Services on the Delhi Metro’s Blue Line (Dwarka-Noida City Centre/Vaishali) were severely hit on Wednesday, after trains lost contact with the operations control centre (OCC), the nerve centre of the Delhi Metro network. Commuters were stranded on the 50-km long corridor between Noida and Dwarka through the day.
The line, which carries over 8.5 lakh people daily on an average, splits into two at the Yamuna Bank station.
While intermittent snags were being reported since morning, communication between the OCC, located in the Metro bhawan, and the trains had completely snapped for around 30 minutes in the afternoon. A similar blackout had occurred in January, 2017.
This triggered long delays as trains crawled between stations and stopped for over five minutes at every station. Distances that usually take not more than 40 minutes to cover, such as the stretch between Noida City Centre and Rajiv Chowk, took over 90 minutes.
As the giant screen — where train movements are monitored on a real-time basis — at the OCC went blank, authorities were forced to roll out the alternative arrangement, where trains were controlled at the local level from around 17 interlocking stations along the line.
Under the arrangement, each of these interlocking stations are equipped to control the signalling system and operate the trains at a restricted speed. There are 44 trains on the Blue Line.
“The view and control of the signalling and Automatic Train Control system on Blue Line at OCC was intermittently getting lost today between Karol Bagh and Dwarka section. As a result, trains were being locally controlled as and when such view loss was happening, resulting in intermittent bunching/hold up of trains for brief spells,” the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said in a statement.
“Between 3 pm to 3.30 pm, the loss of view was for the entire Blue Line, which created bunching on overall line before being restored again at 3.30 pm. The intermittent issue was resolved at 4.23 pm,” it added. The issue resurfaced again at 7 pm.
The Blue Line is considered the most snag-prone in the 317-km-long DMRC network. Metro attributes the frequent glitches to its largely overground presence, making it more vulnerable to atmospheric factors such as temperature fluctuations and damage by external objects like metal-coated threads of kites.