New Delhi: A driverless Delhi Metro train being tested on a new "Magenta Line" crashed through a wall this afternoon, just days before its launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Christmas. No one was hurt in the crash, which allegedly took place because the train's brakes were disengaged. The Delhi Metro has blamed it on "human error and negligence" and has ordered a high-level inquiry.
Two coaches were badly damaged after the train, which was empty, went through a wall at the Kalindi Kunj depot and barely missed crashing to the ground. The incident took place around 3.40 pm.
"A trial train was moved from the workshop without testing the brake system as a result of which, while the train was moving up the ramp for washing, it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall," the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said in a statement.
In photos, a portion of the engine jutted out of the wall of the station.
Officials said at the workshop, the brakes of a train are usually disengaged so its systems can be checked thoroughly. The brakes should have been tested by the maintenance staff before the train left the shed. "It appears this was not done...the person who took charge of the train did not check the brake...Without the brakes, the train rolled back when it was being taken on a washing ramp," the statement said.
PM Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden stretch of the Magenta line, which is to run between Delhi and Noida. The Magenta line promises to slash travel between south Delhi and Noida to just 19 minutes.
The 12.64-km section was granted safety approval just last month.
Delhi Metro's Managing Director Mangu Singh said operations on the Magenta Line were "absolutely safe", with a high level of automation.
"Today's incident was manual error during maintenance and has nothing to do with the trials or passenger safety during future operations," said Mr Singh.
The new Metro line will have automated platform screen doors at every station, just like jubilee line of the London tube, say officials.