Only a quick reaction by a metro train driver saved the life of a 25-year-old man who attempted suicide in the Vadapalani metro station in Chennai last year. Spotting him at the last moment, the driver managed to stop the train just 100m away.
However, the Chennai and Delhi Metros are now taking measures to ensure that such situations do not arise in future. In an initiative to prevent suicide attempts at stations, platform screen doors (PSD) are going to be installed in the underground metro stations of the Chennai and Delhi Metro Rail systems.
The Delhi Metro has had a much harder time with persons committing suicide by jumping onto metro tracks. There were reportedly 50 such cases of suicide recorded last year, with 18 of them taking place on a single line.
With the installation of platform screen doors along the entire length of the platforms, metro tracks will remain completely inaccessible to commuters, as the platform doors will only open when the train doors aligned with them open. All 19 underground stations in the Chennai Metro will soon have this facility. In the Delhi Metro, the Times of India reports, 59 stations along two new lines of Phase III will see PSDs being installed.
An official of the Delhi metro told TOI that the fire and tamper-proof doors can â€świthstand up to 2.8 kilonewton of weight and can withstand mass of 280kg per metre.â€ť
A Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) official told The Hindu that test runs have been carried out to ensure that the doors themselves do not pose a hazard to passengers. These tests showed that sensors detect any obstructions and immediately open the screen doors. Additionally, the doors can also be opened manually in case of any situation requiring it.
The screen doors will also help metro officials in crowd control, a Delhi Metro official said.