Chugging past the lush green of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, the sports complex at Jamia Millia Islamia, the majestic Lotus Temple and the Kalkaji Mandir, the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro crosses many milestones that shape the capital.
On a Friday afternoon, three days before it is inaugurated by the Prime Minister, the Magenta Line ferried Delhi Metro Rail Corporation officials and members of the media from Botanical Garden to Kalkaji Mandir station. This is the first line equipped with a new signalling system — the Communication-Based Train Control — that will reduce waiting time from two minutes to 90-100 seconds.
The driver’s cabin is smaller, as these trains will run on the Unattended Train Operation mode, a first for the DMRC. “Trains can run without a driver. But we will have drivers in Magenta Line trains for a year or two,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communications, DMRC.
Travel time between the two stations will come down to 19 minutes from the 52-minute-long journey earlier. “That journey cost passengers Rs 50; this one will cost Rs 30,” said Dayal. The new trains are also wildly colourful — with shades of blue, pink and orange on the seats, and a darker colour indicating the reserved seats. Every station on this line has platform screen doors.
The lonesome two-seaters have been replaced by three- and five-seaters. “Though these are standard gauge coaches, they are as wide as broad gauge coaches. On other lines, the width of a coach is 2.9 metre, while in these, it is 3.2 metre. We can accommodate 35-40 people extra in every coach of this line,” said Dayal.
The poles have been replaced by three-panelled support bars so that more people can hold on — without hands overlapping. Trains are also fitted with LED screens with destination details as well as USB charging ports. For now, there are 10 trains on this line. On one of the trains crashing into a wall earlier this week, Dayal said the line is “absolutely safe”. “We are yet to determine the damage to the train but it is repairable,” he said.