The ‘driverless’ trains of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which were unveiled last month, will be put on track on Tuesday evening. The trial run of these trains will begin on a section of the upcoming Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar line. Union minister of urban development M Venkaiah Naidu will flag off the first train at 5.30 pm at Mukundpur Metro Depot in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Though equipped to run on ‘Unattended Train Operations’ (UTOs) mode, the trains will be run by operators till at least the end of next year. The new trains will operate on the upcoming line 7 (Pink line: Majlis Park – Shiv Vihar) and 8 (Magenta: Janakpuri West – Botanical Garden) of Phase 3. DMRC had acquired these trains last year from a Korea-based manufacturer.
Though these lines will be operational by December this year, DMRC has decided to start driverless operation after the conclusion of stringent trials to identify shortcomings and fix them.
“For smooth transition from driver to ‘driverless train’, DMRC wants enough time to ensure no problem takes place in future. Internationally, such trials generally take about one to one-and-a-half years but we are planning 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, driver’s cabin will be removed and that will create additional space for over 60 passengers.
According to DMRC, driverless trains will be controlled from the control room. Some features of the trains like starting and stopping, acceleration and braking, operation of doors and handling of emergencies are fully-automated without any on board staff.
“There is going to be a two-way communication between Operation Control Centre (OCC) and the train and the control room will monitor every activity. Obstruction Deflection Device (ODD) is installed in the train to push away small obstructions on track to avoid derailment. In addition, two front facing cameras have been installed to prevent suicide on tracks,” the DMRC official said.
The six-coach train that was ferried to India by sea arrived at Gujarat’s Mundhra port and was brought by road to Delhi on special trailers. DMRC has already assembled 14 and will add 3-4 trains every month to take the total count to 86.
“The construction work of Phase 3 is progressing satisfactorily and we should be able to complete the civil construction work and commence signaling trials on most of the stretches within this year. This new phase will have new trains and signaling technology called Communication Based Train Control (CBTC),” said Mangu Singh, MD, DMRC.