Metro line to airport gets safety nod

Metro line to airport gets safety nod

Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety R K Kardam's approval came two days after he inspected the 23-km high-speed corridor for a second time in three months.

The showcase line promises to take commuters from the city to the airport in 20 minutes.
The Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium, which will operate the line, can now open it to public anytime. The consortium had said it could open the line within a week of getting clearance.

"The Airport Express Line has been cleared. The clearance has been given for the trains to run at a speed of 105 kmph. I have imposed certain conditions but the line has been cleared," Kardam told PTI.

"The conditions have to be followed by the Concessionaire. They are free to open the line anytime now," he said.

The corridor had failed the first safety test in September 2010 and missed its Commonwealth Games deadline. During the earlier inspection, Kardam had problems with speed trials of the trains.

The link that connects the city's shopping hub of Connaught Place with the Indira Gandhi International Airport has missed three deadlines – October 3 (Commonwealth Games), October 31 and December 31 -- set by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Union Urban Development Ministry.

DMRC officials said the line may start with a 16-hour run initially from 6 AM to 10 PM and be gradually increased. The consortium says it is ready to run even for 20 hours a day.

The line will open with four stations – New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium, IGI Airport and Dwarka Sec-21 stations. Two other stations – Dhaula Kuan and Aerocity – may open a little later.

The prospects of having check-in counters at select stations on the corridor is also growing brighter with national carrier Air India expressing willingness to set up such a facility.

Trains on the line will be different from the normal Metro trains and have been procured from CAF, Spain which also supplied trains to Hong Kong airport metro and London's Heathrow Express.

The Airport Express Line is the first metro line in the country to come up on Public Private Partnership model. After creating civil structures, the DMRC has handed over the line to Reliance Infrastructure which will run the high-speed corridor for 30 years.

This will also be the first line in the country to be mapped on Geographic Information System to enhance safety, maintenance and traffic regulation. Mapping the corridor on GIS will help in mobilising emergency services in case of a blast or fire on the train.

Reliance Infrastructure will map all the emergency services, including fire stations, police stations, hospitals etc along the alignment, the spokesperson said.

The company has already made some maps for the Delhi alignment and when the construction of the corridor is complete, locations of the piers, viaduct and stations will be imported into GIS.

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