Free metro ride: Delayed services put off commuters

Chennai: The Chennai metro rail services came to a standstill on Monday following a technical glitch in services even as thousands thronged to take the newly inaugurated rail line which was thrown open to the public for free for two days. The Washermanpet to Airport line was inaugurated on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

It was initially reported that the delays across the network were on account of Over Head Equipment (OHE) issues. While officials were attending to the issue, many commuters who prefer the service for long distance travel, especially IT employees were delayed.

 According to a Chennai Metro Rail Limited spokesperson the problem turned out to be unique as for hours officials were clueless about it. Such a technical glitch had not occurred in the last five years of testing, he said.

 “There is a slight delay in the Little Mount to Airport stretch. There is no problem with OHE. We are trying to identify the problem,” said one Metro official, denying claims of the OHE delay.

 To add to the problem, the CMRL had announced a two-day free service to all which led to thousands of first-time users thronging the metro stations and ending up stranded across metro for over half an hour.

 Such a technical snag, however, isn't new with the CMRL. Only a few days ago, there was a major train halt incident at Ashok Nagar while Metro trains' signalling systems witnessed series blockades not once several times last year.

 After the glitch was fixed thousands continued to throng the metro rail. “My son has been interested in trains since he was a baby. We're so glad that we could take him on the Metro train today. I'm sure he will never forget this and cherish it forever,” said Priyadarshini, an excited first-time passenger.

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