New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Thousands of passengers were stranded Monday at overcrowded stations and in crawling trains as a nearly two-hour-long technical fault hit Delhi Metro's Blue line between Dwarka and Noida City Centre/Vaishali terminals, an official said.
By the time the snag was rectified, two hours after the problem occurred, large crowds piled up at platforms all along the busy route that links Dwarka in west Delhi to Noida and Vaishali in Uttar Pradesh.
During the trouble, the frequency of trains dipped and most trains halted for up to 10 minutes at stations along the route, complained commuters, adding that slow trains coming after long intervals led to crowds piling up at all stations, especially between Dwarka and Rajiv Chowk.
The snag was detected around 1.30 p.m. and set right at 3.12 p.m., an official of the Delhi Metro said.
"Metro services of Line 3 (Dwarka-Noida City Centre) and Line 4 (from Yamuna Bank to Vaishali) were running slow following a technical problem in the overhead electrification, which transmits energy to trains, on the Dwarka stretch at Shadipur and Patel Nagar," a Delhi Metro official said.
The overhead electrification snag not only slowed traction but also resulted in the airconditioning system of the trains being switched off. This made life in the jampacked coaches "a sweltering hell", a breathless commuter said.
The crowd was menacingly thick at Rajiv Chowk, the busiest Delhi Metro interchange station through which the Blue line passes.
"This was too much," said an exhausted Digambar Sharma, who boarded a packed train at Rajiv Chowk. "The compartment I was in was crammed as everyone wanted to get into the train."
Trains also stopped for 5-10 minutes on the route on numerous occasions, said Devansh, a student travelling from Rajiv Chowk to Noida.
"It took me one hour from 1.30 p.m. to reach Noida Sector 16, a distance which usually takes just 30 minutes," he said.
Normally, a train plies every three minutes between Dwarka and Yamuna Bank. From there, alternate trains go to either Vaishali or Noida City Centre.
A Metro official said regular announcements were made at all stations and in trains about the delay due to the technical problem.
But commuters felt that mere announcements served no purpose and the Delhi Metro needed to have a quicker response system to address such "technical problems".
"As the Delhi Metro network spreads further and footfalls increase, problems are bound to occur more frequently on the system that is now ten years old. DMRC needs to restore disrupted services much quicker than it is doing at present," said Deepak Kumar, who took three hours to travel from Dwarka Sector 12 to Noida Sector 16 -- a journey that normally takes 75 minutes.
The 49-km Blue line covers 43 stations in some of the most populous parts of the capital and is the longest Delhi Metro route.