Metro enhances evacuation measures after train breakdown

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Three days after nearly two thousand commuters were stuck when a Delhi Metro train broke down inside a tunnel, the train operators have been directed to speed up the evacuation process in such incidents, Delhi Metro chief Mangu Singh said Friday.

Receiving the preliminary report and feedback from the public, Mangu Singh said: "In case passengers are stranded in the underground tunnel without lights and proper ventilation for more than ten minutes, the Metro operational managers should initiate evacuation of passengers."

Metro operational managers were asked to ensure adequate tunnel lighting and ventilation during evacuation, and that any natural obstructions are painted with luminous paint to avoid hurdling passengers in case they are being evacuated from the tunnel.

"The tunnel lighting in the underground tunnel will be reoriented by the Metro electrical engineers so that a clear view of the underground passage is available to the commuters in an evacuation scenario," said Metro executive director (corporate communications) Anuj Dayal.

On Tuesday at 9.24 a.m. an eight-coach Metro train carrying 1,791 passengers from Jahangirpuri-HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon was stranded in mid-section between Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations, as the emergency brake did not get released after it was applied.

However, the passengers, who were stuck for over an hour, pushed open the emergency exit and came out on the track, thus delaying rescue operations as well as passage on the opposite track.

"In such emergency situations the operational managers are asked to evacuate passengers if they are not able to rectify the fault through local trouble shooting," Dayal said.

Soon after the incident, the Metro engineers were asked to examine the feasibility of having a secondary backup system for train lightning and ventilation in an emergency situation to ensure that lights and ventilation are always "on".

"Such a failure has happened for the first time and a team of engineers from Delhi Metro and the manufacturer are investigating to avoid recurrence of such incident," Dayal added.

The Metro is also organising awareness campaign on the procedures to be adopted during such emergency situations.

The break-down caused major delays in the running of the trains and stranded thousands of commuters for hours on the entire length of the line.

Six trips between Jahangirpuri and HUDA City Centre and four round trips between Vishwavidyalaya and Qutub Minar were cancelled due to the train breakdown.

Delhi Metro makes over 2,800 trips a day, covering about 70,000 km and carrying around 2.2 million passengers on working days.

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