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Metro adds to commute woes on rally day

If the Trinamul rally at the heart of the city proved to be commuters’ nightmare in the morning and afternoon, it was Metro Railway’s turn in the evening.

Metro services were disrupted for an hour on Monday from 6.15pm after a north-bound air-conditioned train got stranded at Central station because of a snag.

The train finally chugged out of the station following a repair at 7.14pm but the ripple effect continued for at least the next half an hour.

“The train could not be started as the engine developed a snag. Our engineers from Girish Park station rushed to the spot, switched off power supply to the third rail and repaired the fault by 7.14pm,” said a Metro spokesperson.

The passengers were asked to get off the train after the snag was detected. Truncated services were run between New Garia and Maidan in the south and Noapara and Girish Park in the north during the one-hour period.

With the city’s transport lifeline not functioning, thousands of commuters returning home had a harrowing time looking for alternatives. There were fewer buses because of the rally and taxis refused passengers at will.

Hundreds stood outside Park Street, Esplanade, Chandni Chowk and Central stations, desperately waving at passing vehicles.

At 7pm, passengers were seen jostling to board overcrowded buses outside Chandni Chowk station. At Esplanade, many commuters, including women, were seen jumping on Matadors for a ride till Shyambazar.

“I hopped on a bus at Esplanade and managed to hold the rod at the door with one leg on the foot-rest. But I realised it was impossible to travel that way and got off a few minutes later,” said Haltu resident Sukanta Das, who works at a private firm on Ganesh Chandra Avenue.

Metro services had disrupted twice on Sunday evening. Thousands of commuters were caught in a stampede-like situation at Chandni Chowk station after a snag in the third rail triggered sparks, a loud sound and smoke. Many suffered cuts and bruises in the melee.

Half an hour later, the services were disrupted again for an hour after a man committed suicide by jumping in front of a south-bound train at Esplanade station.