The introduction of ‘driverless’ trains will allow Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to run metro services at every 90 seconds.
Currently, technicalities and train features don’t allow Metro to run at a frequency lower than two minutes. The ‘driverless’ trains were put on track on Tuesday evening.
“I was discussing with Metro officials whether we can have non-stop or limited stop trains but I was told frequency will be affected by this. The new trains will allow DMRC to run trips at every 90 seconds, there shouldn’t be any problem,” Union minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu said at the trial run.
Naidu said that experiments such as odd-even were temporary and to reduce pollution, public transport had to be strengthened. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said Metro can help people give up cars and use public transport.
The inaugural train moved out from the Mukundpur depot and travelled up to the Majlis Park Metro station of the Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar Metro corridor of Phase 3 (Pink Line).
The new trains, with extremely high levels of automation, will undergo rigorous trials to ensure they are ready for smooth operations after the commissioning of the new corridors.
Initially, the trains will be manned but gradually driverless operations (on the unattended train operation mode) will be possible. A green receiving sub station (RSS) for the power requirement of the Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar corridor was inaugurated at Mukundpur.
The RSS has been entirely designed as a green structure with features such as solar power plant, rain water harvesting and sewage water treatment facilities.
DMRC acquired these trains last year from a Korea-based manufacturer.
Though these lines will open by December this year, DMRC has decided to start driverless operations after stringent trials to identify shortcomings.
“For smooth transition from driver to ‘driverless train’s, DMRC wants enough time to ensure no problem takes place. Internationally, such trials generally take about one to one-and-a-half years but we plan to complete them in a year. Many new metro systems world over are adopting this new technology,” said a DMRC official.
Once the train is ready for driverless operations, the driver’s cabin will be removed and that will create additional space for over 60 passengers.