The Delhi Metro is racing towards another target. This time, its high-speed airport link will run through a tunnel 18 metre below the airport’s operational runway.
Of the six foreign metropolises that have a high-speed airport links, only Hong Kong and Singapore have underground sections below their operational area and tarmac. The 19-km-long link between New Delhi Railway station and Indira Gandhi International Airport has both elevated and underground sections .
The line will go underground just below the main runway after the Palam junction and pass through the airport area.
Passengers will be able to check in at New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium and Dhaula Kuan stations and also get boarding passes from airline counters at the stations. They will be able to book their baggage at these stations, except Dhaula Kuan.
Half the coaches in each train will carry luggage, which would be transferred from the station to the IGI airport through a special 400-metre-long baggage- handling tunnel.
Like the other underground sections, the digging work will be done by tunnel boring machines so that the runway above is not affected. Two TBMs will be used from November. “There would be a gap of 18 metres of soil, which is good enough and nothing would be felt on the surface,” said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation spokesman Anuj Dayal.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will construct the basic civil structure but the section would be operated by a private concessionaire, who would install all systems, commission and operate the system for 30 years.
The line will further extend to Dwarka Sector 21 and the whole section will be completed by October 2010.