A technical glitch disrupted services on Delhi Metro's Yellow Line for at least four hours on Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded on the road, trapped in coaches and traffic snarls all the way from Gurgaon to New Delhi.
Trains on the line that connects Huda City Centre in Gurgaon to Samaypur Badli in the city, running a distance of 49 km, stalled at 9.32 AM and normal services resumed only after 1.30 PM.
Services were hit due to a breakdown of the overhead wire (OHE) at Sultanpur station, midway between Gurgaon and Delhi, leading to power supply tripping in the section, DMRC officials said.
"Due to tripping of power supply, two trains which were in this section -- Qutab Minar and Sultpanpur stations -- went immobile and it was decided to deboard the passengers and take them smoothly towards the nearest metro station," a senior DMRC official said.
One train was between Qutab Minar and Chhattarpur and the other between Chhattarpur and Sultanpur. All passengers (around 2,600) from the first were safely taken towards Qutab Minar station, while all passengers (around 3,000) from the second one were safely taken towards Chhattarpur metro station, according to DMRC.
There was no train movement between Sultanpur and Qutub Minar stations, two stations away from each other with Chhattarpur in the middle, and services were resumed by running trains in two short loops, officials said.
Gurgaon resident Jatin Takkar, who regularly takes the Yellow Line to his office near Central Secretariat, said, "I got stuck in a train for nearly 50 minutes. We had to eventually walk on the tracks to reach the platform."
The snag left commuters hassled as trains were temporarily run in two loops -- between Huda City Centre and Sultanpur and between Samaypur Badli and Qutub Minar.
Two maintenance teams of DMRC technicians, comprising 16 officials, worked to rectify the problem and trains were initially run at a restricted speed between Chhattarpur and Qutub Minar stations, the officials said.
After nearly three-and-a-half hours of chaos, end-to-end services were partially restored with trains plying between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur stations with lower frequency, in another 30 minutes, normal services resumed, they said.
With the lifeline that connects the national capital to the satellite town of Gurgaon severed, there was mayhem on the roads -- and on the tracks. Some people got off the train and had to walk on the track at Qutub Minar station and others were stuck inside coaches, sending out tweets asking for the air-conditioning to be put on.
And then there were those who had no option but to simply walk the distance. There were the old and young, men and women, some with children and others with bags, knocking at car windows and searching for cabs, auto-rickshaws or any vehicle that could give them a ride.
When that did not work, several hundred just squared their shoulders and walked in the scorching sun on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon highway. Many did not reach their offices and many reported for work late. One woman, who took a lift from a passing car, said she was desperate to get to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for an MRI, an appointment she got after many months of waiting.
Crowds swarmed the stations with people spilling on to the stairs and the road. Gaurav Rangnani, who was on his way to Noida from Gurgaon, said he waited for nearly three hours and still couldn't enter the overcrowded Qutab Minar metro station.
With the metro out of service, there was surge pricing on radio cabs and autos. "I had to get off at Sultanpur and then take an auto-rickshaw to Qutab Minar. We were five passengers in the vehicle and each had to cough up Rs 100," said Tairas Tope, a retired government official.
Those fortunate enough to be in their cars also suffered from huge traffic jams that lasted for more than two hours. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought a report from transport minister Kailash Gahlot. "I have asked transport minister to seek a detailed report and direct Delhi Metro to fix responsibility," he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, transport minister Kailash Gahlot told the DMRC in written communication that the time taken to evacuate passengers from two trains stalled during the disruption of services was "very high".
The minister also sought details of all incidents of the breakdown in services of the Delhi Metro since 2011, with reasons for such disruptions, from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) managing director. Many commuters took to social media to express their anger. "My wife is stuck since 9 am No feeder bus No Cabs No Auto Crazy scene," a commuter tweeted.
Another commuter complained that many were stuck in trains with no AC. The commuter also claimed that some passengers also fainted. An estimated seven to eight lakh commuters use the Yellow Line each day. Delhi Metro's ridership is more than 30 lakh a day.
Special assistance was provided to 11 commuters, who were either differently abled or not feeling well, it said. With the metro out of service, there was surge pricing on radio cabs and auto-rickshaws.Sources said areas near Sultanpur and Qutub Minar metro stations came under 'peak pricing' due to heavy demand of cabs following disruption of train services. The technical glitch and subsequent crowding also led to massive traffic snarls in south Delhi, further compounding woes of people.