Delhi Metro Makes Steady Progress Towards Completion of Phase 3 Adds More Facilities for Commuters
During the year 2016, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took some decisive steps towards the completion of corridors currently under construction as part of Phase 3. Efforts to improve the commuting experience of the people also continued with the introduction of some new facilities. The following are the main highlights of the year for the Delhi Metro:
· New Metro trains enabled with the ‘Unattended Train Operation (UTO)’ mode start trials: The trial run of India’s first ever Metro train, equipped to run on the ‘Unattended Train Operation’ mode, was ceremonially flagged off on 17th May by the Union Minister for Urban Development, Sh. M. Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister, Sh. Arvind Kejriwal.
The inaugural train moved out from the Mukundpur depot and travelled up to the Majlis Park Metro station of the Majlis Park – Shiv Vihar Metro corridor of Phase 3 (Pink Line). These highly sophisticated trains are equipped with technology which will eventually support driverless operations. These trains will also be more energy efficient and commuter friendly.
· Trial runs commence on close to 30 kilometres of new Metro lines: During the year, trial runs commenced on ITO – Kashmere Gate section (5.17 kms, violet line), Botanical Garden – Kalkaji Mandir (13 kms) and Janakpuri West – Terminal 1 – IGI Airport (10 kms) sections of the Magenta Line after the completion of civil work on these stretches.
On the Janakpuri West – Terminal 1 – IGI Airport section, to expedite the process of commencing trials, an entire six coach train was lowered on the tracks near the Sadar Bazar Cantonment station using cranes and trailers recently.
The train was unloaded on the ramp near Sadar Bazar Cantonment through a carefully planned operation, in which the coaches were lowered near the ramp (the location where the alignment goes underground from elevated) and positioned on the tracks with the help of special high capacity cranes and trailers. The process needed absolute precision to avoid any physical damage to the trains or the civil structure.
· DMRC completes all tunnelling assignments of Phase 3: DMRC successfully wrapped up all the tunnelling works of Phase 3 with the completion of a 1.25 kilometre long tunnel between Vasant Vihar and Munirka on the Janakpuri West – Botanical Garden Magenta Line on 29th November. The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) boring the tunnel from Vasant Vihar broke through at Munirka last evening in the presence of DMRC’s Managing Director, Dr. Mangu Singh and other senior officials.
With this tunnel breakthrough, DMRC in Phase 3 completed one of the largest ever tunnelling projects taken up in any urban area all over the world where a record 30 TBMs were used to bore close to 80 kilometres of underground tunnels (combining the length of both tunnels for to and fro movement of trains). The total underground corridor length in Phase 3 including the stations is about 54 kilometres.
The quantum of underground work in Phase 3 can be gauged from the fact that in the last phase of Delhi Metro’s construction, only 35 kilometres was underground and in Phase 1, the underground component was 13 kilometres. Therefore, the underground work of Phase 3 was even more than the combined work undertaken in the first two phases.
· Commuters get additional facilities: The Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate Metro stations as well as the stations on the Airport Line got equipped with Wi-Fi facilities. There are plans to introduce similar facilities in the other stations as well. In another initiative, smart card recharge facility has been made possible through the e-wallet mobile application Paytm. This new step has helped the commuters recharge their smart cards without cash transactions.
· Delhi Metro creates more ridership records, keeps people’s faith: The Delhi Metro continued to break more ridership records during the year and further established itself as the transportation backbone of the city. On 17th August, over 33 lakh people (33, 36,550) travelled on the Metro for the first time ever throughout the day, which happened to be the eve of Rakshbandhan. A few days earlier, on 12th August, the Airport Line also broke the 50,000 mark with 50,077 passengers travelling by it in a day.