Delhi Metro’s first ‘standard’ gauge train set reached its under-construction Mundka depot on Thursday.
Up to now, all Metro tracks in Delhi have been of the ‘broad gauge’ type.
Standard gauge (4ft-8.5in) tracks are roughly 15 per cent narrower than broad gauge tracks (5ft-6in). However, Metro sources said cabin space would not be compromised by the reduced track width.
Standard gauge tracks are being laid on the 18.5-km Inderlok-Mundka Metro corridor that is likely to open in September this year.
Two other lines are being laid on the standard gauge: the Central Secretariat-Badarpur line that will open in June 2010 and the Airport ‘express’ line from New Delhi Railway Station to IGI Airport, which will be completed in September 2010.
Reason for change
Almost 95 per cent of all metro rail systems in the world are based on standard gauge tracks. Delhi Metro’s initial choice of broad gauge for its 65 km first phase was influenced by the Kolkata Metro.
“Since the Kolkata Metro was based on broad gauge, the central government decided to go for broad gauge in Delhi too. Later, we felt that standard gauge was more suited to a city like Delhi. Moreover, all metro systems in the world run on standard gauge,” DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal said.
However, the extension of Line 2 (Jehangirpuri-Central Secretariat) to Gurgaon and Line 3 (Dwarka-Indraprastha) to Noida and Anand Vihar ISBT will be on broad gauge, a DMRC official said.
The standard gauge train set that arrived on Thursday comprises two driving trailer coaches and two motor coaches.
A special kilometre-long track has been laid at the Mundka depot to test it.
Delhi Metro is sourcing 48 standard gauge trains (196 coaches) and this was the only set to be imported. The rest are being built at Bharat Earth Movers Limited’s facility in Bangalore.