Blackouts and breakdowns on Rome's subway

Hundreds of passengers on Rome metro forced to walk through tunnel to Colosseum.

The morning of Friday 13 September has been a "venerdì nero" for commuters on Rome's underground network.

First, passengers at the city's central Termini train station were left in the dark after a blackout knocked out the lights on the subway platforms as well as over the escalators.

Then later in the morning trains on the Metro B line broke down following a short circuit, leaving passengers no choice but to walk through the tunnel between Circo Massimo and Colosseo metro stations.

Rome's public transport company ATAC has arranged substitute buses between the Metro B stations of S. Paolo and Castro Pretorio. 

The commuter chaos comes a day after four transport officials were charged with "fraud in public supplies and agrravated personal injuries" in relation to the breakdown of escalators at the city's Repubblica and Barberini stations, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

An investigation discovered that escalator repairs were often carried out in a makeshift manner - sometimes using plastic cable ties; in other cases repairs were not carried out at all, with safety systems tampered with to cover up malfunctions. Investigators concluded that Rome's underground network presents "an alarming state of danger for public safety."

The Repubblica metro station was closed for eight months after the escalator broke down on 23 October, injuring dozens of Russian football fans.

The Barberini station, which closed on 21 March following an escalator malfunction, remains shut with no indication that it will reopen any time soon.

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