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Passengers vault Metro third rail

Metro Railway passengers jumped over high-voltage third rails to quickly change platforms at Dum Dum station on Tuesday morning after it was announced that a south-bound train would leave from the north-bound trains’ platform.

Witnesses said about 25 passengers crossed the tracks with RPF personnel watching silently. A Metro spokesperson claimed “a handful of employees” who knew “exactly where the third rails were” crossed the tracks so that the south-bound train could leave as soon as possible. He did not explain why Metro employees were setting a dangerous precedent by not using the staircase.

The melee was triggered by an air-conditioned rake getting stuck at the south-bound platform around 9.20am because of a glitch. After more than 10 minutes — by when the next two trains were also supposed to leave — the authorities announced that instead of the AC rake, another train would leave for Kavi Subhash from the other platform.

Most of the commuters in the AC train and on the south-bound platform made a dash for the staircase creating a stampede-like situation.

“In their desperation to get to the north-bound platform before the Kavi Subhash train left, some officer-goers jumped on the tracks and vaulted over the third rails. I too wanted to do so but could not muster the courage. As a result, by the time I reached, the train was overcrowded,” said a passenger.

Another passenger said: “I was afraid that someone would fall on the third rail and die. Instead of stopping these people, the RPF men kept watching.”