The airport metro express service which remained suspended till two months ago is yet to get rid of the glitches that cropped up within a year of its inception in February 2011.
According to officials, some cracks on the tracks are yet to be repaired by the concessionaire Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure. Because of this, high-speed trains cannot gather optimum momentum on the tracks.
After civil repair work by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and a safety nod by Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) RK Kardam, the train service on the 22.7 km corridor had resumed in January with a restricted speed of 50 kmph. The speed was to be gradually increased up to 80 kmph.
Accordingly, the Delhi Metro increased the speed of trains designed to run at 120 kmph, from 50 kmph to 70 kmph in two steps by early February.
However, DMRC could not increase the speed further allegedly due to cracks found on the tracks.
The speed of trains on the corridor was increased from 50 kmph to 60 kmph on January 29 and to 70 kmph on February 10.
“There are some fine cracks on the tracks and so the speed of trains cannot be increased further until these are repaired and the Ministry of Railways gives the nod to increase speed,” said Jitendra Tyagi, director (works), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
Damages on the tracks in the airport Metro line were first identified in December 2011, which drastically slowed down the trains on the tracks, according to Rajiv Chaudhry, executive director works (planning), Ministry of Railways.
Asked why the cracks were yet to be repaired, a DAMEPL spokesperson said, “Experts and consultants have said the cracks are of minor and insignificant nature and will only need to be kept under observation. We hope to receive permission for running the trains at 80kmph very soon.”
The restricted speed of 50 kmph when the Airport Metro Express services resumed in January resulted in lukewarm response from commuters.