Trains across northern India stop in their tracks

Over five lakh passengers travelling in about 300 trains suffered severe inconvenience following delays due to the collapse of the northern power grid, which also led to over 200 goods trains getting stranded across northern India on Monday.

All trains remained motionless on tracks from 2.30 am till 6 am. 

Authorities gave priority for running trains once the power was restored. But with nearly 500 trains stuck, it took a long time before all of them started moving again. Most trains were running late by hours till late Monday evening.

The railways were assessing the loss incurred not just because of late running of passenger trains but also of goods trains, which were forced to give priority to those carrying passengers. 

Railway officials claim that they tried to minimise the problem by using diesel engines and maintaining supply from other nearby grids.

“We could run some trains on Bina-Mathura, Kota-Bina and some other sections with the help of these methods,” said Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.

“Operations are normal but several trains are running late,” he added. “We are trying to cope with the crisis.” 

This halt on the tracks led to a situation where it took six to eight hours to restart the flow. Almost every train in Northern Railway, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi, was delayed for hours.  Delhi-bound trains remained stranded near Etawa in Uttar Pradesh. 

“The incident is alarming for us. Hundreds of trains getting stuck because of power failure was simply a nightmare,” exclaimed a senior railway official.

 The past-midnight halt caused by the failure of the power grid has forced railways to speed up work on their captive power generation.

Railway use 16.65 billion units of electricity every year. They have some proposed captive power projects, which are still in pipeline.

 One of the project is in collaboration with NTPC in Nabinagar in Bihar. Other two are being implemented under Private-People-Partnership(PPP), one in Adra (Orissa) and another in Thakurkly, near Mumbai.  Together, the three will produce 3000 MW of electricity. 

The official said that in order to ensure safety and security of passengers on  trains stranded  in the early morning hours, the railways deployed Railway Protection Force and coordinated with local police across the Northern Railway network.

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