Over 5 lakh passengers hit; it will take 2 days for normality to return

The collapse of power grids for the second successive day on Tuesday has compounded the Railways’ problems, throwing into disarray train services which will now require at least 48 hours to return to normal.

The disruption in power supply from the northern and eastern grids brought to a halt trains, affecting more than five lakh passengers, and also transportation of essential commodities which authorities feared would have an inflationary impact. For, goods trains will be detained until after passenger services are normalised.

Blaming the Centre responsible for the mess, railway electrical engineers said they were caught off-guard by the grid collapse for the second day, which, they alleged, was due to the failure to identify the relay fault that caused the first breakdown.

Passengers angry

The Railways are facing the ire of passengers who are at a loss to secure information about departures at stations with electronic display boards going blank. They point out they are being forced to bear with grid indiscipline on the part of some other users.

More than 1,000 trains including 400 goods trains have been affected in the northern, north central, east central, eastern, south-eastern, east-coast and west-central railway zones.

Railway officials pointed out that movement of minerals and coal extracted from this region was also hit.

About 180 passenger trains were stranded in the eastern and south eastern zones for more than four hours. According to officials, power is being steadily restored in these zones, catering first for the needs of local trains around Howrah and Sealdah.

Partial restoration

The movement of trains from Howrah to Asansol was still restricted with partial restoration of power supply, while in the South-Eastern Railway supply has been restored to the extent of 70 per cent.

In the West Central Railway, trains were being restored on extended feed. In the Northern Railway, trains resumed their journey to Fatehpur, Kanpur and Tundla.

The officials said it would take more time to restore services on the busy Delhi-Howrah route. The problem spot is the Mughalsarai-Gaya section, which would require more time for restoration.

Authorities were busy arranging diesel trains to haul important trains in these zones and restoring the signal system, which has also been affected in the bid to clear the backlog of services.

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