Sarobar and Jatin Das Park, with Kalighat station situated in the middle. This crucial intervention took place at precisely 8:12 am, signifying the start of a challenging ordeal for Metro commuters.
The issue arose at Kalighat Metro station around 8 am, and services on the North-South Line were affected for more than three hours. During this disruption, trains were operating on a single track between Dum Dum and Tollygunge stations.
Three Hours of Disarray
For the following three grueling hours, Metro Rail services were halted between Maidan and Tollygunge. Passengers anxiously awaited updates, holding out hope for a swift resolution to their predicament. Commuters faced a challenging time as they were compelled to wait for extended periods at the stations. Many individuals had no choice but to seek alternative modes of transportation to reach their destinations.
The Road to Recovery
It wasn’t until 11:02 am that the first train departed from Maidan station towards New Garia, indicating the return to regular service. Subsequently, at 11:24 am, a train from Tollygunge to Dakshineswar followed suit, bringing a collective sigh of relief to the beleaguered passengers. Metro authorities attributed the snag to a technical fault in the power supply system. They mentioned that services were fully restored at around 11:30 am after rectifying the fault.
Throughout the disruption, Metro authorities were able to maintain limited services. Trains operated between Dakshineswar and Maidan in the north and between Tollygunge and New Garia in the southern outskirts of the city. Thankfully, Maidan and Tollygunge stations had the necessary infrastructure to accommodate these route adjustments. However, the snag triggered widespread frustration among commuters, prompting them to vent their anger on social media platforms.
Commuters Left in the Lurch
At approximately 9:30 am, a large crowd of frustrated passengers congregated outside Tollygunge Metro station, their daily plans left in uncertainty and limbo.
An Unfortunate Meeting Delay
Pushkar Rai, a Haridevpur resident employed at a private firm on Ganesh Chandra Avenue, expressed his frustration, saying, “I have a meeting at 10:30 am. I could have easily reached on time using the Metro. Now, I’m uncertain if I’ll make it at all.” In desperation, he tried to book an app-based cab, but there were no available drivers in sight. Some commuters shared that they were running late for work because of the disruption, while others mentioned they had to incur additional expenses for taxis and buses.
Chaos at Multiple Stations
Similar scenes of frustration and inconvenience unfolded at Kalighat, Rabindra Sadan, Jatin Das Park, and Rabindra Sarobar stations. Overcrowded buses compelled passengers to cling precariously to the footboards, and auto-rickshaws and yellow cabs seized the opportunity to overcharge commuters. The Metro authorities have issued an apology for the disruption faced by commuters and stated that they are implementing measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
Apologies from Metro Authorities
Following the chaos, Kausik Mitra, the Chief Public Relations Officer of Metro Railway, extended a heartfelt apology to the passengers who were affected. “We are profoundly sorry for the inconvenience caused,” he conveyed on behalf of the Metro Railway team.
Unveiling the Technical Glitch
A Spark of Trouble
The root cause of the chaos was traced back to when the motorman of the ill-fated train entering Kalighat station spotted a spark in the third rail at approximately 7:55 am. This seemingly minor spark would set off a chain reaction of events.
The Third Rail Current Connector
The third rail current connector (TRCC) is a vital component located beneath the train, responsible for drawing power from the Metro track’s third rail. To prioritize passenger safety, the third rail is safeguarded by a fire-retardant plastic shroud board. This board plays a crucial role in preventing electrocution in the event of accidental falls onto the tracks, as the third rail carries a potent 750 volts of electricity.
The Breach and Its Consequences
The Metro engineer conducting the investigation identified a breach or gap between the third rail and the shroud board as the probable cause of the disruption. This unexpected breach had disrupted the consistent flow of electricity, leading to the chaotic state of the Metro Rail service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What caused the disruption during rush hour?
A: VThe disruption during rush hour was caused by a gap breach between the third rail and the protective shroud board, which led to a power supply failure.
2. How long did the Metro services remain suspended?
A: Metro Rail services were suspended for over three hours during the incident.
3. Were alternative transportation options available during the disruption?
A: Yes, Metro authorities managed to operate truncated services and commuters resorted to overcrowded buses, autos, and taxis.
4. Did Metro authorities apologize for the inconvenience?
A: Yes, Kausik Mitra, the chief public relations officer of Metro Railway, issued a formal apology to the affected passengers.
5. What safety measures are in place on Metro tracks?
A: Metro tracks have a third rail protected by a fire-retardant plastic shroud board to prevent electrocution in case of accidents.
6. How did Metro services finally resume?
A: Normal Metro services resumed after the power supply issue was resolved, with the first train departing at 11:02 am.
The chaos resulting from the snag that disrupted Metro services during the rush hour in South serves as a clear reminder of the crucial role public transportation plays in the lives of numerous commuters. While this incident undoubtedly caused inconvenience and frustration, it also underscored the necessity for rigorous maintenance and safety protocols to guarantee continuous and secure Metro operations. Commuters can only hope that such disruptions remain rare as they persist in relying on the Metro for their daily commutes.