CHENNAI: Metro commuters, who thronged the newly inaugurated stretch from DMS to Washermenpet on Monday morning, were in for a disappointment. Barely a day after services began on the route, trains were delayed for over six hours on Monday due to tripping of overhead electricity cable at Saidapet-Little Mount station.
Passengers using the service had a harrowing experience as only one line was functional during the period, resulting in long waiting time. The glitches were resolved by 2.30 pm.
Sources privy to the issue said that this particular technical glitch was a rare one and has occurred for the first time since the Chennai Metro Rail became operational. The problem was detected at the ramp located between Saidapet and Little Mount stations around 8.30 am on Monday.
“Pantograph — an apparatus mounted on the roof of the train — got entangled with the overhead cable. As a result, the electricity line tripped and four trains came to a halt,” said an official. Due to the ongoing trial runs, passengers will not be charged for travel along Phase-I stretch of Chennai Metro on Tuesday also, officials said.
When Express contacted CMRL officials, they confirmed the delay in services and said that the maintenance team is looking into the issue. “All routes between Washermenpet to AG-DMS in the Blue Line and Central to St Thomas Mount in the Green Line and Central to Airport are going as per schedule now as the problem was rectified by afternoon,” said a press note.
Sources said that a device called section insulator, which helps in separation of two electrical feeds while allowing Pantograph to pass, has not been functional at Saidapet station. “The impact of the problem could’ve been minimised if the section insular was working at Saidapet. Because of this, services from DMS have to be suspended temporarily. Officials were in a hurry to open the new stretch and such issues were overlooked,” said the source.
Instances of trains stopping abruptly have been increasing in CMRL, said members from the CMRL Employees Union. Since contract workers who lack proper technical training are directed to fill the posts of station controllers and loco pilots, trains have been halting abruptly, said employees.
“Recently, a beam was broken along the tracks as the driver, a contract worker, did not have the qualifications to operate the train. A week ago, services along Airport stretch were halted for two hours because of this,” said Elangovan, secretary of the union.