Delhi Metro is set to partially open its Magenta Line which runs from Janakpuri West station to Botanical Garden, later this year. According to a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official, the train service, which features ‘driverless’ trains’, will partially open for public in October this year. “This line is planned to be opened in stages between October 2017 and March 2018,” the spokesperson told Times of India. The Magenta line was initially scheduled to start service in June.
Here is everything you need to know about driverless metro trains:
What are driverless metro trains?
Developed as part of Delhi Metro’s phase III expansion project, the DMRC is planning to start metro train services which run without a train operator’s supervision. The train will receive an early morning “wake up” command from Operations Control Centre (OCC) every morning which will kick start the services into actions. The lights inside the train will switch on and the engine will be ignited. There will be an automatic self-check which will test the train’s technical fitness before it runs through automated washing plants for cleaning. Afterwards, the train will roll onto the platforms. At night, the train will go into “sleep mode” before the procedure is repeated the next morning.
What are the features of driverless metro trains?
Speaking to Indian Express in March, DMRC spokesperson, Anuj Dayal said the trains will have platform screen doors as additional measures to prevent passengers from falling on to metro tracks or getting stuck between doors. It will also feature passenger alarm buttons so that a passenger who is in distress during the metro ride can reach OCC for assistance. “As soon as a commuter presses the alarm button, her image will pop up on the screen in the OCC,” Dayal explained. He further added that the coach will be equipped with four CCTV cameras. The live-feed from the camera will give OCC a view of what is happening inside every train.
The OCC work-stations will receive the real-time view of the train on two giant concave screens. Officials will monitor work at OCC will in three shifts. At a given period of time, at least 15 heads will be at OCC.
Has metro had trial runs for driverless metro ?
According to a DMRC spokesperson cited by Times of India, the metro is currently having trial runs on two sections of the corridor, between Kalkaji and Botanical Garden and Janakpuri West to T-1 Airport station. The trial runs of Magenta line between Kalindi Kunj and Kalkaji Mandir section were started in August 2016. Later on, the trial runs started between Botanical Garden and Kalkaji Mandir section. In November, two trains came on the same track during the trial runs. The accident between the two metro was averted but an inquiry was ordered by the authorities to look into the matter. The board did not confirm the cause, but a signalling error was suspected.
What safety measures has Delhi Metro employed?
DMRC is conducting rigorous train runs to ensure the operations of driver less trains runs smoothly without any glitches. DMRC spokesperson told TOI that the trains will initially employ operators who will be present in the train. Gradually, DMRC will completely shift to UTO mode. “During the trials, the interface of the Metro train is being checked to ensure that there is no physical infringement with civil infrastructure during the movement of the train on the track and also testing of various subsystems of coaches shall be done,” DMRC spokesperson was quoted by Times of India as saying.
The corridor will install a new signalling technology which will be implemented on this corridor. The spokesperson told TOI the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) will also undergo rigorous testing before the train services are open to public. “The response of the train at different speeds, braking of the train and the interconnection with the Operations Control Centre (OCC) will also be monitored during the trials,” the spokesperson told TOI. “The behaviour of the track system and the Over Head Electrification (OHE) will be checked repeatedly,” he added.