Work on the underground section of the Metro, between National College and Kempegowda (Majestic) stations, will be completed in a week. That means the first phase of Namma Metro will meet the April deadline, Pradeep Singh Kharola, managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, said. “We need three more days for track-laying, following which electric and signalling systems will be installed. All works will be completed within a week,” he told DH.
He said trial runs between Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli (Puttenahalli) stations would begin around February 15. “As the entire track is automated, we need 45 days’ worth data about operations on both tracks. There will be slow, medium and high-speed runs and brake tests to ensure both tracks are fit for operations. We will meet the April deadline,” he said. The elevated stretches are also being tested. Trial runs on the entire north-south corridor (Nagasandra-Puttenahalli) will be conducted at night. Running trains both ways is among the crucial tests, he added.
When asked about the time required for safety inspection, the managing director said he cannot comment on the procedure. But a senior official in the BMRC said safety inspectors were always satisfied with Namma Metro standards and they hope to get the safety certificate at the earliest. Officials have already introduced loop service and are working on other measures to increase the frequency of trains on the East-West corridor (Byappanahalli-Mysuru Road).
BMRC has already called for tenders for 150 additional coaches. Six-coach trains will offer much needed convenience to commuters, officials told DH. Trains now have just three coaches each. Trains run at four-minute intervals between 9 and 10 am on working days. After 10 am, the frequency drops to six minutes. However, rush hour continues till 11 am, with huge crowds waiting at the terminals. Many commuters have posted their grievances on Facebook and Twitter, and sought more trips.
“This is Namma Metro @ Bangalore. Seeing the rush at 4 pm on Sunday... Need some drastic thinking to add capacity immediately,” Vishwanath Arali posted on Facebook, attaching a picture of a crowded compartment.