3 lakh passengers, 300 trains stranded in eight states (Lead)

July 31st, 2012 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Around 3 lakh passengers were Tuesday stranded in over 300 trains across eight states after the northern and eastern grids failed, crippling operations across six railway zones in the counrty.

“Failure in the northern and eastern power grid has affected railway operations across six railway zones. Over 300 passenger trains have been held up,” Anil Saxena, additional director general (Public Relations) in the railway ministry, told IANS.

“We have issued a traffic alert and technical staff is monitoring the situation,” he added.

According to sources, some 300,000 passengers had been affected.

Saxena said diesel engines were being used to haul the trains to the nearest stations so food and water could be provided to the stranded passengers.

He said the railways were able to restore normal operations in the northern region extending from Ferozepur in Punjab and Ambala in Haryana to Kanpur and Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh after power supply was arranged from Dadri, Malwa and Phaphund power plants in Uttar Pradesh.

“The operations in sections from Ferozepur-Ambala to Kanpur-Fatehpur in the northern zone are near normal,” said Saxena.

But most of the East Central zone was without power due to a non-functional Eastern Grid, though train movement around Howrah and Sealdah stations was restored.

“The section from Allahabad to Howrah in the East Central zone will take time to return to normal operations as the Eastern Grid is still down,” Saxena said.

According to officials, the Northern, South Central, Eastern, South Eastern, East Central and West Central railway zones which span across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and parts of West Bengal and Jharkhand had been affected.

Officials said passenger trains were being given priority in movement and over 300 goods trains were likely to be affected as a result.

The northern and eastern grids collapsed at 1.05 p.m. Tuesday.

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