New Delhi: An advanced signalling system which will run in sync with the platform screen doors and help reduce frequency and increase safety standards has delayed the opening of new lines on phase 3 of Delhi Metro.
Slated to open by March 2017, the Botanical Garden and Kalkaji Mandir section of the Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West line will now be launched ahead of Diwali on October 19, 2017.
Trial runs between Botanical Garden and Kalkaji Mandir had started on October 27, 2016 last year but testing of the new signalling system led to delay despite the construction work being completed by May.
Mangu Singh, chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), called the delay a ‘setback’ but he was confident of making the section operational by October.
“We really had a little setback as last year we started trial runs. We were anticipating it but the new signalling system has taken more time than anticipated. We were expecting this line to be operational by March, so there is a setback,” Singh said.
The new signalling system called Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) has been installed on the upcoming Pink (Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar) and Magenta (Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West) lines. It will run a total distance of 96 km.
The CBTC is an automated control system that ensures safe operation of trains using data communication between various control entities that make up the system and tracks.
“As signalling technology has developed, there have been many refinements to the old block signalling system and the emphasis has been to get away from fixed blocks as it imposes many restrictions,” said a DMRC spokesperson.
“The CBTC provides the flexibility of varying the distance between two trains according to their actual speed and their exact location. Preceding trains may not have to run in full speed braking distance because the train moving ahead won’t stop dead immediately as it would know the exact location of the train ahead of it,” the spokesperson said.
In Kochi, DMRC has implemented the CBTC technology but in Delhi the signalling system has to be synched with platform screen doors that have been installed in the new lines.
“Currently, extensive trials covering all components of Metro operations are in progress and the section is expected to be opened by October. After implementation of a new technology, safety has to be proven beyond doubt. The system has to pass though stringent checks and multiple audits before the final inspection by Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS),” the spokesperson said.
DMRC will soon apply for safety inspection, which usually takes a month.
With the opening of this section, residents of Noida will save at least 45 minutes of travelling time while going to south Delhi. The Botanical Garden Metro station will emerge as the first ever interchange metro station in the National Capital Region outside Delhi.
This station will provide interchange between the currently operational Line 3 (Noida City Centre – Dwarka Sector 21) and the upcoming Janakpuri West – Botanical Garden corridor. This Metro station will connect Noida directly with important locations of south Delhi such as Nehru Place, Kalkaji, Hauz Khas. The domestic airport will also get direct connectivity once the line is fully operational.
With the construction of this new interchange station, the travelling time between Noida and Gurgaon will come down by about half an hour to a total of 50 minutes with interchange at Hauz Khas. Presently, a journey from HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon to Botanical Garden in NOIDA takes about 1.5 hours with interchange at the busy Rajiv Chowk metro station.
Noida will also get directly connected with the domestic terminals of the Indira Gandhi International Airport for the first time. The journey from the Botanical Garden station to the domestic terminal will take about 40 minutes only.