Magenta line mishap: Delhi Metro train on trial run breaks through wall at Kalindi Kunj
An empty metro train on a trial run broke through a boundary wall at the Kalindi Kunj depot in south-east Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. The train was to be part of the Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Mandir section (magenta line), which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25.
“The train was on a trial run, running very slow. There were no casualties,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation official.
According to a DMRC spokesperson, the accident took place at 3.40pm.
“A trial train was moved from the workshop without testing the brake system, as a result of which, while the train was moving up the ramp for washing, (it) rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall. No person was injured in the incident,” the spokesperson said, adding that a high-level inquiry has been ordered.
“Prima facie, it appears to be a human error and negligence. Appropriate action will be taken after an inquiry,” the spokesperson added.
DMRC chief spokesperson Anuj Dayal, however, said there was no need to panic because the line has full clearance from the commissioner of metro rail safety. Officials said the inauguration will go on as scheduled.
Dr Mangu Singh, the DMRC’s managing director also said the metro track was safe.
“Main line operations on this line are absolutely safe, with a high level of automation, and has been thoroughly checked and cleared by the commissioner of metro rail safety for passenger operations,” he said.
Taking to Twitter, transport minister Kailash Gahlot expressed his shock at the mishap. “I have sought a report from DMRC on the derailment of its driverless train during trial run on Kalkaji-Botanical Garden. Shocking lapse! There can be no compromise on passenger safety,” he tweeted.
The 12.64-km stretch is part of the 38.23-km Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West corridor under the Metro’s Phase III expansion plans. The section has nine stations – Botanical Garden, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Kalindi Kunj, Jasola Vihar-Shaheen Bagh, Okhla Vihar, Jamia Milia Islamia, Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla NSIC and Kalkaji Mandir.
This will also be the first Metro line with driverless trains, a first in the country. But Metro clarified that at the time of the accident, the train was being operated by a driver. “Although the trains are driverless, they will run with drivers for the first 2-3 years till the system stablises,” said an official.
DMRC said that as per the standard operating procedure, when a train enters the workshop, the brakes are decommissioned. This is done so that the train and its systems, including the brakes, can be checked. “As per the procedure, once the train is again recommissioned, the brakes should be tested by the maintenance staff in the depot before the train leaves the shed,” the corporation said in a statement released after the accident.
The train movement inside the workshop area is handled manually and not guided by the signalling system. “Prima facie, it appeared, this was not done and subsequently, the person who took charge of the train from the maintenance staff also did not check the brakes and proceeded with the train up to the washing plant built on a ramp. While stopping at the ramp, since the brakes were not available, the train rolled back causing this incident,” the spokesperson added.
This Botanical Garden-Kalkaji section is meant to reduce the travel time between the two areas from the existing 52 minutes (Botanical Garden to Mandi House via Blue Line and onwards to Kalkaji on Violet Line) to a direct 19 minutes.
The coaches on magenta line will be brightly lit with videos guiding the passengers about routes, and have Wi-Fi, USB ports along with charging points, LED and LCD screens and backrest near the wheelchair area. The seats in the new trains will be red, pink, orange and blue, giving it a lively feel.
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