Delhi’s Ashram metro station to become the smallest in the world
The Ashram Metro station, part of the 9.7-km section of the Pink Line connecting Lajpat Nagar and Mayur Vihar pocket-I, will not only ease the commute between east and south Delhi but has also set a new world record.
With a size of just 151.6 metres against an average of 265 metres, the underground station—opening on Monday—is set to become the smallest Metro station in the world.
Before the doors of the station are formally thrown open on Monday at 4 pm, Hindustan Times brings to its readers the first look of its unique design.
The Ashram station will also greet its users with its eye-catching art work that revolves around the theme of ‘mother and child’. The colour scheme conveys the theme of ‘abundance’.
To build the station, located at the centre of one of the busiest intersections in the city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had to fight several land acquisition battles. The prolonged legal battle forced the designers to come up with a station design that took just 151.6 metres of space against the average of 265 metres.
“There was a private land that we could not acquire. Instead of waiting for two years battling the court case and delaying line, we came up with the new design,” said a senior Metro official, who has led the construction.
The DMRC had to reduce the station by almost half the average size. This was done by making the station vertically while saving space horizontally.
The official said this has become a model for Metro stations across the globe.
“Land prices are soaring and any design that can save space is a boon for governments,” he said.
At present, Bhikaji Cama Place is the smallest station in the Delhi Metro network, with a length of 225.5 metres.
The limited space led to a unique design. The station has three entry/exit gates—from National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), the fire station at Mathura Road, and from CSIR apartments.
Unlike the usual two-level stations, the station will welcome its commuters at three levels. Apart from the concourse and the platform levels, another level called the mezzanine floor has been added here.
“As soon as commuters descend from the stairs, they usually land on the concourse level. But here they will first land on the mezzanine level, where the ticket and security counters are built,” the Metro official said.
The operations room, located on the platform at other stations, has been set up on the concourse level.
Standing on the platform, commuters will be able to see the tunnels on both ends. This will be possible because usually beyond the platform, a space of at least 55 metres is left to accommodate utility rooms for staff operations. Tunnel entries and exits are constructed after those rooms.
“We have adjusted those utility rooms either on the concourse level or outside the station,” the official said.
The chiller room, from where the temperature of the station is controlled, has been constructed below the Ashram flyover instead of inside the station.
Similarly, the tunnel ventilation fans, the auxiliary substation rooms, and the environment control systems have been moved above the platform.
Space for PWD underpass
While accommodating its own utilities, the DMRC left 20 metres space inside the station—on the concourse area—from where an underpass, constructed by the Public Works Department (PWD), will cross. This underpass will connect the foot of the Nizamuddin flyover with Mathura Road near the CSIR apartments.
The space has been created by dividing the station into two sections and had been masked by art work so that Metro commuters are not disturbed.
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