Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi witnessed a different kind of cargo being offloaded. The first coach of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) much-awaited fleet of new trains was on Thursday airlifted from Goerlitz in Germany to Delhi.
It was the first time a railway coach was airlifted and transported to India. The existing metro trains were brought to India by the sea route.
The Antonov AN-124 aircraft, which carried the metro coach, on Thursday landed at the New Delhi airport at about 4.45 p.m. DMRC officials, including managing director E. Sreedharan and officials of Bombardier, the company manufacturing the metro coaches for the DMRC, were present.
It was the first of the eight coaches (two train sets) airlifted from Germany in two Antonov aircraft. DMRC officials said the eight coaches would be delivered in the next few days. The DMRC will get nine trains from Germany by June this year. The remaining seven trains would be transported through the sea route.
Bombardier has already set up its manufacturing unit in Savli near Vadodara in Gujarat, which will supply the remaining 74 trains to the DMRC by the end of 2010.
The new trains will be commissioned by June this year. According to Sreedharan, the first three sets of the trains will be inducted on line 2 between Central Secretariat and Jehangirpuri.
“This is the most crowded section of the metro. Induction of new trains will definitely help ease congestion on line 2. The fourth and sixth set of trains arriving in Delhi will be put on line 3 (Dwarka-Indraprastha Depot) while the fifth set will also be inducted on line 2,” Sreedharan said.
Stephane Ramboud-Measson, president (passengers), Bombardier, said they built the coaches in record time of 18 months. “There was no pressure from the DMRC but the company definitely wanted it expedited,” he said.
New coaches, named Movia, come equipped with some new features. “There are CCTVs and rear view cameras, audio-visual alarm for operation of all doors, etc.,” said Bombardier’s president and managing director (India) Rajeev Jyoti said.