The countdown for Phase 3 operations of the Delhi Metro in south Delhi has begun. While the trial run for Botanical Garden-Kalkaji corridor will start in the last week of July, the trains will run on the route from August onwards, sources in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation confirmed.
With the start of 13.5km-long corridor, the DMRC is set to spread its wings further by venturing deep into south Delhi with seven new stations including Okhla NSIC, Okhla Vihar, Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Milia Islamia, Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh, Okhla Bird Sanctuary. These stations will cut short the journey between these areas and Noida. Right now, commuters from Kalkaji going towards Botanical Garden or parts of Noida have to travel around 28km in the Metro. Once the Botanical Garden-Kalkaji corridor will start, the distance will be reduced by 12km.
People living in areas like Nehru Place, Kailash Colony, Moolchand along the Violet line are expected to reach Noida in around half an hour by changing the train at the new Kalkaji interchange station. At present, they have to change the train at Mandi House to go towards Noida which takes almost an hour.
Once the Hauz Khas Metro station will become an interchange between Yellow Line and the under construction Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden corridor (Magenta Line) of Phase-3, passengers coming from Gurgaon on the Yellow line will be able to get down at Hauz Khas and take a direct train to Kalkaji. By doing so they will be able to save travel of about 13.14km. Presently, for the same route the interchange facility is available only at Central Secretariat station and the distance is about 18.6km and with Line 8 connectivity in Phase-3, the distance between Hauz Khas and Kalkaji will be 5.45km and the travel time between Gurgaon and Noida will be brought down by at least 30 minutes.
The exact date for the opening of Hauz Khas interchange station is not known, but it is expected to be made operational by November, sources said.
The Kalkaji Mandir Metro station is all set to emerge as a premier interchange hub after the completion of Phase 3 with direct connectivity from Faridabad to Noida. The new station will be underground whereas the present station is an elevated one. A foot overbridge (FoB) will connect the new station with the old.
All the stations on the route will be elevated except for the Kalkaji interchange Metro station that would be underground. The new station will have an upper concourse in addition to the main concourse. The new corridor once opened will be a blessing for people living in Jamia Nagar, Sukhdev Vihar and other nearby areas as they presently have no direct Metro connectivity and have to take public transport to go to Jasola Apollo station or Sarita Vihar to board the Metro. It will also bring people closer to Jamia Milia Islamia.
The new corridor will also change the way Delhi travels with several new facilities like driverless trains, smart signalling, platform screen doors and CCTV monitoring inside all trains being introduced.
Driverless trains equipped with advanced features will run on this corridor. The Delhi Metro had recently unveiled fully automated driverless trains. “These trains are eco-friendly and have additional features to enhance passenger comfort and are designed for a maximum speed of 95kmph (the operational speed is 85 kmph),” an official said.
“Initially, drivers will be deputed to operate the trains but they will be gradually withdrawn,” he added. It will also be a blessing for Metro travellers as 60 additional passengers can be accommodated once the driver’s cabin is removed. The new train will be 10% faster and consume 20% less energy. The coaches too would be 3.2m wide against the existing 2.9m.
PLATFORM SCREEN DOORS
Kalkaji, Okhla, Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Milia Islamia etc stations will be among the first corridors where platform screen doors (PSDs) will be installed. PSDs are unmovable screens that act as a partition between platforms and trains. The step has been taken to stop incidents of people jumping on the Metro tracks in an attempt to commit suicide. Currently, only the airport line has such doors. After 17 suicides and 49 suicide attempts in 2012, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had asked the DMRC to install CCTV cameras at the end of the platforms. CISF staff closely monitors the camera feed before the trains arrive on platforms. The doors will also help better crowd management, DMRC officials said.
“The height of the doors will be 1.7m and one side of the platform will have 64 display panels (LCD screens) besides platform screen gates for advertisements,” an official added.
Smart signalling to increase frequency
The Delhi Metro will introduce smart signalling system on this route to do away with problems of low frequency of the trains. The current signalling system relies on track circuit boxes placed on the tracks that determine the speed of the train and its frequency. The new communication-based train control (CBTC) system depends on radio communication, which will enable DMRC to cut down the current minimum frequency between trains from 2.5 minute to 90 seconds and 1.5 minute. The immediate benefit of the new signalling system is the increase in the number of trips during rush hours.
With most passengers remaining glued to their smartphones in the train, the new trains will be equipped with Wi-Fi. To enhance safety, there will be on-board CCTV cameras for inside and outside view of the train. The CCTV images could be directly accessed by the control centre in driverless mode. It will also have Dynamic Route Maps in each door panel to let passenger know their journey status. In addition to the existing 230V AC charging sockets, USB slots have also been provided for mobile charging. Each coach can accommodate a maximum of 380 passengers, which translates to 2,280 passengers in each train set of six coaches. The trains will also be more energy efficient than earlier ones because of better regeneration of energy during braking, energy efficient sub systems like LED lighting and air conditioning systems. The new coach will be fitted with four 18.5 inch LCD screens to run audio-visuals messages and commercials.