Delhi Metro | DMRC tests new driverless trains at Mukundpur depot

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New Delhi: Delhi Metro has been quietly testing trains at its Mukundpur depot in the northern part of the city. Earmarked to be deployed on the two new corridors coming up in phase III, what makes these trains unique is that there’s no driver to operate them.

“The trains procured for phase III are driverless trains, which will initially have staff deputed for operation but gradually, they will be withdrawn to move to unattended train operation,” said Anuj Dayal, spokesman for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The testing started in December last year when the first set of five trains arrived at Mukundpur depot from South Korea. Another three are expected to reach Delhi by February this year. “The trains are under commissioning, that is, testing and integration with signalling system, electrical fittings, etc are going on,” added Dayal. Interestingly, besides these made-in Korea trains, a desi-built train on the same specifications also arrived in the depot last December. This train though, has been manufactured in Bengaluru, said Dayal.

The desi-built train, according to Dayal, is part of the contract conditions for Delhi Metro. While the trains are designed by Hyundai Rotem, only 20 six-coach train sets were shipped from South Korea. The remaining 366 coaches-that is, 61 trains of six coaches-are being built in the BEML factory in Bengaluru as part of a tie-up between the two firms.

These 366 coaches are being built on the basis of the 20 trains imported from Changwon, South Korea. “The prototype came on June 4, 2015. Since then manufacturing of 61 trains has been going on in the Indian factory. Indigenisation is one of the main focus areas of DMRC in all procurements,” added Dayal. In fact, the two of the “make-in India” trains have already arrived at the Mukundpur depot, including one on January 12 this year. All are being tested at the depot.

The trains being commissioned for phase III are different in many ways. Apart from being the first driverless trains in the Delhi Metro system, they are technologically more evolved than the existing trains. Their look will also be different, said Dayal, adding, “The trains will be more colourful and have more space inside.”

The six coach trains will be deployed on the Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar and Janakpuri (west)-Botanical Garden lines. “Train operators are not required to run these trains. The operations control centres of the Delhi Metro system will directly regulate their movement,” added Dayal. Because the trains are driverless, DMRC is also installing platform screen doors at all stations in the phase III. The new trains will also be more spacious, promised Dayal. Each coach can accommodate a maximum of 380 passengers. “The trains can accommodate 40 more commuters as the driver’s cabin is no longer required,” said Dayal.
Even the interior is visually appealing. Colourful seats, bum support for commuters to stand near the door and non-skid flooring are some features. A live feed will be available inside the train through a 37-inch LCD display. The new trains will have four motorised cars and two trailer cars. This will help in improving train speed and offer better acceleration and de-acceleration. “It will result in saving 12 minutes of the journey time on the 56km-long route,” said Dayal. The average speed of the new trains is also fractionally better at 35kmph. At present, the rolling stock’s average speed is 32kmph.

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