In terms of pace of construction,Jaipurs Metro is being described as the worlds fastest next to Meccas. In terms of commuting speed,it will possibly be the slowest when it opens in August this year.
With a partly finished signalling and telecommunication system,the upcoming 9.5-km corridor will be operated as a single train system with line side signals. This will effectively mean that only one train will do the full journey forward and back. Passengers will get a train in either direction about once every 30 minutes,according to estimates based on average speed over the 19-km back-and-forth journey.
The rolling stock,borrowed from Delhi,will be limited to a maximum speed of 45 kph when run under the safety cutout mode. But when the Metro opens,train drivers will have to manually look out for line side signals,and this will restrict the average speed to 35 kph. That would work out to a wait of more than 30 minutes between one train and the next in the same direction. This will contrast with a gap of 120 seconds in Delhis and other cities Metros,which have multiple,automated trains running on high-end technology.
The Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) maintains that the trains will run at slow speed only for the first few months,during which signalling and telecommunication work will be simultaneously completed. Experts,however,feel that once the line is in operation,finishing the pending work will take a lot more time and services might require temporary suspension.
It is a high-cost project and any delay generates economic damages that we cannot afford, JMRC chairman and managing director Nihal Chand Goyal told The Indian Express. Also,we would want to ensure the benefits of the project to commuters at the soonest. In such a big project,it is not possible to have it completely ready at the first go. We have to start somewhere.
The Metro was first planned as an overhead corridor,but now that the proposal is to throw it open partly finished,sources say the Congress-led government views it as a trophy project and wants to inaugurate it before the election code of conduct comes into force. Rajasthans assembly elections are due in November.
The agreement for the project had been signed on August 5,2010,with a targeted completion of June 2013,leaving just 34 months for planning,surveys,award of contracts,construction and commissioning of the line. Construction on this corridor is being completed in a record two years.
In a recent letter to the Railway Board,the JMRC has sought permission to allow the coaches borrowed from Delhi Metro to run at a maximum 45 kph. The construction activities in Jaipur Metro are expected to be completed by June and it would be possible to open the Metro for revenue operation with the existing Railway Board-approved rolling stock of Delhi Metro immediately. It has informed the Railway Board that new rolling stock procured from BEML,Bangalore,is expected to be commissioned by December after trials and approval. The JMRC has maintained that if the borrowed coaches are not deployed,the start of revenue operations is likely to be delayed almost six months.
The new rolling stock will be used when the second phaseis launched.
The first phase is meant to involve an east-west corridor from Mansarovar to Badi Chaupar. But as tunneling through the congested old city would have delayed the project,it was subdivided into phases 1(a) and (b). The 9.5 km line is phase 1(a),comprising an elevated track from Mansarovar to Chandpole,the only underground station on the line. It will stop short of entering the walled city. Phase 1(b) will be taken up thereafter,an underground stretch of 2 km linking Chhoti Chaupar and Badi Chaupar.