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Sunday, June 07, 2020

Delhi Metro’s new normal: Temperature check, Aarogya Setu, emptier coaches

A DMRC official said the Metro has “thoroughly checked” the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system of over 2,000 train coaches during this period. Metro services have been at a complete halt since March 22, the day of ‘janta curfew’.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Updated: May 15, 2020 7:25:13 am
Alternate seats will have to be left vacant inside the trains. Commuting while standing is also likely to be barred

A temperature check, followed by a tap on the Aarogya Setu app, before walking into the train, which will be emplier than before. A journey on the Delhi Metro, the city’s lifeline, will come with a new set of guidelines once services resume, for which the Union government’s nod is awaited.

While thermal scanning of body temperature and checking Aarogya Setu status are likely to be part of the CISF protocols, commuters are likely to be greeted with cool drafts of air inside the trains, with the Metro having utilised the lockdown to overhaul the air-conditioning system of around 2,000 coaches.

Inside the trains, alternate seats will have to be left vacant. Commuting while standing is likely to be barred, a measure the Metro had announced right before the lockdown. It is learnt that there will also be separate queues for those using smart cards and tokens. There was also a plan to install sanitisation tunnels, but that may not actually materialise, with the Union Health Ministry advising against spraying of disinfectants on people, sources said.

The CISF is in charge of securing the 389-km long Metro network spanning Delhi-NCR, dotted with 285 stations. A DMRC official said the Metro has “thoroughly checked” the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system of over 2,000 train coaches during this period. Metro services had come to a complete halt on March 22, the day of ‘janta curfew’.

“The HVAC system of the coaches was thoroughly checked. We also undertook the first ever drive to clean HVAC systems of around 1,200 coaches with special chemicals to effectively utilise the lockdown. This exercise would have otherwise lingered over longer periods due to train availability in a normal scenario,” a DMRC official said.

Such an extensive cleaning exercise could not be undertaken before as trains run up to 20 hours a day. The cleaning exercise would result in a better air-conditioned environment in summers, the official added.

The DMRC management also ran empty trains, numbering over 3,500 trips, during the lockdown to keep the system operation ready. Executive director (corporate communications) of DMRC, Anuj Dayal, said, “The DMRC is working out detailed cleaning and maintenance procedures in view of the pandemic. The exercise will be extremely exhaustive as it involves cleaning and maintenance of 264 stations, over 2,200 coaches, over 1,100 escalators and 1,000 lifts, among others.”

Protocols for social distancing in trains and station premises are being worked out, he said. “The date of the opening of Delhi Metro has not been finalised and will be notified to the public in due course. All systems of the Metro, including signalling, electrical, rolling stock, tracks, etc., will have to be tested in detail before services are ultimately started to ensure full safety for our commuters,” he said.

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