February 6, 2011 4:24:51 am
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inspects much-awaited line,defends delays in opening it
When the high-speed Airport Metro Express Line is thrown open to the public by mid-February,commuters will be able to reach IGI Airport from New Delhi station in 18 minutes flat,with only one stop at Shivaji Stadium. The trains will run at a speed of 105 kmph.
Even when the other two stations Dhaula Kuan and Aerocity are completed and ready for operations,the ride might still take only as much time as the speed of trains will then be increased to 120 kmph.
Running partly through tunnels and an elevated section along the Dhaula Kuan station,the line with its high-speed trains and spacious stations will be a completely new experience for commuters. Unlike the existing Metro stations,tracks on this corridor are blocked from the platforms with glass doors that will open only when the train arrives at the platform. Even the seating arrangement is different from regular Metro trains,with a narrower aisle flanked by two seats on either side. Information display boards show the time and stations covered on the line,along with a passenger address system that announces the names of stations on the route.
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Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit,who inspected the line along with senior officials of the Delhi Metro and Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely on Saturday,expressed hope that the line would be thrown open to the public soon.
Due to the inordinate delays in completing the work and getting the mandatory clearances,two of the six stations on the line Dhaula Kuan and Aerocity will not open to the public when operations begin this month. A formal function marking the inauguration of the line will be held later in March,when all the stations are ready.
The line is ready for operations. It is very good,modern,and the only corridor in the country that connects the city with the airport. The formal opening of the line will take a months time,but the trials (operations) will start within a week, Dikshit said during the inspection. Speaking on the delays,she said,If perfection is needed,delays will be there. If the corridor is opened in haste,there will always be risk involved.
Having received all the mandatory clearances,the only thing holding up the line now is the deployment of CISF personnel,who will man the corridor.
Mangu Singh,Director (Works),DMRC,told Newsline,The line will be ready for operations once CISF personnel are deployed. The Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) inspection for increasing the speed of trains from 105 kmph to 120 kmph will be held anytime now. However,that will not hold up the line any longer.
Though the line will open with a 16-hour schedule from 6 am to 10 pm,it is expected to be extended in due time. To begin with,the line will have a 16-hour service from 6 am to 10 pm and some airlines are likely to set up their check-in counters before the operations start. The issue is being sorted out. A decision will be taken on this after the Civil Aviation Ministry holds discussions with the airlines, said E Sreedharan,Managing Director,DMRC.
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