Sunday, 18 April 2010

IGI Delhi Metro link: Preview

In five months from now, Delhiites can bid adieu to unending jams on the way to the airport and haggling with cabbies.

They will reach the airport from Connaught Place (CP) in specially engineered super luxury Metro coaches, which promise a noise-free ride in a plush ambience, in all of 20 minutes.

The first lot of new trains arrived at Mundra port, Gujarat from Spain on Friday and are on their way to the Capital now. The special coaches have specially been designed for the showcase Airport Express Line, which is scheduled to open in September this year.

The new trains are very different from the existing ones running on the Delhi Metro network. These will have seating for all passengers and the seating is transverse — commuters will face the direction of movement of the train — for added comfort.

The interiors of the trains have been designed keeping commuter comfort in mind. The lighting is diffused, the seats upholstered, and each coach will have LCD screens for entertainment, which will double up as flight information boards for convenience of air travellers.

Even as the trains zip past the city at a speed of about 120 kmph (the designed speed is higher at 135 kmph), one will not feel any discomfort inside the coaches.

The trains are engineered to reach near-zero noise levels and all the components — flooring, insulated walls, windows — have in-built noise reduction features. The wheels too have added lubrication for less noise and better riding comfort. The train doors are plug-and-shut type, which shut after sliding out a bit and then move back into original position.

Those headed to the airport from town will have the choice of checking in their baggage at Metro stations which will double up as City Airport Terminals (CATs) for this line.

To secure the baggage, half a coach of every six-coach train will be reserved for baggage.

For commuters taking the Airport Express Link to reach the city, luggage racks have been provided in every coach where people can stack their baggage.

"The trains have been procured from City Airport Terminals, Spain, which is one of the leading manufacturers of high-speed Metros in the world. It has also supplied to Hong Kong Airport metro and London's Heathrow Express. The trains are being brought to Delhi by road and will be tested at the Dwarka depot," said KP Maheshwari, Director, Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Limited, which will operate the Airport Line.

The line will operate on Automated Train Operation (ATO) technology which enables trains to accelerate, brake, adjust speed and stop at stations automatically, in accordance with a pre-set schedule.

The trains can operate without a driver. Every coach will be equipped with CCTV cameras for added security and will also have an event recorder, a kind of a black box, which records every movement of the train.

This device, which can withstand high levels of temperature and impact, will help investigations in case of an accident.

The 23-km Airport Express Line is the first Delhi Metro line to come up on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. As per the agreement between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure Limited, the concessionaire of the project, DMRC will create all the civil structures — the viaduct, tunnels and station buildings, and hand it over to the latter.

The airport line will be developed and run by DAME Pvt Ltd for 30 years.

The good news is that the line will be operational before the Commonwealth Games. "The Airport Line will be better than anything that the city has seen till now. We are going to use the best technologies available around the world and are completing work on a warfooting to open the line by September this year," said Lalit Jalan, CEO and Wholetime Director, Reliance Infrastructure.

The construction of the civil structures is reportedly 90% complete and processes like signalling, electrification, track-laying is under way.

The line will provide a fast-link between New Delhi Railway Station and Dwarka via IGI, with a total of six stops on the way.

The fare will be kept at a maximum of Rs 150 to IGI and Rs 180 to Dwarka from New Delhi.


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