A brief, low-intensity fire, accompanied by flashes visible a couple of hundred metres away, burnt some Metro Railway cables outside the tunnel near the approach to the Dum Dum station, throwing service out of gear during peak hour on Friday evening. A return to normalcy on Saturday morning looked “uncertain”.
No train plied for nearly an hour from 7.22 pm and when services resumed, trains plied between Girish Park and Tollygunge only, cutting off the northern section (beyond Girish Park to Dum Dum). “Metro engineers are at work,” chief operations manager David Topno said, admitting that the heavy rain had impeded damage-control moves.
Officials also admitted that resumption of services on Saturday morning on the Dum Dum-Girish Park stretch was uncertain. “Our engineers are on the job but I can only be hopeful now about resumption of services on Saturday,” Metro general manager Vinod Kumar said around 9.30 pm on Friday.
Around 7.20 pm, the first flashes were sighted by Metro technical staff from the platform at Dum Dum. “The flames were visible from a distance but it could not be ascertained whether they were from the third rail or the cables along the line,” an official said.
Two minutes later, a train from Tollygunge chugged in. Its motorman, too, gave an identical report.
Power to the third rail was switched off and services called off. The rain, however, came in the way of immediate damage-control exercises and engineers and technical staff reached the spot around 7.45 pm. They did not take long in dousing the flames. Services resumed on the Tollygunge-Girish Park stretch at 8.10 pm but by then, several hundred passengers abandoned the underground.