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Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020
Home / Delhi News / Mapping 15 years of Delhi Metro: Here’s how the commute has changed

Mapping 15 years of Delhi Metro: Here’s how the commute has changed

The Delhi Metro was launched on this day back in the year 2002.

delhi Updated: Dec 25, 2017 21:25 IST
Sweta Goswami and Faizan Haidar
Sweta Goswami and Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi Metro trains parked at the DMRC’s one and half kilometer elevated train stabling yard at Jasola Vihar in New Delhi.
Delhi Metro trains parked at the DMRC’s one and half kilometer elevated train stabling yard at Jasola Vihar in New Delhi.(Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)

From its launch on December 25, 2002, to the Rajiv Chowk interchange station emerging as the game-changer in 2005, the Delhi Metro has seamlessly seeped into our lives which once used to be all about creaking buses and rapacious autowallahs.

Here’s a look at how the Metro has evolved.

Metro network

Then: Starting from an 8.5km line, the network reached 95.79km in 2009. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games, it took a big leap and almost doubled to 184.14km in 2010-11.

Now: The growth has been slow since then and Delhi Metro now has a network of 218km. Another 13km will be added with Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Magenta line. Year 2018 will see an addition of 120km.

Number of coaches

Then: First section between Shahdara and Tis Hazari had 6 trains of 4 coaches each. As overcrowding started causing problem, more coaches were added to the existing fleet.

Now: The Delhi Metro currently operates a fleet of 227 train sets comprising 128 six-coach, 58 eight-coach and 41 four-coach trains. In all, 227 train sets mean the Metro has a total of 1,500 coaches or bogies.

Station design

Then: Remember the cream-coloured walls of stations? Initially, the DMRC had decided to keep the walls uniform. Cream colour was chosen on the assumption that it will not distract motorists on the road.

Now: The stations are now swanky. Govindpuri has street art designs while Jama Masjid and Mandi house have Mughal-era architecture. Upcoming stations like Kalkaji will have glossy walls in bright colours like blue, yellow.


Then: Initially, space on platforms was less with no queue control. Security concerns forced DMRC to find ways of crowd management.

Now: New lines under Phase-3 will have platform screen doors to prevent suicide bids and attempts to jump on to tracks. Airport Line has these doors and some busy stations like Rajiv Chowk and New Delhi, are also scheduled to get them.

Airport line

Then: It was opened in Feb 2011 with about 10,000 people using it. It was closed from 7 July, 2012 to 22 Jan, 2013 due to technical problems.

Now: DMRC took over operations of the line from a private company in 2013. Now the average ridership is about 50,000 per day. Highest ridership was achieved on 17 October, 2017 when 62,958 passengers used the line.


Then: For Delhi metro, building a bridge or tunnel was easy earlier. Thanks to the rules then, they were able to get land and block traffic easily.

Now: Though the technology has improved, traffic congestion and change in land acquisition act have been delaying projects. To block a road for construction is almost impossible now. So, most of the work has to be done at night.

Double tunnels

Then: In the first decade of Delhi Metro, building tracks was almost like painting on an empty canvass. Underground and elevated corridors were built without having to worry about existing metro tunnels. This has become a planning issue for the DMRC now.

Now: To overcome this problem, the Delhi Metro corporation started building tunnel over tunnel. The tunnel between Sarojini Nagar and INA on the Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar corridor is constructed below the existing underground section of Samaypur Badli–HUDA City Centre line. Same has been done at two more locations.

Highest and deepest points

Then: For seven years, Delhi Metro’s deepest station was Chawri Bazar, which is 25m below the ground. Karkardooma station on Yamuna Bank-Vaishali line is the highest station located at the height of 19m.

Now: The upcoming inter-change station at Hauz Khas will be the deepest. It is being built 29 metres below the ground. The Metro line crossing Dhaula Kuan station will be the new highest point. At a height of 23.6 metres it will be equivalent to a seven-storey building.

Tokens or Smart Cards

Then: The first tickets were printed on paper, just like platform tickets at the railway stations. Soon metro shifted to smart cards and plastic tokens.

Now: The technology has evolved and your credit card is now your travel card. Smart card recharges can also be done online. Besides, DMRC is working on new technology where your phone could be your travel card.


Then: For several years, coaches were brought from South Korea and Germany. They used to be airlifted and brought to Delhi.

Now: The DMRC has stopped importing coaches now. All its trains are indigenous and are built in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. The practice of simply assembling imported coaches into a train has now been discontinued.


Then: In 2002, there were no toilets or dustbins at stations. DMRC said no to dustbins fearing bombs could be planted.

Now: Following a court order, DMRC began making toilets from 2007 and providing dustbins from 2015. Now, it has toilets at almost every station. In phase-3, designs provide for toilets within the station premises.

Ladies coaches

Then: For the first seven years of its operation, Metro didn’t have reserved seats or a coach for women. Activists protested the move and raised demand for a separate coach.

Now: On Oct 2, 2010, Delhi Metro introduced the ‘ladies coach’. First coach of every train is reserved for women. Besides, seats are also reserved in general coaches. The platform area from where women board the ladies coach is painted pink.

Metro bridge over Yamuna

Then: The first bridge over Yamuna was constructed at Shastri Park on Red Line (Rithala-Dilshad Garden) as part of Phase 1. Later, in Phase 2, another bridge was built at Yamuna Bank on Blue Line (Dwarka to Vaishali/Noida).

Now: Three more bridges have been built on the Yamuna ever since. One is the stretch connecting Yamuna Bank and Indraprastha on Blue Line and the other two are part of the Phase 3 project — Kalindi Kunj on Magenta Line and Nizamuddin on Pink Line (Majlis Park to Shiv Vihar).


Then: Passengers used to be frisked by Delhi Police and baggage was checked only randomly. Security used to rely a lot on inputs given by the Intelligence Bureau that used to audit stations regularly.

Now: On April 13, 2007, the Central Industrial Security Forced (CISF) took over Delhi Metro’s security arrangements with 1,633 personnel. Currently, about 7,000 security personnel are posted with Delhi Metro and CISF is equipped to handle any untoward incident.


Then: When Metro trains were first introduced, they didn’t have CCTV cameras or charging points. It was a basic train with no additional facilities.

Now: Trains have charging points and CCTV cameras. The trains that will be part of Phase 3 will even have USB ports, back rest and Wi-Fi. These will be open to public from 4pm on Monday.