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Magenta Line of Delhi Metro thrown open: Driver-less trains will reduce travel time, expand rail network

The Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Mandir section of the Delhi Metro's Magenta Line was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. In three months' time, by March 2018, the entire stretch of the Magenta Line will be ready, extending from Botanical Garden in Noida with Janakpuri West in Delhi.

Other than Kalkaji, which is the station connecting the Magenta Line with the Violet Line that heads towards Faridabad in Haryana, all the stations on this route are elevated.

With the inauguration of the Magenta Line, the distance from Botanical Garden to Kalkaji is just 12.4 kilometres and it will take commuters 19 minutes to travel this. Hitherto they had to travel through 22 stations, including an interchange at Mandi House, and spend 52 minutes in transit to get from Botanical Garden to Kalkaji.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a ride in a Delhi Metro train. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a ride in a Delhi Metro train. PTI

After inaugurating the line, Modi travelled one station, from Kalkaji to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, the only two stations on the route that fall in Noida.

Connecting South Delhi

The new line will not only reduce travel time between the two stations, it would also prove to be a boon for Noida residents visiting South Delhi and vice versa. Once the entire stretch of the Magenta Line is inaugurated, it will bring in areas of south Delhi like Vasant Vihar and RK Puram into the Metro network, said a report on The Times of India.

The report said Jamia Millia Islamia students are happy about having Metro connectivity next door. "Reaching the university from other parts of the city was a tough task and I even missed my examination once as I couldn't find a bus on time. Delhi University got its Metro station years ago and finally, we are on a par with DU," Ali Sher, a postgraduate student, was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

The areas around the varsity are a congested maze of narrow roads and lack public transport. The Metro will be a boon for people in these localities.  "The Metro will prove to be a lifeline for the area as we have no public transport available here except for the phatphat sewa vehicles," said Waris Khan, who lives in Jamia Nagar.

Salient features

The new Metro line will also feature driver-less trains, platform screen doors (PSDs) and a hi-tech signalling technology for movement of trains. "This line will have many firsts to its credit. For the first time in India, trains will run unattended. The platform screen doors (PSDs) are also being used here for the first time," Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief spokesperson Anuj Dayal said.

PSDs, installed to enhance commuter safety, are glass-made screens installed near the edge of platforms that open only when a train arrives and shut after it departs. "Besides, a new-age technology, the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling, that can facilitate movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds, will also be pressed into service," Dayal said.

The trains will also run without drivers aided by the CBTC signalling technology. "The trains would essentially be driver-less, but there would be roving attendants. We would keep this mechanism for a year or two. We would get passenger feedback on this, and once we realise that we have people's confidence, we will remove those attendants, to make them fully driver-less," the chief spokesperson said.

The DMRC authorities said that 10 trains would operate on this new line, while two would be kept on reserve. The coaches running on this line have electronic information display, power charging capacity, including directly through USB ports, and colourful seats of different shades. They also have enhanced carrying capacity. The new trains are also energy efficient and save about 20 per cent of energy, the DMRC said. "The trains on this line will have six cars, four of them would be driving cars," Dayal said.

The new stations have been decorated to reflect themes of nature, Yoga, and cultural landmarks. At the new Kalkaji Mandir station, ceramic murals of the Lotus Temple, ISKCON Temple and nature-themed artworks, and paintings showing birds have been displayed.

Inauspicious start

However, it suffered a mishap just days before its formal inauguration, when a train crashed into a wall last Tuesday. The accident occurred at the Kalindi Kunj depot, but no injuries were reported. The front portion of the train and a stretch of the depot's boundary wall were damaged, a DMRC official was quoted as saying by PTI.

Four officials — including one deputy general manager who was the depot in-charge, one assistant manager under him responsible for depot activity, a junior engineer, and an assistant section engineer who were involved in operating the train —have been suspended following the mishap, said a report on Hindustan Times. The suspension is based on the probe by a team of three executive director rank officials.

DMRC chief Mangu Singh said the Metro personnel ticked the brakes reset box without actually checking it. "The next person who takes over is supposed to cross check each and every item. Then only he takes the train. This is a mistake on part of both of them. It appears like it was overconfidence because of which one fellow simply ticked the checklist and the other believed (him) and took the train away for washing."

With inputs from agencies

 


Published Date: Dec 26, 2017 08:17 AM | Updated Date: Dec 26, 2017 08:17 AM

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