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Exercise shows Prague metro would cope with blackout smoothly

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Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) – The exercise of the metro staff and equipment that the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP) staged in the early hours on Sunday to check their preparedness for a possible blackout showed that they would cope with the accident smoothly, DPP spokesman Jiri Stabl has told CTK.

Within the exercise, the DPP simulated a blackout along a section of the metro’s C line. It “afflicted” a total of 11 metro stations.

Experts checked the system’s smooth switch to the reserve sources of energy that would illuminate the underground stations and enable moving elevators to reach ground surface.

Unlike a similar exercise in early 2014, no problem would occur now. The reserve sources of energy started to work in a few minutes and were not short of diesel oil.

“My colleagues reported no troubles to me,” Stabl told daily Pravo out Monday.

The previous exercise in February 2014, which simulated a blackout across the whole capital city, unveiled shortcomings in the reactions of local authorities, Pravo recalls.

The then exercise showed that in the case of a blackout, people would stay underground without the light and get stuck in elevators at metro stations.

The trains would probably reach the nearest station automatically, but their door would not open and it would be up to the passengers, who might start panicking, to solve the situation by themselves, Pravo writes.

Up to dozens of thousands of passengers could be afflicted this way, writes daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).

It says the C-line metro tracks, built in the 1970s, were intentionally constructed as ascending and descending so that most trains, in case of a blackout, can reach the nearest downward-situated station by moving forwards or backwards by the force of gravitation. The only exceptions are the sections below the Vltava River.

The exercise started at 01:15 on Sunday and ended at 08:00.

At 05:00, when the metro was to start operation after the night break, reserve buses were prepared outside the metro stations for passengers. DPP staff were also present to provide information to people.

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