Delhi: Metro rail

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Burqa-clad passengers ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 5, 2016

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

History

Sandeep Unnithan , On the right track “India Today” 21/8/2017

The Delhi Metro was not India's first underground metro rail system. That distinction belongs to the Calcutta Metro commissioned in 1984. But what the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation did achieve was creating an institution that executed projects with breathtaking speed and efficiency and minimal time and cost overruns to deliver a world-class mass rapid transit system. While Calcutta Metro's 27-km stretch took 12 years to complete, the Delhi Metro took seven for its first 65-km line, two years and nine months ahead of schedule, in 2005. Today, the Delhi Metro spans 218 kms in Delhi, with 164 stations, and a separate 17-km Airport Express link with six stations. It also snakes into Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, providing a pollution-free transport alternative to the vehicle-choked National Capital Region. Six Indian cities have the metro rail, with projects under way in a dozen others, from Ahmedabad to Kanpur. The DMRC Gold Standard of project execution has ensured its managing director, E. Sreedharan, 85, can never hang up his boots. His newest attempt to resign from the metro rail project in UP was stymied by chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

1995-2017: The major milestones

See graphics:

1995-2005- Delhi Metro’s major milestones

2008-2017- Delhi Metro’s major milestones

Delhi Metro network in figures, as on December 25, 2017

1995-2005- Delhi Metro’s major milestones
From: December 25, 2017: The Times of India
2008-2017- Delhi Metro’s major milestones
From: December 25, 2017: The Times of India
Delhi Metro network in figures, as on December 25, 2017
From: Sidhartha Roy, December 25, 2017: The Times of India

2002-2016: Growth, as well as ageing

Delhi Metro: the remodelling done in 2016.
The Times of India

Rumu Banerjee, Under strain, Metro plans to beat the rush, Sep 18 2016 : The Times of India


Over 14 years, Metro has changed the way Delhiites travel. But with a massive rise in passenger count, DMRC is taking its reinvention seriously

With passengers having risen from a mere lakh in 2002 to over 27 lakh now, and with two new corridors to open in 2017, the urban train system is straining to maintain the standards with which it began operations.

The wear and tear of 14 years is quite visible: trains break down more often now, the overhead electrification system regularly gets disrupted and even outages halt the services. Outside the stations, autorickshaws, e-rickshaws, buses and cars vie for space, crowding out the commuters. Inside the stations, it's no better. The passenger count at major stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, HUDA City Centre and GTB Nagar is between 50,000 and 80,000 every day . Not surprisingly, Delhi Metro has had to induct more marshals or `customer facilitation agents' -400 at around 20 busy stations -in the past year.

Delhi Metro: frequently asked questions: Sept 2016.
The Times of India

But the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is not sitting idly watching this chaos unfold. It does have plans to streamline the system. For one, the company is reconfiguring the stations. Says Sharat Sharma, director (operations): “Nine stations on Line 2 and Line 3 are being been remodelled for better passenger convenience. This includes shifting and relocation of stairs, ticket counters and exitentry gates to ease congestion.“ The nine stations are HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, New Delhi, Kirti Nagar, Guru Dronacharya, MG Road and Noida Sector 15, Noida Sector 16 and Noida City Centre.

At Rajiv Chowk, for instance, the Viewers' Gallery, shut all these years to commuters, has been made accessible to them to enable easy passage to either platforms there. “We saw that almost 35,000 passengers entered the station from Gates 5 to 8 and crossed the bridge to get to the other platform. The opening up of the Viewers' Gallery allows better distribution of passenger flow,“ explains Sharma.

The driverless train tested in January 2016; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, January 27, 2016

At HUDA City Centre, Chandni Chowk and New Delhi, the ticket counters and automated fare collection gates were increased or relocated to create space for passengers.The points where CISF frisked commuters were similarly shifted. The operations director says that to ensure hassle-free passenger services, 171 new token vending machines were put up at major stations, while around 180 new fare collection gates have been erected at busy stations for the convenience of passengers making an entry or an exit.

Delhi Metro: Number of trains running (total and during peak hours) as in September 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The overcrowding can often result in accidents. In 2014-15, 71 passengers jumped on to or fell on the tracks. And while this figure slid to 35 in 2015-16, passenger safety remains a big concern. To address this, DMRC plans to install platform screen doors at Central Secretariat, Rajiv Chowk, New Delhi, Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk and Kashmere Gate. The restraining screens will not only prevent accidental falls and deter suicide attempts, but also enable better crowd management. “The doors will enable optimum utilisation of the platform space,“ assures a DMRC official.

How Phases I, II and III were implemented

11 corridors, 160km and why it was so tough, April 5, 2018: The Times of India

10 spots where metro in Delhi faced stumbling blocks
From: 11 corridors, 160km and why it was so tough, April 5, 2018: The Times of India


DMRC Says Phase III Was Its Biggest Challenge Yet

Phases I and II of Delhi Metro had laid the foundation of a robust mass rapid transit system in the capital, connecting all four corners of the city and the larger NCR. Phase III, which is nearing completion, has connected the linear corridors of the earlier phases and made the metro accessible to most major localities of the city. But metro says it’s the third phase that was the toughest so far in terms of the engineering challenges it posed.

At 160km, the entire Phase III is equal to phases I and II combined. It saw work on 11 different corridors with 30 mammoth tunnel boring machines and a workforce of 30,000. The civil engineering challenges encountered on the way have been compiled in a book, ‘Delhi Metro—Phase 3 Challenges’, which was unveiled on Wednesday by DMRC managing director Mangu Singh. Written by Anuj Dayal, DMRC’s executive director (corporate communication), it focuses on the three main corridors—Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar Pink Line, Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden Magenta Line and Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate Violet Line.

“All these corridors were constructed through extremely congested residential as well as commercial areas. While the Pink Line passed through Ring Road, the Magenta Line was constructed along Outer Ring Road and the Violet Line entered the congested Walled City localities that had centuries-old buildings and innumerable structures of historical importance,” Dayal said.

He added, “Many unexpected engineering challenges were encountered while constructing these sections and DMRC’s engineers had to come up with out-of-the-box solutions. At many locations, stations had to be redesigned while at many other sites, the movement of the gigantic TBMs had to be re-planned.”

For this phase, DMRC not only had to dig through rocky terrain, pass through thickly populated areas and cross over flyovers, underpasses and railway tracks but also cross the hurdle of its own existing elevated network. The Pink Line in particular, which intersects with different existing metro corridors at 11 locations, had to be planned and constructed keeping existing corridors in mind. DMRC reached a new milestone when the Pink Line was constructed above the Airport Express Line and the pillars rose up to 23 metres, the highest point touched by the metro so far.

But the bigger challenge was of acquiring land. Compared to the previous phases, where acquiring land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was fairly smooth, the new land acquisition law made it tougher. At many locations, DMRC had to directly negotiate with individual landowners, which turned out to be a difficult and timeconsuming process.

The book lists out the locations such as Chirag Dilli, Okhla and Kalindi Kunj where acquiring land was tough. The entire Janakpuri West to Palam stretch of the Magenta Line had to be built underground as an elevated corridor would have resulted in massive demolition of existing structures.

Work on underground corridors, which is always more challenging than building elevated corridors, saw a quantum jump in Phase III. While Phase I and II combined had 47km of underground sections, Phase III has 54km.

Five other stumbling blocks

KALINDI KUNJ: The third Yamuna bridge had to be built near this interchange station of the Magenta Line. The Okhla barrage is located just metres away from the bridge and men and material had to be regularly removed from the site when water was released from the barrage

PUNJABI BAGH: At a location near the Punjabi Bagh station of the Pink Line, it was not possible to provide a pillar due to the existing underpass on Rohtak Road. To cross the road, a special span of 60 metres was built to connect the viaduct to Punjabi Bagh station. Since the corridor passes below the existing Inderlok-Mundka metro corridor, the vertical clearance available for the road traffic underneath was the major constraint. This was solved by providing a steel truss in place of conventional PSC (Pressured Concrete) box segmental construction

RAJOURI GARDEN: As the Pink Line passes below the existing Blue Line corridor at Rajouri Garden, it was not possible to erect pillars on the road. To maintain vertical clearance from the road, DMRC prefabricated a steel bridge, which was placed below the existing elevated metro line at Rajouri Garden in a six-day operation

ANAND VIHAR: The Pink Line crosses the Anand Vihar railway station and the yard between Anand Vihar and Karkarduma Metro stations. There are 13 running railway lines that made it one of the most difficult crossings. Six pillars have been erected in the railway compound in such a way that there is no infringement of the metro line with the railway operations

CROSSING NH-24: The Pink Line passes over the National Highway 24 towards Ghaziabad at two locations – between Vinod Nagar and Vinod Nagar East and between IP Extension and the Vinod Nagar Metro depot.

In June 2014, NHAI informed DMRC that there should not be any metro pillar within 90 metres of the right of way (ROW) of NH-24, since the stretch was now a part of the Meerut Express Way project. DMRC had to dismantle two pillars redesign new pillars

How Metro Changed Life In Delhi-NCR

December 25, 2017: The Times of India


NEW U SPECIALS

For decades, U Specials, for university-bound buses, were the only mode of transport for students travelling to Delhi University’s north campus. All that changed when the Kashmere Gate to Vishwavidyalaya section of Delhi Metro opened. The metro is a huge hit with the young crowd and the growing metro network has meant that students living in far-flung areas can easily reach their colleges without caring about the distance from home.

BEYOND THE WALL

The Walled City or Shahjahanabad, popular for its lip-smacking delicacies and bargain shopping, was forbidding for many citizens due to lack of parking, the narrow lanes and the mindboggling congestion. Delhi Metro opened up this quarter of Old Delhi to the rest of the capital when the Chandni Chowk station opened. The huge ridership not only surprised Old Delhi shop owners, but DMRC too, which had to create additional infrastructure to deal with the unexpected crowds.

BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES

Public works projects meant years of delay and chaotic, material-strewn work sites until DMRC introduced the concept of barricades at construction sites. The idea was lapped up by other civic agencies and has become a standard practice. DMRC even washed the tyres of its trucks carrying dug up soil to avoid soiling the roads.

CP’S REVIVAL

Once the prime shopping hub of New Delhi, Connaught Place lost its sheen after swank malls began opening up in other parts of the city and in Gurgaon. Shoppers began deserting CP, so much so that the once beautiful central park even became a den for drug addicts. The advent of Delhi Metro, however, turned the tide for the heritage commercial centre. The train service brought the shoppers back, and CP is now a happening place, particularly with the youth.

WILD WEST NO MORE

South Delhi has always the coveted address in the capital and west Delhi was a place you disdained. Delhi Metro changed this with its Midas touch. When the Blue Line came up, the nondescript Najafgarh Road turned into a mall mile. This part of Delhi and particularly the area around Rajouri Garden is now dotted with malls and multiplexes, which attract enviable crowds. For residents of west Delhi, buying the best no longer involves a trek all the way to South Extension.

PAPPAN KALAN BECOMES DWARKA

Before it became the thriving sub-city it is now, Dwarka was known as Pappan Kalan. It was almost a ghost town with rows of mostly empty apartment buildings that no one wanted to move into due to the area’s distance from central Delhi. DDA made a smart move and offered to partially fund the extension of Delhi Metro to Dwarka. With the urban train network bringing Dwarka closer to the heart of Delhi, people moved in and real estate prices skyrocketed.

MAKING NCR A REALITY

The National Capital Region was but a concept till Delhi Metro helped turn it into reality. The urban train network has expanded well beyond the capital and connects it with Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. While Noida always had a comparatively good public transport system, Gurgaon residents were largely dependent on private transport. Those living in Faridabad and Ghaziabad made do with the vagaries of bus rides or Gramin Sewa vehicles. Delhi Metro brought NCR towns closer to the capital and to each other.

HERITAGE TRAIL

Accessing the city’s long history invested in its monuments wasn’t easy. The metro network, however, shortened the distance between Qutub Minar in deep south to Mutiny Memorial in the north through a singular corridor. Information provided by Delhi Metro at many stations helps discover some not so well known monuments too. In fact, the recently opened Heritage Corridor is so named because it links important historical structures along a single line.

Linking West Delhi with Gurgaon/ 2018

Sidhartha Roy, How metro went the extra mile to shrink distance between W Delhi and Gurgaon, April 20, 2018: The Times of India

Many Engineering Challenges Overcome As INA Station Set To Become Interchange Point For Pink And Yellow Lines From June

Delhi Metro’s INA station will become an important interchange point for commuters when the second section of the Pink Line opens in June. For one, the interchange point there between the Pink Line and the Yellow Line will shrink the distance between west Delhi and Gurgaon, which means people from areas such as Naraina, Mayapuri, Rajouri Garden and Punjabi Bagh can get on the train to the Haryana city at INA, instead of taking a long detour via Rajiv Chowk.

And when the Pink Line expands to Mayur Vihar, expectedly by September, Gurgaon will come closer to many south Delhi areas that don’t currently have metro connectivity.

INA station will be unique for having the new platform of the Pink Line (Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar) above the concourse level, a first in the rail network’s construction history, pointed out Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson Anuj Dayal. “The best part for commuters boarding the Pink Line at this station will be the couple of minutes it will take to get into a train because the escalators and lifts will lead directly from the ground level to the platform,” Dayal added. Unlike at other stations, ticketing at two of the main entry points — on Aurobindo Marg and at Dilli Haat - will be at ground level.

The reason why there is no ‘full concourse’ at the Pink Line INA station is because it had to be built above the existing tunnel of the Yellow Line (Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre) and there wasn’t enough space available. The new station lies at 90 degrees to the existing station.

“It is for the first time that a station was built over the existing tunnel connecting the functioning INA and AIIMS stations,” Dayal said. “Also, probably for the first time in India, we resorted to cut-and-cover construction over the existing operational tunnel, so there is one point where trains of both the lines and the concourses will operate on top of each other.”

Dayal added, “This was done here because of the height variation between the existing INA station and the upcoming new INA station owing to the already existing Metro tunnel at the location. DMRC had to modify the station design to adjust to the new circumstances.”

Passengers who want to change from the new INA station to the old INA station will have to go down one level from the platform of the new station to the concourse level for further access to the concourse of the old INA station. Dayal assured, “There will be proper signage to guide commuters.”

The construction of the station over an existing tunnel was a big engineering challenge for DMRC. “We had to ensure that constant pressure was maintained on the existing tunnel, in the absence of which it would have got damaged,” a DMRC official revealed. “That is why the construction work was divided into six compartments and work went on in two compartments at a time.”

On the ground level, DMRC is also creating a green area that will serve as a plaza where commuters can relax. The top of a skylight above the interchange area is also being developed as an incline so as to allow a view of the areas surrounding the station.

2018: Metro’s oldest line is ageing

Sidhartha Roy, Age catching up with metro’s oldest line, August 22, 2018: The Times of India

RED LINE: Station Facade, Train Coaches Show Signs Of Neglect; Infra Outside Also In Decrepit State

When it opened on Christmas Day in 2002, the Shahdara-Tis Hazari section of Delhi Metro’s Red Line was a showpiece the likes of which the capital had never seen before — gleaming steel coaches, squeaky clean stations, escalators and automated fare collection gates. But over a decade and a half, the pioneering corridor has aged, and not too gracefully.

The signs of age are now visible at Red Line stations, with plaster peeling off at the halts at Dilshad Garden, Mansarovar Park, Seelampur, Shahdara, among others. There also are seepage-damaged walls, broken tiles, stairs marred by paan stains, eroding plaster on the walls and dusty floors. The trains on the corridor too aren’t in the pink of health, and many face the problem of water leaking from the airconditioning system.

“The maintenance of the Red Line poses more challenges than the other lines,” admitted A K Garg, director (Operations), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. “Anything old requires a higher level of maintenance. Many stations on this line are at ground level, which means more dust coming inside. Many are near low-lying areas and are affected by sewage and rainwater flowing in occasionally.”

“We try to maintain all our lines with equal zeal,” added Garg. However, a visit by TOI to stations between Dilshad Garden and Kashmere Gate proved that compared with other corridors of the Delhi Metro, the oldest line needs urgent attention.

At Dilshad Garden, the façade shows neglect, with the peeling plaster giving the station a rundown appearance and the tiles on the pavement outside not in good shape either. The next stop, Jhilmil, too looks decrepit with tiles fallen off the walls and lying on the ground. There’s water seepage on the walls, which are discoloured with pigeon droppings. DMRC conceded that Jhilmil being an industrial area, the station there has to contend with more dust, dirt and soot than others.

The worst station on the Red Line has to be Mansarovar Garden. It is almost attached to the Shahdara flyover on GT Road and its main entry point is a dark and dank spot below the flyover. Garbage can be seen everywhere near the entry point, while the service road is choked with e-rickshaws and the pavement close by is in a dilapidated state.

Garg said that DMRC constructs and beautifies the access areas near its stations before handing them over to the respective civic agencies, after which it is the responsibility of the civic agency to ensure cleanliness and keep it free of encroachments. Saying that regular meetings are held with civic officials on these issues, Garg added, “We make all efforts but need their cooperation too.” When apprised of this, Bipin Bihari Singh, mayor of EDMC, said he is taking cognisance of DMRC’s numerous complaints and will launch a drive to improve conditions around metro stations.

The oldest stations on the corridor, such as Shahdara, Seelampur and Welcome, paint a similarly gloomy picture. While potholed roads welcome commuters to the Shahdara station, they have to tiptoe across muck to enter the Seelampur station.

All is not lost though. “We have started surveying all stations built in Phase I, beginning with the Red Line,” Garg said. DMRC is now planning a major overhaul of the Red Line, including the stations between Dilshad Garden and Tis Hazari first and then between Tis Hazari and Rithala. The work will be completed by 2020. White washing of many stations have already begun.

Garg, however, argued that the work might progress slowly because there are only a few hours available for restoration work on an operational corridor. He said that the repair and replacement of granite stones, curb stones, paver blocks and road repair from Dilshad Garden to Tis Hazari will be completed by March 2019 and from Pulbangash to Rithala in 2019-20.

Talking about the coaches, the first of which were brought from South Korea and the others assembled in India, Garg pointed out the AC system isn’t as effective as in coaches inducted later due to outdated technology. “The Red Line’s rolling stock is over 15 years old and was procured when metro technology wasn’t as advanced,” he said. “The AC system in some trains does not have humidity control and in high humidity, condensation causes water to drip.”

Garg said that even in London, Paris and Berlin, the newer corridors are aesthetically better and equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure compared with older corridors. That said, DMRC will work at rejuvenating its first line — and the corridor could sport a spanking new look by 2020.

International rank

2014/ 2nd among 18 metro systems

Delhi Metro ranked 2nd among 18 international metro systems

PTI | Sep 28, 2014

NEW DELHI: Delhi Metro has been ranked second among 18 international Metro systems in terms of overall customer satisfaction in an online customer survey.

Suicides and attempts: 2014, Jan-Aug 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 22, 2015

According to a DMRC official, in the survey conducted among the commuters of those Metro systems by Global Metro Benchmarking Groups 'NOVA' and 'CoMET', Delhi Metro along with London DLR and Bangkok were the best three performers in the 'Net Promoters Score' (NPS) category.

Under this category the survey analysed the likelihood of customers recommending the service to others on the basis of their satisfaction.

More than 41,000 respondents gave their feedback worldwide in this survey conducted online through the websites and social media links of 18 major Metros of the world from April 28th to May 25th earlier this year. The Metro systems that participated in this survey apart from Delhi Metro were Hong Kong MTR, London Underground, Metro De Madrid, Paris RATP, Metro De Sandiago, Singapore SMRT, Barcelona TMB, Brussels STIB, Bangkok BMCL, London DLR, Istanbul Ulasim, Kualalumpur Rapid PL, Metropolitano De Lisboa, Montreal STM, Newcastle Nexus, Metro Rio and Toronto TTC.

The NPS is calculated by the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors (P-D = NPS).

When asked to list out the three top priority areas, the respondents from Delhi along with 17 other Metros listed as 'availability' as the most important requirement. Only New Castle and Hong Kong selected 'Reliability' as their most important area.

"Delhi Metro commuters rated reliability and crowding as the other two important priority areas," the official said.

The survey was conducted as per the 'European Norm 13816' and the areas covered were availability, accessibility, ease of use, information prior to travel, information during travel, reliability, customer care, comfort, crowding, and security.

DMRC is a member of the NOVA group of Metros which is a benchmarking community comprising of 17 metro systems (small and medium size metros) from around the world.

It provides a platform to share experiences, ideas and good practices followed by member Metro systems across the world. It also helps in evaluating the performance of Metro systems by studying their key performance indicators. The forum is co-ordinated by the Rail Transport Strategic Centre (RTSC) of Imperial College, London.

This year, DMRC hosted the NOVA Phase-17 Management Meeting in New Delhi from September 24-26. The meeting was attended by 11 NOVA member Metros including DMRC and two Indian observers' Metros (Bangalore Metro and Chennai Metro).

DMRC will be elevated to CoMET (Community of Metros) Group of Metros. The CoMET is a group of 16 of the world's largest Metros. To qualify for becoming a member of CoMET, the average ridership should be above 20 lakh and the city should be the primary city of country.

2017/ World's 1st 100% "green" metro

Delhi Metro becomes world's first 100 per cent 'green' metro, July 31, 2017: India Today

By adhering to the green building norms for its residential colonies, the Delhi metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) has become the world's first completely green metro.

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) awarded the Delhi metro the platinum rating for adhering to the green building norms for its 10 residential colonies.

The DMRC had earlier received the green certificates for its Phase-3 stations, depots, and sub-stations said a statement, according to IANS.

Praising the Delhi Metro for its initiatives to reduce carbon-footprints at its premises, Prem C Jain, Chairman, IGBC, said: "DMRC was the first one to become a green Metro. The platinum ratings they have got is very hard earned and a lot of toil has gone into the process."

Speaking on the need for energy optimisation, DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh emphasised the need for 'green transport'.

"Energy consumption has increased by 700 per cent in the last four decades in the country and this will increase further three times by 2030. One of the major users of energy is the transport sector, that also, urban transport. Therefore, it is very relevant to focus on Metro systems and talk of green Metro," he said at the third conference on Green Metro Systems held at Metro Bhawan on July 28.

DMRC also announced it is now generating 20 megawatts (MW) of solar power, after adding new solar power facilities that produce 2.6 MW across the Metro network.

More about Delhi Metro

It is a world class Mass Rapid Transport system that offers comfortable, air conditioned and eco-friendly services to the commuters and serves Delhi and its satellite cities of Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad in National Capital Region (NCR)

It is the world's 12th longest metro system in length and 16th largest in ridership is built and operated by DMRC, a state-owned company with equal equity participation from Union Government and Government of Delhi

The Delhi Metro has also contributed tremendously on the environment front by becoming the first ever railway project in the world to claim carbon credits for regenerative braking has also been certified by the United Nations (UN) as the first Metro Rail and Rail based system in the world to get carbon Credits for reducing Green House gas emissions as it has helped to reduce pollution levels in the city by 6.3 lakh tons every year thus helping in reducing global warming

It has also set up roof top solar power plants at many of its stations. All stations of the presently under construction corridors are being constructed as green buildings.

Economic benefits

2007-2012

Number of vehicles kept off road by Delhi Metro

The Times of India

Dec 25 2014

Delhi Metro rides high and is keeping 3.9 lakh vehicles off roads

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), that celebrated 12 years of its operation claimed to have kept nearly 3.9 lakh vehicles off roads in 2014.The head of DMRC, Mangu Singh, said the Metro helped save Rs 10,364 crore in fuel, time saved in commuting and other benefits. It also helped reduce air pollution and accidents. The figures, revised and calculated by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), quantify the benefits of the 190kmlong Delhi Metro network. The numbers are certainly eyeopener. According to CRRI, the Metro also saved 32 minutes on every trip taken by a commuter. This is a jump from the 28 minutes saved in 2011.

Delhi Metro saved Rs 1,972 crore in fuel conserved. In absolute terms, it saved 2.7 lakh tonnes of fuel in 2014 as against 1.06 lakh tonnes in 2011. The savings in cost of vehicle ­ capital and operation ­ was Rs 2,617 crore while indi vidually, Delhi Metro commuters saved Rs 4,107 crore in terms of money from time saved.

That's not all. The Delhi Metro also impacted the accident figures in the city. The annual reduction in fatal accidents was 125 in 2014 as against 111 and 21 in 2011 and 2007 respectively when Phase II of the network was constructed. The annual reduction in terms of accidents per se was 937 in 2014 as against 591 and 93 in 2011 and 2007 respectively .

The amount from time and fuel saved due to decongestion resulting from Delhi Metro is Rs 491 crore. Savings from reduction in pollution due to Metro was Rs 489 crore. In fact, the total savings from all the benefits is Rs 10, 364 crore in 2014. All the figures are based on a daily ridership of 27 lakh.

DMRC also introduced a number of features this year.Besides the opening of two stations ­ Janpath and Mandi House -the Delhi Metro also converted 11 trains into eightcoach trains, maintained an average punctuality percentage of 99.88% and increased the ridership by over 20,000 passengers from last year.

The ‘lines’

Airport Express line

DMRC was wary about PPP model

Rumu Banerjee, DMRC was wary about PPP model for IGI Metro , May 15, 2017: The Times of India

A contentious project from the start, the viability and contractual arrangements of the Airport Express line have deeply bothered the Delhi Metro -which built the line -and raised questions of political and corporate complicity.

Conceived in 2008, it was the first Metro project that took the PPP route. Officials associated with the initial days of the project say that while the idea was to have an operational airport link by 2010, when the Commonwealth Games would take place, then Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan had reservations about the PPP model. Subsequent events seem to prove him right. The then Delhi government and UPA at the Centre were insistent in the line going through even though DMRC demurred.

The project was envisaged in two parts: the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) would build the civil structure (and spend around half of the Rs 5,700-crore project cost) while DAMEPL, which had got the rolling stock, would run it for 30 years.

Pretty early into the const ruction though, cracks in the partnership started to appear as estimations over construction period, deadlines and later, ridership went off-track.

Scheduled to become operational in time for the CWG 2010, the project failed to meet deadlines, eventually opening in January 2011. Estimates made on ridership and revenue from real estate rentals also proved way off the mark.

The project had been deemed feasible based on an esitmated ridership of 40,000 passengers daily. RITES, a railway's consultancy arm, which was given the job to evaluate the technical feasibility of the line, had based its passenger numbers on the development of Aerocity around the Delhi airport, which was being developed by GMR on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis, said sources. However, the Aerocity didn't take off at the time. Ri dership figures remained at a dismal 10,000-13,000 daily . More importantly for R-Infra, it managed to monetise only a tiny fraction of its real estate.

Interestingly , while the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infrastructure had offered money to DMRC to operate the line, others bidding had asked for an annual subsidy or interest-free debt, said officials connected with the project.

Not surprisingly , the impact was felt early on, in the revenue collections. At the time, Delhi Metro had made a point about this, accusing R-Infra of trying to wriggle out of the project. In fact, in a statement of claim filed by DMRC on November 11, 2013, DMRC alleged that the real reason for the termination notice was actually a financial reason as DAMEPL found the project financially unviable.

DAMEPL though claims it had given DMRC adequate time to fix the civil defects -in its notice it had given DMRC 90 days, the actual repairs took almost six months. It used this to exit the agreement but questions remained over its engagement with the project and terms of a contract that could see tax payer money flow to the private player in case of an annulment.

Delays and a legal battle, 2010-21

Sidhartha Roy, Sep 11, 2921: The Times of India


When Delhi Metro’s Airport Express opened to the public a decade ago, the standalone corridor was also the first public-private partnership undertaken by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, with 46% of the construction costs borne by the concessionaire and 39% by the central and Delhi governments. The Centre’s new policy now makes private participation essential either for complete provisioning of metro rail or for unbundled components like automatic fare collection, operation and maintenance of services.

DMRC’s first brush with the PPP model, however, saw disagreements within a few years of the concession agreement being signed. A long legal battle followed, concluding only on Thursday when a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed DMRC’s plea and upheld a 2017 arbitration tribunal order requiring the train company to pay Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, Rs 2,800 crore plus interest, a sum that adds up to Rs 4,600 crore. In August 2008, DMRC and DAMEPL agreed that all civil work would be carried out by the corporation while the latter would provide the trains, power supply, signalling, track system, platform, screen doors, etc. The partnership was undertaken to meet the deadline of having the corridor running by the time the Commonwealth Games opened in Delhi in October 2010. However, the work wasn’t finished and operations started only on February 23, 2011.

Within a month, DAMEPL requested DMRC to conduct a joint inspection of the viaduct and its bearings before expiry of the defect liability period of the civil contractors, complaining about the design and quality of the viaduct bearings. DMRC responded that in inspections of the locations specified by DAMEPL, no bearings were found damaged, but admitted to some defects requiring speed restrictions.

DAMEPL terminated the agreement in October 2012, arguing that the defects pointed out in July hadn’t been rectified within 90 days. Train services remained suspended between July 2012 and January 2013 before DMRC took over the operations in July 2013.

While DMRC invoked the arbitration clause of the agreement, it also took steps to promote the corridor and increased the average daily ridership of around 10,000 to more than 14,000 by July 2014. The company introduced a slew of measures to popularise the line, including slashing fares by 40% and raising the frequency of the trains from once every 15 minutes to every 10.

Other measures included resumption of city check-in counters and seamless integration with the Dwarka Sector 21 Delhi Metro station, resulting in an increase of traffic not destined for the airport but beyond it to Dwarka. The fares were again halved and to reduce expenditures, staff requirement was reduced.

Ridership on the corridor kept increasing. In fact, when fare hikes affected footfall on the other corridors in 2017, the Airport Express Line bucked the trend, with average daily ridership recording 50,000 and then nearly 55,000 by the end of that year. When Covid halted operations last year, the corridor’s ridership was around 60,000. Currently, with the restrictions in place, the passenger number is around 30,000 daily.

Heritage corridor line (Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate)

The Times of India, June 8, 2016

Delhi Metro passenger behaviour
The Times of India

Rumu Banerjee

With an available manoeuvrability of only 78cm, building a tunnel may not seem like the easiest of things. Yet, that's what the Delhi Metro has done at the upcoming phase III station at Kashmere Gate.

The tunnels for the up and down line for the Heritage corridor--from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate--have been constructed between the pillars of the existing elevated Red line. Stationed less than 10m apart, the pillars acted as the “bookends“ for the tunnels, which needed to go diagonally ( across the Heritage line coming from Red Fort. Said DMRC t spokesman Anuj Dayal, “The i space was minimal for the tunp nels as the pillars are further enclosed in pier caps. The space between the outer perimeter of the tunnel and the pier cap is 780-800 millimetres at both the up and down line.“

Engineers who undertook the construction admit that the task was fraught with risk, not to mention heightened requirement for precision construction. “The entire stretch, where the tunnel crosses the pillars, is only 20m but the task took 15 days to perform,“ said a Delhi Metro official.

That's not the only engineering marvel DMRC has achieved on the corridor. With two lines already criss-crossing at the Kashmere Gate station -the Red line (Rithala to Dilshad Garden) and the Yellow line (Huda City Centre to Samaypur Badli) -the Heritage line station had to be accommodated in the space left between the platforms of these two lines. “It was a close, confined space, but we wanted to utilise every inch.So the platform for the Heritage line had to be built in a tapered way . As a result, the platform is 14m on the south end--on the Red Fort side--and only 8.5m on the north side,“ added Dayal.

The continuous flow of surface traffic--the station abuts the Kashmere Gate ISBT and a major arterial road--ensured that disruptions had to be kept to the minimum, say officials.“The presence of ASI monuments, especially the wall of the Kashmere Gate, is right along the station. So we had to constantly monitor the work,“ said Dayal.

The Kashmere Gate wall, incidentally , is right above the tunnel of the Heritage line, which goes 11m below. DMRC had to get special clearance from the National Monuments Authority for the station work.

Located 19m below ground, the new station may not be the deepest--Hauz Khas Metro station has that distinction--but it's certainly the only station in the Metro network that will have three interchanges. The ridership of the Kashmere Gate station in phase III is supposed to outstrip the Rajiv Chowk station, with an expected footfall of 5.5 lakh per day .

Interestingly, the road above the station, which has been diverted at present, will be relaid, with the same soil that had been taken out. “Over 1 lakh cubic metre of soil has been taken out from the station site during the construction. Almost 30% of this will be brought back to re-lay the road once the construction is over,“ Dayal added.

Heritage line, some facts

Metro comes to Shah Jahan's city, May 27 2017: The Times of India


Completing the 9.37km Heritage Line, which itself is a portion of the Violet Line between Janpath and now Kashmere Gate, the 5.17-km-long section onward from ITO will be inaugurated on May 28 by union urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Delhi Metro will start carrying people onward to Kashmere Gate from noon that day .

The four stations on the section -Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid, Lal Quila and Kashmere Gate -will take the number of stations in the Delhi Metro network to 164, while extending the length of the urban rail system to 218km. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) expects 90,000 people to eventually use the Heritage Line daily . “It will, however, take some time for the ridership to go up to this figure. We don't expect a footfall of 90,000 from day one itself,“ a DMRC official said.

The corridor has been designated as the Heritage Line as it goes past various historical landmarks such as Jantar Mantar, Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort. “After the commissioning of the section from ITO, residents of Faridabad and the south Delhi localities of Govindpuri, Kalkaji, Nehru Place, East of Kailash, etc will be able to travel directly to Old Delhi and vice versa,“ a DMRC spokesperson said.

Commuters travelling on the Yellow Line between Central Secretariat and Kashmere Gate will also then have the alternative of using the Violet Line to reach the same destinations. This will result in the decongestion of certain stations, like Rajiv Chowk.

On Sunday , the Kashmere Gate station will also become the first interchange facility of the Delhi Metro system to provide interconnectivity among three corridors -the Violet, Red and Yellow Lines.DMRC said that it has arranged seamless and smooth connectivity between the newly constructed station at Kash mere Gate and the existing Red Line (Dilshad Garden-Rithala) and Yellow Line (HUDA City Centre-Samaypur Badli).

DMRC had tied up with heritage promoter INTACH for decor at the stations. “Since the corridor passes through areas of great historical importance, the stations have panels and artworks depicting the glory of the bygone era,“ the spokesperson said. He emphasised that adequate care had been taken during construction to ensure the monuments in proximity were not harmed. The National Monuments Authority cleared the Heritage Line on February 13, 2013.

The spokesperson added, “After the commissioning of this section, the entire 9.37km Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate section will be operational and become a part of the 43.4km-long Escorts Mujesar-Kashmere Gate Violet Line. This corridor is also being currently extended by 3.2km from Escorts Mujesar to Ballabhgarh.“

Magenta line

Magenta Line (map)

See graphic:

Magenta Line (map), Delhi metro rail

As in 2017

See graphic:

Magenta line, Delhi metro rail, launched in December 2017, some brief facts

Magenta line, Delhi metro rail, launched in December 2017, some brief facts
From: December 23, 2017: The Times of India

Highlights

December 25, 2017: The Times of India


HIGHLIGHTS

The Delhi Metro's Magenta Line has many firsts to its credit. From a sophisticated signalling technology to new in-coach ergonomics, here's all one needs to know about the highly-anticipated Magenta Line:

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden section of the newly-built Magenta Line. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was also in attendance. However, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was conspicuous by his absence, as he had reportedly not been extended an invitation to the event.

2. The 12.64-km stretch of the Magenta Line, interspersed by nine stations, has many firsts to its credit, including platform screen doors (PSDs) and a hi-tech signalling technology for movement of trains.

3. Metro's new generation trains, which can operate without drivers, will run on this section aided by the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology. This new-age signalling system can facilitate movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.

4. With the commissioning of the new line, the travel time between south Delhi and Noida will be significantly reduced. The direct ride on the Magenta Line from Kalkaji Mandir to Botanical Garden takes 19 minutes while travelling through Blue and Violet Lines between the old stations takes 52 minutes, with interchange facility at Mandi House station.

5. In another first, broad-sized coaches will ply on the standard gauge track of the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. Coaches measuring 3.2 m in width will be in operation on the new Line. This will also allow 30-40 more passengers than the capacity of coaches running on a standard gauge.

6. The coaches running on this line have electronic information display, multi-handle rails, power charging capacity, including directly through USB ports. The new trains are also energy-efficient and would save about 20 per cent energy compared to the existing coaches.

7. The new trains will also feature colourful seats, with pink seats in the Women's coach, orange and blue in the general cars and specific hues to demarcate seats reserved for senior citizens and the specially-abled.

8. DMRC authorities said that 10 trains would operate on this new line, while two would be kept on reserve, one each at Kalkaji Mandir and Botanical Garden stations. Initially, trains will operate with a frequency of five minutes and 14 seconds on this section.

9. The Botanical Garden has been developed as the metro's first-ever interchange station outside the boundaries of Delhi.

10. Apart from Kalkaji Mandir, all other stations are elevated. The new Kalkaji Mandir station has an elevated walkway which connects the new facility with the existing station, to facilitate passengers travelling towards Faridabad side.

2018: Reduces Travel Time And Cost

Sidhartha Roy & Sukriti Vats, Magenta Line shrinks city a bit more, May 30, 2018: The Times of India

How Magenta line metro rail connects Gurgaon and Noida, Delhi
From: Sidhartha Roy & Sukriti Vats, Magenta Line shrinks city a bit more, May 30, 2018: The Times of India

DAY 1: Reduction In Travel Time And Cost Brings Cheer To NCR Commuters

Travelling from his home in Sector 77 in Noida to his office in Cyber City, Gurgaon, used to be a two-hour ordeal for chartered accountant Deepak Goyal. On Tuesday morning, however, commuting was a breeze, as Goyal sat in the air-conditioned comfort of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line. The nearly 25-km-long Kalkaji Mandir-Janakpuri West section of the corridor opened to public from 6 am on Tuesday, and Gurgaon suddenly seemed closer to Goyal.

“Earlier, I rode up to Rajiv Chowk and then take the train to Gurgaon. Now I can change trains at Hauz Khas and save at least half an hour of commuting time. This means I can afford to leave a little late for office and also reach home early and get more family time,” the chartered accountant said.

The section thrown open on Monday completes the over 38-km-long Magenta Line with its origination stations at Botanical Garden in Noida and Janakpuri West in west Delhi. While the corridor finally connects west Delhi with Noida directly at a travel time of about an hour, it also puts south Delhi areas such as Vasant Vihar, Munirka, IIT, Greater Kailash and Chirag Dilli on the Delhi Metro map.

While the first section between Botanical Garden and Kalkjai Mandir was opened in December last year, it was the second section extending the line to Janakpuri West that was eagerly awaited, primarily due to its connection with the Hauz Khas metro station.

First day, house full

The new service was an immediate hit with the people. In the morning peak hour on Tuesday, hundreds didn’t find space to sit as the trains ran to full house. “I had been waiting for this corridor to open for a long time because I go to Hauz Khas every day to take a train to Gurgaon, where my office is located,” said Anahita Banerjee, a Chittaranjan Park resident. “I was completely surprised to see the huge crowd on the platform at Hauz Khas station.”

Restaurateur Sachin Sahni too has decided to dump his car and take public transport. “I live in Greater Kailash II but travel regularly to Noida and Gurgaon on work. With the Greater Kailash station of the Magenta Line now open, I can park my car there and take the metro to these places,” he said.

Sahni’s reasons for giving up his car are impeccable. “When I can travel comfortably in the metro, why would I bother to drive in the heat, dust and traffic?” he smiled. “I don’t have to worry about driving home on choked roads in the evening either.” With people like him ready to stop driving, Sahni believes the Magenta Line will help in a big way to decongest south Delhi roads.

Happy flyers & shoppers

For lakhs of residents of west Delhi, one of the most populous parts of the capital, the only lifeline connecting them to the rest of the city till Monday was the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre/Vaishali), which involved traveling up to Rajiv Chowk and then a change of trains if they wanted to reach other parts of Delhi-NCR. The Magenta Line has eased travel by connecting heavily populated areas like Palam, Dabri, Mahavir Enclave, Sagarpur and Dashrathpuri.

“Travelling from Mahavir Enclave to south Delhi meant taking a long detour via Rajiv Chowk, but from today we have the option of reaching south Delhi or Gurgaon in a much shorter time,” exulted Savita Khanna, who works in a private firm.

Another much awaited station on the corridor is the one at Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. This addition has eased people’s access to the domestic departure and arrival terminals. On Tuesday, the station not only saw many flyers taking a metro, but also joyriders who simply wanted to check out the sleek station there. Most of those using the metro station were passengers who flew into the capital and discovered they had this new service.

Flyers were peeved, however, that the subway connecting the arrival terminal and the metro station would not come up before January 2019. At present, the passengers have to walk the distance. “The Terminal 1-IGI Airport metro station is a great facility for budget travellers, but until a subway connects the terminal and the station, walking in the open, especially in the heat, will remain taxing,” said ghazal singer Kamlesh Upadhyay.

Pink line

South Campus to North Campus

Paras Singh, SOUTH CAMPUS METRO STN READY, TRAVEL TO NORTH CAMPUS TO TAKE 40 MINS, March 6, 2018: The Times of India

Going from Delhi University’s North Campus to South Campus will soon take 40 minutes, half the current travel time. The Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus metro station is up, and safety trials on Delhi Metro’s upcoming Pink Line connecting Majlis Park with Shiv Vihar are over.

The station will have several unique features, including the first ever travelator (moving walkway) on the metro network. It will provide access from the new station to the existing Dhaula Kuan station on the Airport Line. The travelator, however, is only 60% ready and will start functioning by June, much after the inauguration of the line.

“Travelators were only available at the airport, but DMRC has installed one of the longest ones at 920 metres here to ease passage for users,” said a DMRC official. “The foot overbridge will have 22 travelator units, each of 7.1m width, to reduce walking time between the two stations to 10 minutes.”

The link between the university campuses is shorter now in terms of time. “Passengers will cut short travel time by over 40 minutes if they use the interchange section on the Azadpur Line to access the Pink Line or alternatively use the Yellow Line to reach New Delhi and take the Airport Line to Dhaula Kuan and get on the travelator,” the official said.

The station will also boast the highest point on the Delhi Metro network, sitting as it does on top of the Dhaula Kuan multi-grade separators and the Airport Line viaduct. “At 23.6m, it is almost seven stories high and posed a challenge to our engineers who had to work atop a functioning Airport Express Line and a busy road intersection,” said an official involved with the construction.

Located next to Sri Venkateswara College’s playing field, the station has been designed in such a way as to allow students and other pedestrians to cross the road without going to the paid-area sections of the station, thereby making the station in effect a public foot overbridge. In its vicinity are colleges, including Venkateswara, Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma, Jesus and Mary and Maitreyi, and residential areas like RK Puram, Moti Bagh and Satya Niketan. DMRC expects over 12,000 people to initially use the station every day.

Buddhist murals give the station a bright look, as do the mini gardens at the entry points. The facilities are disabled-friendly and include handrailings in the toilets. It also has a diaper changing section for people with toddlers.

2018: The first 12 stations

March 10, 2018: The Times of India

Delhi, metro map; some facts about Majlis Park- Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus (Pink line)
From: March 10, 2018: The Times of India


The section has 12 stations. The corridor, one of the longest in the metro network, will function like an arc connecting north, northwest, west and south Delhi. The remaining 58.59km of the corridor would be completed by June this year, except for a 1.5km stretch between Trilokpuri and Mayur Vihar Pocket-1 due to land issues at Trilokpuri.

The train would cross Dhaula Kuan at a height of 23.6m (as high as a seven storey building) to reach South Campus from Majlis Park.

The section would have three interchange stations — Azadpur, Netaji Subhash Place and Rajouri Garden, apart from being connected with the Dhaula Kuan station of Airport Express Line through a walkway, which would be completed by June.

The Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus and Dhaula Kuan stations are at a distance of 1km and would be connected through a walkway with travelators.

2018, July: DD South Campus-Lajpat Nagar

The 8 km stretch of the Pink Line from Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus to Lajpat Nagar. It was inaugurated in 2018, July
From: July 28, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic  :

The 8 km stretch of the Pink Line from Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus to Lajpat Nagar. It was inaugurated in 2018, July

Pink Line: Lajpat to Mayur V-1 9.7km section

Sidhartha Roy & Pallavi Keswani, As Mayur Vihar inches closer to south, metro trip to IGI becomes shorter too, January 1, 2019: The Times of India


9.7KM PINK LINE STRETCH OPENS: Ashram On Metro Map, Missing Link Of 1.4Km A Sore Point

“This is nothing short of a New Year gift,” said a beaming Poonam Singh, as she boarded a train at Mayur Vihar Pocket-I metro station with her two children in tow. Singh had reasons to cheer: For, the 9.7km Lajpat Nagar to Mayur Vihar Pocket-1 section of Delhi Metro’s Pink Line — which opened on Monday — had shrunk the distance between south and east Delhi from more than 35 minutes to less than 15.

Like Singh, many others don’t have to take a long detour through Mandi House or Rajiv Chowk, to reach their destinations in south Delhi. However, the much-talked-about 1.4km missing link between Mayur Vihar Pocket-I and Trilokpuri continues to be a sore point as residents of areas like Trilokpuri, Vinod Nagar, Mandawali and IP Extension have no option but to bridge the gap by taking an e-rickshaw. As Ajay Grover, a resident of Vinod Nagar, said: “The metro isn’t connected to Trilokpuri station yet and this reduces the new line’s utility for me.” Pritam Singh, another Vinod Nagar resident who had to get down at Mayur Vihar Pocket-I, added: “I can now avoid the rush at Rajiv Chowk, but if they can plug the gap between Mayur Vihar Pocket-I and Trilokpuri, it will be all the much better.”

At present, e-rickshaws that abound in the Mayur Vihar area don’t routinely ply between Mayur Vihar Phase-I and Trilokpuri-Sanjay Lake stations. “There is a possibility now that we may get passengers for Trilokpuri and, in that case, we will take that route too. There is no such demand as of now,” Mukesh Kumar, an e-rickshaw driver said.

The Trilokpuri-Sanjay Lake station, the last stop on the Shiv Vihar-Trilokpuri section, is deserted around 4 pm. This is because one in every three trains coming from Shiv Vihar reaches Trilokpuri-Sanjay Lake; others terminate at IP Extension. A lone e-rickshaw driver, Rajesh Pal, waiting outside the station said that few people get down there. “There will be a huge crowd at this station when the gap between Trilokpuri and Mayur Vihar Pocket-1 is bridged,” he said.

There is also a new option for residents of Mayur Vihar and nearby areas who are headed for the domestic terminals of IGI Airport. They can change trains first at Lajpat Nagar and, then, Kalkaji Mandir to take the Magenta Line to the airport. The present route, through Botanical Garden in Noida, is much longer. Also, passengers can take the Pink Line directly up to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus and switch to the Airport Express Line to Terminal-III of IGI from there. A skywalk with travelators connecting the two stations is expected to open soon.

The section has brought metro connectivity for the first time to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, the third busiest in Delhi. On day 1, however, there were few passengers at the newly opened metro station of the same name. Residents of Ashram and nearby areas, such as Siddhartha Enclave, Friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, New Friends Colony, Bhogal, Kilokri and Sunlight Colony, too, have plenty to rejoice about with Ashram metro station finally putting them on the metro map.

Earlier in the day, the section was inaugurated by Union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. Puri said: “As much as 96km of new lines have been made operational this year. Now, both Ring Road and Outer Ring Road are connected by metro, which will help curb traffic decongestion.” Sisodia, while congratulating DMRC, said metro fares should be brought down.

The trains

Driverless trains

90% of driverless trains manufactured in India, Nov 07 2016 : The Times of India


The safety of Delhi Metro's unattended trains has come under sharp focus. The trains, built by Korean company Hyundai Rotem, are being partly manufactured in India by Bharat Earth Movers Limited, a public sector undertaking.

While around 20 trainsets are being imported from Hyundai Rotem, the remaining 504 coaches will be manufactured in BEML factories. These trains, according to SS Joshi, executive director (rolling stock), DMRC, have been designed by Hyundai Rotem, but are being manufactured in the country as part of the contract obligations.

“It follows the Make-in India concept, but with the express criterion that the quality of trains manufactured is of the same level as Hyundai Rotem's. We have a team stationed at the BEML factory that monitors the quality of the trains being manufactured,“ said Joshi.

Deepak Kumar Hota, CMD of BEML, added: “A large part of the components of a metro coach are sourced from local SMEs. We supply nearly 46% of the metro train demand by different corporations in the country .“

The driverless trains will operate on lines 7 and 8, that is, Majlis Park to Shiv Vihar and Janakpuri (west) to Botanical Garden, respectively .

One of the notable safety features added to these trains is fire detection equipment. Cameras on track to detect cracks, obstruction detection devices for deployment of brakes in case of any obstruction, platform screen doors and improved communication between passengers and operation control room are some other high points.

“Besides all this, Delhi Metro will continue deploying an operator inside the trains for some time to address passenger complaints or queries,“ said Joshi.

How driverless metro trains work

Sidhartha Roy, Inside the line of control: How unseen hands steer driverless metro trains, April 25, 2018: The Times of India


Live Videos, Obstacle Detectors For Safe Rides

Just past noon, the almost empty coaches of Delhi Metro’s Pink Line speed on the tracks at 85 kmph. Far away from operational section of the corridor, cameras on the trains and inside the coaches are beaming images live on 24 different monitors inside the cavernous, silent operations control room at Metro Bhawan on Fire Brigade Lane near Barakhamba Road. From running or stopping the trains to controlling platform screen doors and fire control, every aspect of train operations on the line is centralised.

Over the years, Delhi Metro has strived to provide stateof-the-art services. In its endeavour to introduce the latest and best technology from around the world, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) last year adopted the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system for the Magenta and Pink Lines, using it first when the first section of the former (Botanical Garden to Kalkaji Mandir) started operating.

CBTC, known popularly as ‘driverless’ technology, allows metro to run trains without human intervention, with operations overseen from a centralised operations control centre. The trains are currently operating with drivers, but DMRC plans to remove them in a couple of years and turn the trains truly driverless.

Delhi Metro’s first operations control centre is at Shastri Park, from where its older corridors, such as the Red and Yellow Lines, are monitored. The Magenta and Pink Lines required a different set up and that is why DMRC came up with a new operations centre at its headquarters, Metro Bhawan.

While the first section of Magenta Line was opened in December last year, the first section of Pink Line between Majlis Park and Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus stations began in March this year. These corridors will become fully functional in phases in the next few months.

The biggest difference between the old and new technologies is that the CBTC is based on live videos streamed from inside and outside the trains. A huge screen at the control centre, divided into 24 different panels, show real time video from the operational line inside the centre. A team of 20 controllers and engineers are on duty in each of the day’s three shifts and their work starts with checking that everything is in place, including the systems controlling braking, electronic displays and the public announcements.

“There is a cycle of videos, and all trains are monitored by turn,” explained a DMRC official. “Say, a passenger presses the emergency button in a train. In such a case, live video from that train automatically pops up on the screen.” The official also revealed that apart from live videos, there also are obstacle detection systems in the trains, so that if a large object lay ahead or a person falls on the track, it can be immediately spotted.

Two giant screens display the track layout of the two corridors, with small moving blips indicating an accurate location of the trains. Each train has an ID number allotted, and the traffic controllers watching the screens monitor and control their movement.

The tunnel ventilation system is also controlled from Metro Bhawan, and, said the official, if a train stopped at a location for an abnormal time, the system started the ventilation process so that passengers aren’t left feeling suffocated. Fires can also be easily detected and the ventilation system helps blow the smoke away from the location of passengers.

But the movement of trains on the tracks is not the control centre’s only capability. It is from there that even elevators and escalators are controlled. Officials at the centre can also make public announcements along the entire corridor or at individual stations right from Fire Brigade Lane.

DMRC says that CBTC is the safest technology available worldwide for metro train operations at present. “This technology is completely automated and chances of human error are almost negligible as to be fool-proof,” said Mangu Singh, DMRC managing director. He added that while CBTC was capable of running trains at a frequency of 90 seconds, the time between trains was not set to that standard, given that the frequency on other corridors is two minutes 15 seconds at present.

Fire safety norms

2011-16: 25 stations flout norms

The Times of India, June 3, 2016

Himanshi Dhawan

At least 25 Delhi Metro stations flouted fire safety norms for periods ranging from one month to two years over the past five years.This includes high traffic stations like HUDA City Centre, Nehru Place, Dhaula Kuan, Okhla, Tilak Nagar, Moolchand and Kailash Colony .Information accessed through RTI shows that some like Vaishali station on Line 4 and Kirti Nagar on Line 5 do not have a fire no-objection certificate even now. The information was given by DMRC to Gurgaon-based IT manager Sudhir Yadav. DMRC has admitted that it failed to get a fire NOC for 32 stations. Some lapses were only for a few days. However, amongst those stations that did not get a fire NOC for a significantly long period of time include Tilak Nagar which did not have fire clearance from 2014 till February this year. HUDA city centre did not have a fire NOC for a year between May 2011 to May 2012 and then again for two years between February 2014 to January 2016 indicating a casual attitude towards safety standards.

Some stations like Tugh laqabad did not have a fire NOC for 21months, Sivaji stadium did not have clearances for 16 months while others like Kailash Colony , Okhla and Nehru Place had no fire checks for 15 months between 2013-2014. Lajpat Nagar, Moolchand stations went unaccounted for a year, while New Delhi station on the airport line did not have a fire NOC for 10 months. “When Delhi govern ment introduced odd ­ even scheme, I preferred to use the Metro instead of taking cab or bus. But I was worried the safety measures taken because of how crowded the stations are. I filed a RTI application asking for the fire NOC of all the Metro stations. I was shocked when I received the response, Yadav said.

The stations

Ashram: vertical design

Sidhartha Roy|With shortest platform, Metro takes vertical leap at Ashram|Jul 20 2017 : The Times of India (Delhi)

DMRC Couldn't Build Horizontal Station As Land Acquisition Didn't Work Out, Had To Go Vertical The Delhi Metro station at Ashram, part of the Pink Line (Majlis Park-Shiv Vi har), will be a busy station.But constructing this important stop was a huge challenge for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. A private plot, which comprised almost 40% of the land earmarked for the station, couldn't be acquired, and this left the planners in a big quandary . It took all of DMRC's ingenuity to come up with a unique station design with an extra floor. “The planning and the detailed design of the station had been done and construction was under way when we ran into constraints in acquiring private land under which the proposed station box was to be constructed,“ said a DMRC spokesperson.“The construction work was held up with adverse effect on the completion time of the project.“

The spokesperson added that an existing flyover on one side of the station box, or the space of the entire station area, and an apartment on the other side left DMRC with no option for shifting or relocating the station box.

DMRC had to come up with an alternative design for the underground station in south Delhi, though this posed a challenge as it restricted the length of the station box. “The length of platform for a typical six-coach train is 140 metres. Here it was reduced to 135 metres, which is just enough to ensure a 3-metre width in front of the passenger doors and driver cabin door,“ the spokes person said.

In addition, the centre line of platform has been shifted by 57 metres form has been shifted by 57 metres towards Hazrat Nizamuddin station to keep the platform length within the station box. The spokesperson said that would ensure passenger service area, including the platform, stairs, escalators and lifts, remained undisturbed.

The extremely short, vertically designed station at Ashram, 2017

DMRC had to build a mezzanine floor between the platform and concourse floors to make space available for passengers and to accommodate utilities such as the air ventilation system. The automatic fare collection gates were shifted from the concourse level to the mezzanine floor.

The tunnel ventilating system, which usually lies next to the rail tracks, was shifted to the mezzanine level due to paucity of space. The two ventilation nozzles were also built vertical and on top of one another to save space. As a result, the ventilation system took up just eight metres instead of the usual 40 metres of space

The names of Metro stations

Renaming stations

Rumu Banerjee, Rename other Metro stations too: RWAs Oct 03 2016 : The Times of India


Delhi Metro's 2016 decision to rename the Race Course Metro station to Lok Kalyan Marg has opened a can of worms. Some residents welfare associations want the names of other stations changed as well.

Sample list (from the present name> to the proposed name)

Arjangarh Metro station> to Aya Nagar

Ashok Park Main> to Rampura

Surajmal stadium> to Maharaja Surajmal stadium

Udyog Nagar> Jwalapuri

A committee set up by Delhi Metro in 2015 rejected the requests claiming technical and cost considerations. DMRC recently said it would start the process of renaming RCR station by first changing the name boards and then the name in the automatic announcement system, maps etc. DMRC has till now consis tently refused the RWAs requests. In case of Arjangarh station alone, which has more than 50 trains running, Delhi Metro would have to spend Rs 5-6 crore, DMRC said.

Other concerns include changes in the signalling, public address, telecom and fare collection systems. Specific station code, where each stop is assigned a code to avoid repetition in the name as per the Indian Railway Conference Association regulations, was also cited as a major reason for rejecting the claims.

NGO Guru Hanuman Society of India argues, “The demand has been long pending. Arjangarh is only an Air Force station. The area is called Aya Nagar, so the station should reflect that,“

Advertising revenue from renaming stations/ 2018

Sidhartha Roy, DMRC eyes ad revenue by renaming 14 stations, April 28, 2018: The Times of India


What’s in a name? A lot of advertising revenue, as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has discovered in the past few years. Since 2014, DMRC has been auctioning naming rights of select stations to companies and public sector undertakings to generate revenue. A total of 43 stations across NCR were either renamed or put on auction for naming rights in the last four years. However, the names of stations on panels inside the trains and during announcements have not been changed.

A total of 14 stations, including Terminal 1 IGI Airport, IIT, Greater Kailash, Okhla NSIC, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Panchsheel Park and Sukhdev Vihar stations of Magenta Line and Delhi Cantt, Moti Bagh, Bhikaji Cama Place, INA, South Extension, Ashram and IP Extension stations of the Pink Line are next in line to get renamed.

At some stations, such as FIITJEE IIT, DMRC has already put up signage with the new names and branded the stations with colours associated with the companies or undertakings that have bought the semi-naming rights in auction. Co-branding at metro stations is a substantial and lucrative source of revenue, but DMRC refuses to divulge the amount generated from it. Sources said it earns about Rs 2 crore per station every year, which translates into Rs 86 crore per annum from 43 stations.

The naming rights are auctioned through agencies and the highest bidders get to prefix their company’s or organisation’s name to the name of a metro station. Renaming began in Delhi at ITO and Vishwavidyalaya metro stations, which were prefixed with JK Tyre and Honda 2 Wheelers, respectively.

Crime

2016: 91% pickpockets are women

91% pickpockets held in Metro by CISF are women, Dec 28 2016: The Times of India


Continuing the trend witnessed over the past few years, women constitute over 91% of pickpockets apprehended by the CISF in the Delhi Metro network in the National Capital Region.

The force that is tasked to provide armed security to Metro apprehended a total of 479 pickpockets, of which 438 were women, according to official data.

The full-year data, updated till the middle of December, states that the security force undertook a little over 100 operations to check pickpocketing in the Metro that carries an estimated 26 lakh commuters every day.

The modus operandi of Metro-borne gangs

Raj Shekhar Jha & Somreet Bhattacharya, Hit and run: How gangs of metro do it, January 18, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

Metro-borne gangs and their modus operandi: 2018


Most Operate In Sets Of 3 Or 4; Having Mapped Their Areas, They Make Sure Not To Cross Boundaries

If you are carrying a costly bag or talking on an expensive cellphone on Delhi Metro, most likely you will be on the radar of thieves as soon as you enter the station. And it doesn’t matter at which station you are because they seem to be everywhere. A dossier prepared by police on criminals active on Delhi Metro shows how different gangs have mapped their areas and make sure that they don’t cross the boundaries.

Currently, there are five main gangs active in metro trains and at stations. Two of them led by Mohammad Umar and Mohammad Farooq have been operating from Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate for the past two years.

Both the gangs operate in sets of three or four. Each member is assigned a specific task — while one spots the target, the other member distracts him either by engaging him in an argument or by hitting him hard in the ribs. A third person steals the wallet or phone and hands it to another accomplice who flees the spot.

In this manner, even if the victim realises that something has been stolen from him and raises an alarm, the pickpocket can get away scot-free as there would be nothing on him to prove that he has committed the theft.

While Umar, an expert pickpocket, and his gang members operate inside trains, Farooq adopts a similar method at the stations.

Police said that Delhi Metro has become an easy hunting ground due to its mobility and inter-state connectivity. Last year, cops had busted a gang that had come from Agra to commit thefts. The interchange stations are the most vulnerable due to the multiple exits and heavy footfall.

The 13-member gang from Agra would target passengers at the interchange stations during peak hours on escalators or near the lifts. By the time the victim realised the theft, they would escape. After committing 6-7 thefts, they would return to Agra.

There are also gangs comprising women members led by Imla and Saima. They operate in women’s coaches and the gang members use a child and breastfeeding as a cover to steal a target’s goods.

Saima, a resident of Kathputli Colony, told police that she started thefts in the metro after her husband lost his job. She used to rob railway passengers earlier, but was caught in 2016. She then decided to move to Delhi Metro.

The gang members would usually board the train with a child and sit next to the victim. They would cover the head of the child with a chunni (stole), which would fall on the woman victim’s bag. They would then slowly remove the contents of the bag on the pretext of feeding the child.

Investigators said that most of these gangs comprise petty criminals who could not make it among their peers in targeting victims on the roads. Moreover, criminals claim that they get to earn more in the metro since they can get off one train and board another if there are chances of them getting caught.

“Amit Kumar, a thief who was arrested recently, revealed that he would target passengers boarding and de-boarding crowded trains at the interchange stations. By the time the victim realised that his wallet or phone was missing, Kumar would have travelled to another station,” said an officer.

Recently, one Rahul Kumar from Bawana was arrested for theft. A gang of three men, they would cut open the pockets of victims and steal their wallets. There’s another gang that targets people by standing behind them on escalators.

In 2017, a total of 12,925 FIRs related to thefts were registered. Out of these, 11,785 were e-FIRs. DCP (Metro) Pankaj Singh said that there has been 50% dip in the number of complaints since August after surveillance was intensified at the stations.

Thefts: 2017- 2018

Jan 2017- Jan 2018: Thefts in Delhi Metro, month-wise
From: Pankhuri Yadav, February 19, 2018: The Times of India


See graphic:

Jan 2017- Jan 2018: Thefts in Delhi Metro, month-wise

2018: 94% of pickpockets were women

Pankhuri Yadav, January 11, 2019: The Times of India

2017, 2018- The months when pickpockets were most and least active on the Delhi Metro
From: Pankhuri Yadav, January 11, 2019: The Times of India


Number Of Incidents Down In 2018, But More Females Involved

After 1,392 pickpocketing cases were reported in Delhi Metro in 2017, CISF knew that it had to take drastic measures to bring down the count. After special drives, just 497 cases were reported in 2018, with around 94% of these involving women pickpockets. In 2017, the women’s share was 85%.

After the 2017 count jolted Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which looks after the metro security, officials started identifying suspects using both human intelligence and CCTV cameras, and stopped them from entering the premises right at the entrance. According to a senior CISF official, more staff were deployed at the 236 metro stations and additional personnel, both men and women, were posted at vulnerable spots to catch pickpockets red-handed.

The police had also stepped in with a special team of four constables that kept a check at metro stations with high footfall, favourite targets of these gangs. These cops, dressed in civvies, moved in and around stations to keep an eye on pickpockets and snatchers. In 2017, 1,292 women and 100 men were caught while in 2018, the numbers are 470 and 28, respectively.

According to CISF and police officials, women pickpockets board trains mostly from central Delhi and share a common modus operandi. Despite the dip, passengers should get cautious if they sense any abnormal behaviour by some women or someone ‘looking like a woman’, a senior cop said.

Men often cross-dress to get into the ladies coaches as women usually carry more expensive stuff than men, the officer said. They wear salwar suits and cover their heads, with babies often clinging to them, making it almost impossible for passengers to figure out that they are men dressed like women, he added.

Women pickpockets also often carry a child or travel in groups to con people. Taking advantage of the rush hours, one of them will open the zip of a bag and, on finding an opportune moment, another woman from the gang will then take out valuables and pass it over to other group members. This way, even if a victim suspects the woman, nothing can be found on her, an officer said.

These offenders usually board the metro from almost empty stations and deboard at crowded ones, taking advantage of the huge number of commuters, he added. Some of them even roam around on a platform to hand over a stolen item to another gang member.

Against an average of around 40 women pickpockets getting caught every month in 2018, April was the only month when nobody was nabbed. Mobile phones and laptops topped the list of stolen items.

DCP (metro) Dinesh Kumar Gupta said the special police team also had the job of analysing any security lapse or dark spot near the stations. They also ensure safety of women in and around the stations.

Engineering

Girders used

Sidhartha Roy, August 29, 2019: The Times of India

3 types of girders used in metro network
From: Sidhartha Roy, August 29, 2019: The Times of India

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is running behind schedule on the much-delayed Phase-IV project and, to save time in construction, it is now going to extensively use a technology that has only been used on a few occasions previously.

Over the years, DMRC has used different types of precast structures, such as box girders, I-girders and U-girders, to construct its corridors. For the Phase-IV project, however, DMRC has decided to standardise the usage of Ugirders for the entire 104km network on the six proposed corridors to save time as well as lower construction cost. The U-girders will also have built-in sound barriers, apart from built-in cable support.

Compared to other types of girders, the much longer U-girders drastically reduce construction time. However, due to their length, they require absolute precision during construction. Also, their length makes transporting them from the casting yard to the site a tricky proposition.

While the conventional box girders and I-girders are 2.2m to 2.5m long, the length of U-girders varies between 22 and 27 metres. The longer length means a span between two pillars can be constructed overnight compared to 5-6 days in case of conventional girders. DMRC has used these girders in Airport Express Line, the Badarpur to Faridabad section of Violet Line and a section in Noida.

“We have decided to standardise the design and drawings of pre-tensioned U-girders and precast pier cap for Phase-IV project. Standardisation will mean that time and cost are reduced in redesigning, re-checking and employing different construction schemes. It will also help in ensuring that no human error creeps in while preparing a new set of drawings by various consultants,” said a DMRC official.

Standardisation would also ensure that designs are available before the commencement of construction, thus reducing delays and helping in better management of the worksite. “If the drawings are provided at the tender stage, the contractor can precisely calculate the cost of construction, which will ensure there are no future variation claims,” said the official.

DMRC will be engaging a detailed design consultant for the standardisation of the structures. “The consultant will have to make rigorous permutation and combinations, taking into consideration various span lengths and curvature,” the official said.

Fare structure

2017: An increase in fare

Changes in metro fare structure, May 2017; The Times of India, May 8, 2017

See graphic:

Changes in metro fare structure, May 2017

Innovations

Creating space for the Ashram station

Sidhartha Roy, How metro dug deep to make space for its smallest station, December 29, 2018: The Times of India


ASHRAM HALT: DMRC added an extra floor underground to accommodate passenger area and utilities. Some of its parts are not even inside the station but located at nearby plots

It took out-of-the-box thinking to tide the problem of space confronting Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in the construction of the station at Ashram in south Delhi. DMRC came up with a unique design that incorporated an extra floor to accommodate passenger areas and utilities. And yet, the paucity of available land means the Ashram station is the smallest in the Delhi Metro network and possibly in the world, if DMRC officials are to be believed.

Located below one of the city’s busiest traffic junctions, the Ashram metro station is unique besides being microsized. Some parts of the station are not even inside the station but in plots nearby that DMRC was forced to find, including below the Ashram flyover.

The station is part of the 9.7-km long Lajpat Nagar-Mayur Vihar Pocket 1 section of the Pink Line (Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar), which will start operating from Monday. The new station provides metro connectivity to localities such as Bhogal, Sunlight Colony, Siddhartha Enclave, Friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, New Friends Colony and Kilokri.

Ashram was planned as any other underground station, but DMRC didn’t anticipate the road blocks related to land acquisition. In fact, replanning was required after the company failed to acquire a private plot that comprised almost 40% of the planned layout of the station.

“Construction was under way when we realised the land under which the proposed station box was to be constructed was unavailable,” a DMRC official explained. “Given the constraints placed by an existing flyover on one side of the station box and apartments along the other, we could not shift or relocate the station box. We decided to, therefore, explore new designs to contain the station box within the space available to us.”

The platform for a typical six-coach train is 140 metres, but this has been reduced to 135 metres at Ashram, just enough for a three-metre width in front of the passenger doors and driver’s cabin door. “The centreline of the platform was also shifted 57 metres towards Hazrat Nizamuddin station to keep the platform length within the station box,” the official said. “This ensured that the passenger service area, including island platform, stairs, escalators and lift, remained undisturbed.”

DMRC built a mezzanine floor between the platform and concourse to accommodate the token vending machines and Automatic Fare Collection gates. “The only space available to us was the one below the public road. The building with the cooling towers, pump room, generator sets, etc, had to be built on a nearby plot,” the official said. DMRC used space below the Ashram flyover for a chiller room since space was not available in the station building.

From the station’s platform, passengers will see the mouth of the tunnel up close unlike in any metro station. This is because the nearly 40-metre tunnel ventilation system is missing in Ashram. Only eight metres of air nozzles are present at the platform level instead of the usual 40, and the two tunnel ventilation fans are placed one over the other across the tracks at concourse and mezzanine levels, connected with each other and the tracks by vertical plenums. This is the first time DMRC has tried a system like this.

The official also disclosed that the auxiliary sub-station, which is usually located at the platform level, has been shifted to the concourse. And unlike in other underground stations, only one side of the concourse area is open to passengers, the other being occupied by the station control room and utility rooms.

“Ashram can serve as a prototype for stations in Phase IV facing space constraints,” the official said. “In fact, we can actually rethink the land space we usually acquire for stations.”

Saving trees during construction

Jasjeev Gandhiok , Oct 8, 2019: The Times of India

How the Delhi metro changed tack to save 12,500 trees
From: Jasjeev Gandhiok , Oct 8, 2019: The Times of India

While the issue of cutting down of trees at the Aarey forest in Mumbai to build a metro shed has taken the centre stage, the Delhi Metro—which has a network of around 377 km has had to face similar challenges in the capital during its expansion. Until phase-III completion, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has had to not only cut trees, but also modify their alignment plans to avoid major monuments as well as level out a ‘closed landfill’ site during Phase-I to construct a depot. From Phase I until Phase III, while DMRC had been provided permission to fell as many as 56,307 trees, it managed to save 12,580 trees. As many as 43,727 trees were felled which it said could not be navigated or manoeuvred through.

“An environmental impact assessment is required for every project. When we begin work according to the detailed project report (DPR), we can make some adjustments on the ground, and the alignment can be modified slightly if we realise a tree can be saved. In cases where that is not possible, the tree has to be felled,” said a metro spokesperson.

DMRC said that it had also experimented with tree transplantation which is still being carried out in certain places. “The tree can only be transplanted in a 5-km radius so that its chance of survival is high. The overall survival rate has been low,” said Anuj Dayal, spokesperson, DMRC.

Each time a tree is felled, DMRC is required to pay a compensation to the Delhi forest department which in turn carries out compensatory afforestation in the ratio of 10:1, that is 10 saplings for each tree cut. According to DMRC data, a total of 5,35,150 saplings have been planted till date by the forest department which is also monitored by the DMRC. “The survival rate has been over 80%,” said a spokesperson.

In terms of carrying out construction, DMRC said the major challenges they faced centred around navigating through densely populated residential areas and monuments.

During Phase-I, the metro had to build its depot for its underground corridor at a closed landfill site near Khyber Pass by flattening the area, removing the landfill waste and replacing it with fresh soil. “Provisions for flaring of methane gas, which might have accumulated over a period of time, were also made. Without the depot, construction work would not have progressed or been possible,” said the DMRC.

Meanwhile, tunnelling work of the heritage line which passes near Jantar Mantar (233m), Agarsain ki baoli (189m), Khooni Darwaza (24.6m), Delhi Gate (100m), Feroz Shah Kotla (121m), Shahi Sunehri Masjid (103m) and Lal Qila (118m) had to be carried out by shifting the alignment of the up and down-lines.

Civil work near residential colonies, and Kailash colony in particular, has been an issue due to noise pollution. “The construction near Qutub Minar and other monuments, especially on the heritage line was difficult as we had to navigate and adjust the metro lines in order to avoid archaeological structures and damage in their vicinity,” said the DMRC.

In terms of de-watering areas to build underground metro lines, officials said that DMRC in Phase-I opted for an approach of giving the water to the Chandrawal Water Works. It also used the water to revive Sarpakar lake in north Delhi. “From Phase II onwards, we started recharging the groundwater in the area again,” said the DMRC spokesperson.

According to an audit, the DMRC said that it had offset CO2 to the tune of 3.5 million tonnes so far, with the figure likely to increase further after expansion. The Delhi Metro has 274 stations across its 377-km long network.

Labour issues/ unrest

2018

See Labour: India

Delhi Metro staff’s threatened ‘strike’ of 2018
From: Aamir Khan and Sidharatha Roy, June 30, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

Delhi Metro staff’s threatened ‘strike’ of 2018

Leprosy patients

Remove Requirement To Carry Medical Certificate: SC

Dhananjay Mahapatra, ‘DMRC stand on leprosy patients unfair’, April 25, 2018: The Times of India


Remove Requirement To Carry Medical Certificate: SC

The Supreme Court said it was unacceptable that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) permitted leprosy patients to travel in the Metro only if they carried a medical certificate stating the disease was non-contagious.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the DMRC’s stand, articulated through advocate A D N Rao, was unacceptable as no one disputed that leprosy was now completely curable with the advance in medical science.

The CJI-led bench said, “When no one is disputing the curability of leprosy, the Centre and states must remove the offensive legal provision discriminating against leprosy patients. The condition imposed by DMRC is unacceptable.” The bench also said mere removal of these provisions from the law would not be sufficient and governments must ensure every patient was given the medicines needed to cure the disease.

The court’s observation came on a petition filed by NGO ‘Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy’ which presented a pitiable picture — despite leprosy being completely curable, as many as 119 archaic central and state laws sanctioned isolation of those afflicted with the disease, dissolution of their marriage and debarment from educational institutions.

The NGO sought quashing of these 119 archaic laws as unconstitutional. Appearing for the Centre, additional solicitor general Pinky Anand said the government had prepared a cabinet note on repeal of archaic laws discriminating against leprosy patients and assured the court that action would be taken.

The bench said, “The seminal issue that arises for consideration in this petition is that there is no justification to keep a person suffering from leprosy away from the mainstream in the 21st century despite advancement of medical science, which has made the disease completely curable. The petition highlights that since leprosy is completely curable, patients should be integrated into society and not kept confined to leprosarium.

“Provisions in these laws unfairly discriminate against persons affected by leprosy by denying them equal treatment under personal laws, in matters of employment and appointment or election to public office, as well as access to and free movement in public places...”

Though Parliament repealed the Lepers Act, 1898, in 2016, it has not acted on the Law Commission’s recommendations to integrate them with society, the petitioner complained. It said though leprosy was completely curable with the advent of multi-drug therapy in the 1980s, Section 13 of the the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, allowed dissolution of a marriage on the ground that the other party was suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy.

Passenger profile

2017

Rumu Banerjee, Rich keep away as Metro crowds kill comfort, Mar 31, 2017: The Times of India

An internal survey by Delhi Metro has revealed that the maximum number of passengers have a monthly income of Rs 20,000-50,000. Only 9.56% are in the Rs 50,000-1 lakh bracket while those with an income of more than a lakh are a minuscule 1.67%. Therein lies the rub. The relatively affluent seem to be staying away from an efficient mode of public transport which is air-conditioned and has world-class facilities. Contrast this with the fact that the number of registered vehicles in the city has crossed one crore. The survey , in which over a lakh participated, was conducted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in August last year. It not only exposes the limited utility of public transport that's increasingly getting crowded and suffers from a lack of last-mile connectivity .

About 18.4% of the participants said they accessed the Metro using their own vehicle; 20.23% used a bus; 14.14% e-rickshaw; 8.23% autorickshaws; 8.10% rickshaws; 3.45% taxis; 11.51% walked; and only 14.31% used feeder buses.

One of the reasons cited for the reluctance to shift to Metro is the increasing peak-hour traffic. Delhi Metro's peak hours are 8-11am in the morning and 5-8pm in the evening. During this period, the Delhi Metro runs 188 trains as against174 during the rest of time.

Madhu Tiwari, who travels daily from Noida to Gurgaon, complains: “I take the train from Mayur VIhar station till HUDA City Centre.It's packed every single day , more so the ladies coach. But I don't have any option as driving across that distance every day will be insane.“

Anumita RoyChowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment agrees that comfort is a factor. “This shows that only a comfortable Metro ride is not enough to change the commuting decision of the car-owning middle class as people want the complete comfort of a journey from their origin to destination.“ Amit Bhatt of WRI India, a transport think-tank, concurs: “We have seen from global examples that only public transport, no matter how good the quality , is not enough to restrict car use.“ Bhatt says that if the city wants to “move pe ople instead of vehicles, it needs to double its bus fleet in a short space of time“ and improve the quality of Metro operations.

Interestingly , while Delhi Metro's network has increased from 193km in 2014 to 212.4km in 2016, the rolling stock or coaches haven't kept pace. Delhi Metro, which has asked for an additional stock of 916 coaches for the existing network, hasn't got the go-ahead from the government yet. Meanwhile, ridership has been going north: from 23.5 lakh daily in 2014 to 28.4 lakh in 2017.

So what's the solution? RoyChowdhury believes public transport can compete if for last and first mile, there is “ease and efficiency and more direct connectivity“. Bhatt points out: “Delhi has 21% area under roads, while London has 9%, New York has 13% and Singapore has 4.8%. Besides, parking is almost free in Delhi. This basically means that Delhi is by design prioritizing use of cars and two-wheelers and, therefore, people who can afford, use private modes.“

It's not all bleak though.According to RoyChowdhury, the survey also shows that more bus users or noncar owning community have moved to improved Metro service. “This is a good sign as this means Metro is working as an incentive to retain the public transport riders in the system,“ she said.

Ridership

2002-17, ridership over the years

Daily Delhi metro ridership over the years, 2002-17, year-wise
From: Sidhartha Roy, December 25, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

Daily Delhi metro ridership over the years, 2002-17, year-wise


2008-17; Negative growth in 2017-18

Sidhartha Roy, Metro sees worst fall in ridership in Dec, March 16, 2018: The Times of India

The Delhi Metro
Ridership: 2008-17
Month-wise details, 2015-18
Total length of tracks, 2002> 2017.
From: Sidhartha Roy, Metro sees worst fall in ridership in Dec, March 16, 2018: The Times of India

After Blip, Numbers Again Rise In 2 Months Of 2018

Since it started operations in December 2002, Delhi Metro has only seen growth in its network and footfall. But in 2017-18, metro saw negative growth for the first time.

Starting with 40,000 passengers a day on an average, metro’s daily ridership grew by leaps and bounds. Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, ridership saw an increase of four lakh every fiscal. In the last five years, metro has seen an increase of about two lakh passengers using the system every day.

Last year, after the first phase of fare hike in May, the first major dip in ridership happened. The second phase of the hike from October saw an even steeper dip. Though DMRC ascribed it to various factors, including the fare hike, it’s the fare hike that appears as a major roadblock in the metro growth story.

The first dip occurred in May itself when ridership decreased by a lakh as compared to the previous month. For the next two months thereafter, the ridership figure kept on going down by a lakh. But it rose again in August and September. The average ridership of 27.6 lakh passengers in September was closer to the figure of 27.7 lakh registered in April.

But DMRC received a bigger jolt in October when the second phase of fare hike was rolled out. Its ridership fell by over three lakhs as compared to not just the month before that but also the corresponding month in 2016. There was marginal improvement in November, but then the biggest slump happened in December when ridership fell to 22.9 lakh—a fourlakh dip when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

Ridership increased by a lakh in January and February this year. But the figure is still four lakh less than what it was in the corresponding period in 2017 and even 2015.

“Metro ridership, after a drop in October, 2017, is registering a steady increase. In January, 2018, the overall ridership of Delhi Metro was 69,000 more than the preceding month indicating an upward trend,” said DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal. “Continuing the upward trend, the average monthly ridership increased further by 80,000 passengers in February. Therefore, the trends for the last two months indicate that ridership is on an upward swing,” he said.

Dayal said the Botanical Garden – Kalkaji Mandir section of Magenta Line that opened in December 2017 witnessed an average daily ridership of about 45,000 in January this year. “In addition to this, about 24,000 more commuters travelled by the metro every day in January as compared to December 2017. In February 2018, about 49,000 passengers travelled by Magenta Line every day, which again indicates that in the rest of the corridors, there was an increase of over 30,000 every day,” he said.

Dayal also said the highest ridership achieved last December was 25.64 lakh while this January the same figure stood at 26.85 lakh. He said the highest ridership in February was even higher at 26.98 lakh.

“Metro’s ridership is generally low in the months of December and January every year because of the holiday season. The same trend could be observed this year also. However, despite the holiday season, January registered a better ridership than the preceding month,” Dayal said.

He added, “Many more new corridors slated to open in the coming months will bring in much better connectivity for the people and will have a direct bearing on the ridership patterns as metro will venture into many new areas of the national capital.”

2012-17, Month-wise pattern of ridership

The Month-wise pattern of ridership in the Delhi Metro, 2012-2017
From: November 26, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic, The Month-wise pattern of ridership in the Delhi Metro, 2012-2017

2013-17, an increase

2013: The number of passengers ferried on peak days
From The Times of India

Ridership grew steadily on IGI Metro, May 12, 2017: The Times of India

45,000 Use Line Every Day; Slashed Fares, Smart Cards Got More Passengers

In the four years since Delhi Metro took over the operations of Airport Express Line, it has seen a relatively steady growth in ridership. Fares have been slashed to get more passengers on board and Metro's push for smart cards has worked well. The average daily ridership on the airport link is 45,000.

When Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took over the line in 2013, it was a different story altogether. The “high-speed“ link -which was re-opened after being shut because of defects in civil structure in January that year -started at 50kmph and was carrying only 9,000 passengers daily .

In August 2016, Airport Express Line crossed the 50,000 ridership figure, a huge jump from the 12,000 in March 2014. The figure was at 19,466 in 2015. According to Delhi Metro, the daily average ridership has now settled between 44,000 and 45,000. To ensure that more people use this line, DMRC revised the fare twice and made several passenger-friendly changes.The maximum fare has been reduced to Rs 60 while the minimum is now Rs 10.

Various other steps like extension of timings to suit passengers of Shatabdi Express trains, improvement of frequency from 15 minutes to 10 minutes 30 seconds, improvement of speed from 70 kmph to 80 kmph, seamless interchange between the Indian Railways station at New Delhi and Metro stations have been taken.

Metro smart cards were made valid for travel on the line from May 1, 2015. On August 12, 2016, the ridership reached 50,077. The increase in footfall resulted in a rise in both fare and non-fare revenue.

2016, among the top 34 metro systems in the world

Ridership was 100 crore in 2016: Metro, Mar 31 2017: The Times of India


As of March 29, Delhi Metro ranks tenth in terms of ridership among the top 34 metro systems in the world. Delhi Metro announced that 100 crore riders used the network in the financial year 2016.

It crossed the one billion mark for the first time, establishing itself as the “mass transportation backbone of the NCR“, said a statement issued by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The statement further added that since April 1, 2016, a total of 1.001billion (100.165 crores) passengers travelled by the Delhi Metro, registering a 6.56% growth in average daily ridership since the last financial year 2015-16. The average daily ridership has increased by 43% in the last five years. “Delhi Metro currently operates with a fleet of 227 train sets comprising 128 six coach, 58 eight coach and 41 four coach trains across all its corridors,“ said the statement.

The process of adding 258 coaches to its fleet started last October and the process is scheduled to be completed by the end of the next financial year. The cumulative ridership in the last financial year was 94.69 crore.

2018: Kashmere Gate replaces Rajiv Chowk as no.1

Sidhartha Roy, Kashmere Gate Metro station steals Rajiv Chowk’s crown, September 28, 2018: The Times of India

For its first 12 years, Rajiv Chowk was Delhi Metro’s busiest station by a huge margin, but after last year’s fare hike and the opening of new interchange stations, it is not even the first among equals now. Numbers for August show the Kashmere Gate station has pulled ahead.

At its peak, Rajiv Chowk handled about 5 lakh riders daily. Lying at the junction of the Metro’s north-south and east-west corridors, it was the city’s busiest interchange station. But a steep hike in Metro fares last year slashed its daily footfall to roughly 3.7 lakh. When new interchange stations opened at Botanical Garden in Noida, and Hauz Khas, in the past 10 months, its footfall fell by another 30% to 2.6 lakh, as many users didn’t need to make the long detour through it anymore.

“The opening of new interchange stations has provided shorter commuting options to Metro users who don’t need to travel up to the central interchange stations, such as Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC. “This has reduced travel time and the changing traffic pattern has eased the rush at older interchange stations.”

The fare hike and new interchange stations have pruned the footfall at Kashmere Gate too, but only by a tenth as the station is an interchange for three busy lines. From 3 lakh in January, the number of daily users at Kashmere Gate came down to 2.7 lakh in August. In percentage terms, the biggest loser is Central Secretariat station, which has lost almost half of its daily users since January.

Variations in the number of footfalls at the various stations of the Delhi Metro, 2018

Sidhartha Roy, Change in pecking order of metro stations brings teething troubles, September 28, 2018: The Times of India

Number of people who visit these interchange stations daily, January 2018- August 2018
From: Sidhartha Roy, Change in pecking order of metro stations brings teething troubles, September 28, 2018: The Times of India

Welcome Drop In Rajiv Chowk Rush, But Hauz Khas Reeling Under Surge

The opening of new interchanges in the past 10 months has changed the pecking order of Delhi Metro’s stations. While Rajiv Chowk has slipped to second place, behind Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat is down to fifth place from third after losing almost half of its daily users since January. Footfall at the station crashed from 1.7 lakh at the start of the year to 87,000 in August.

But the drop in footfall at these stations has been more than made up by the rush at the new interchange stations at Botanical Garden and Hauz Khas, which have moved up to third and fourth positions, respectively.

Hauz Khas alone added about 1.6 lakh daily users, as against the total loss of 2.2 lakh at the three stations. Its footfall went up from 29,000 in January to 1.9 lakh in August. Botanical Garden added 1.2 lakh daily users — up from 79,000 in January to 2 lakh in August.

Rajiv Chowk station’s importance remained undiminished for years as the metro added lines radially in its first two phases to reach different parts of the NCR. However, in Phase III, new corridors have been built as concentric circles to link the old lines. This has created several new interchange points. For example, the new Magenta Line (Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West) meets the old Yellow Line (Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre) at Hauz Khas, obviating the need for Gurgaon-bound passengers in south and west Delhi to go through Rajiv Chowk.

While the decongestion of Rajiv Chowk station is welcome, Hauz Khas and Botanical Garden stations are struggling to cope with the rush. “The crowd at Hauz Khas was unexpectedly high even on the day the Magenta Line opened. From just another metro station, it turned into a travel hub,” said Sukumar Chaudhry, a student who regularly uses Hauz Khas station.

Anahita Banerjee, who works for an MNC in Gurgaon, said, “Hauz Khas station’s platforms are as narrow as those of Jor Bagh and other Yellow Line stations, although many times more passengers use it.”

Brajesh Kumar, a public relations professional and Noida resident who boards at the Botanical Garden station, also had the same complaint. “It used to be a sleepy station, but has become so crowded that there is not enough space on the platform in peak hours.”

Passengers TOI spoke to said Delhi Metro should improve the facilities at the new interchanges. “Metro should have planned the (Hauz Khas) station better to accommodate the extra rush. Now, many commuters have to wait on the stairs as the platforms are jam-packed in rush hour,” said Banerjee.

The footfall at stations is likely to change again as more interchanges will open at Welcome, Karkardooma, Anand Vihar and Mayur Vihar-I by the end of this year. Expect some more ‘top seeds’ to tumble.

Kashmere Gate, Rajiv Chowk, Botanical Garden, Hauz Khas busiest

Sidhartha Roy, August 3, 2019: The Times of India

2018, 2019: The busiest metro stations in Delhi
From: Sidhartha Roy, August 3, 2019: The Times of India

After a decadeand-a-half-year ‘dominance’, Delhi Metro’s Rajiv Chowk station — the icon of the DMRC network — has been replaced by Kashmere Gate as the busiest interchange stop.

While both the stations remain footfall hotspots, Botanical Garden and Hauz Khas — the two comparatively new stations — are inching closer. The latest data shows that Kashmere Gate and Rajiv Chowk saw a dip in average daily footfall in June 2019 compared with June last year. On the other hand, Botanical Garden and Hauz Khas saw a steady rise in the same period.

“There is a decrease in average footfall at Kashmere Gate, Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations owing to the redistribution of commuters after the addition of new interchange stations,” a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official said. This, he added, has helped Hauz Khas and Botanical Garden stations see a huge increase in passengers in less than two years. “Similarly, average footfall at Inderlok and Kirti Nagar interchange stations have decreased after the opening of Netaji Subhash Place and Rajouri Garden stations,” he added.

Phase-I and II were radial expansions of the DMRC network with Delhi Metro reaching different parts of the city and its neighbouring regions. Phase-III, however, saw the coming up of the corridors in the shape of concentric circles — Magenta (Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West) and Pink (Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar) — that intersected the existing corridors at many places. This resulted in the creation of many interchange points and eased pressure off Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate and Central Secretariat, the official explained.

With 3.7 lakh passengers there per day in January 2018, Rajiv Chowk, an interchange station on the Yellow (Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre) and Blue (Dwarka-Vaishali- Noida City Centre) Lines, was the busiest stop until the figure dipped to 2.6 lakh in August last year. It currently stands at 2.2 lakh.

In the same time, Hauz Khas, also on the same line, saw its footfall go up from just 29,000 in January 2018 to the current 1.8 lakh.

The opening of Magenta Line with the interchange point at Hauz Khas on Yellow Line has helped thousands of commuters from south and west Delhi, who no longer have to take a detour to Rajiv Chowk to travel to Gurgaon.

The figures for Botanical Garden, a not-so-busy station until recently, however, are even more impressive. From 79,000 passengers a day in January 2018, just after becoming NCR’s first metro interchange station, it now caters to over 1.8 lakh passengers daily. It has edged out Central Secretariat to become the third busiest Delhi Metro station. Central Secretariat, in contrast, has seen a dip in footfall from 2.1 lakh in June 2018 to 80,000 in June 2019.

With the opening of the new interchange stations in the past two years, traffic patterns have also undergone a change. While once busy stations like Central Secretariat have witnessed a massive dip, new interchange stations like Welcome (240%), Karkardooma (186%) and Kalkaji Mandir (45%) have seen a spurt in footfall.

“The opening of these interchange stations have provided short commuting options to the passengers who no longer have to travel up to the central interchange stops. They can grab a train very close to their home and workplace,” the official said, adding that this has reduced the travel time for commuters and the rush at the older interchange stations.

Speed and safety issues

2019/ HC Sets Aside ₹4,500-Crore Arbitration Award Against DMRC

Abhinav Garg, Metro safety is not negotiable, says HC, January 26, 2019: The Times of India


Why Court Set Aside ₹4,500-Crore Arbitration Award Against DMRC

Fixing the speed limit of a Delhi Metro train on a particular track or gauging its safety is the sole privilege of Commissioner ofMetro Railway Safety and can’t be overruled through arbitration, said Delhi high court, while setting aside the Rs 4,500-crore award in favour of Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd (DAMEPL).

The judgment of a bench comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar said the arbitral award “shocks conscience” and questioned the conclusion of the tribunal that a speed limit on this line had an adverse impact on the private concessionaire to such an extent that it walked away from the project.

DAMEPL had withdrawn from running Delhi Metro’s Airport Express Line over safety issues. Later, the Arbitral Tribunal faulted Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for introducing speed restrictions on a track originally touted as a high-speed line. In its May 2017 award, the tribunal accepted DAMEPL's claim that the running of operations on the line was not viable due to structural defects on the viaduct on which the train would run.

DMRC appealed in the high court against the single judge order of March 6 last year upholding the arbitral award in favour of DAMEPL.

TOI first reported on January 16 that the tribunal award had been set aside.

The high court bench noted, “Safety of metro line is a matter of public importance and therefore statutory sanction/permission under the Metro Act is required.” It added that such a permission “cannot be challenged or questioned in the arbitration proceedings”.

Criticising the tribunal’s conclusion that the speed restrictions violated the contract on the Airport Express Line serving as a high-speed corridor, the court said the tribunal “did not examine the issue, and question and answer how and in what way the speed restrictions imposed would amount to ‘material adverse effect’ on DAMEPL and how and why “speed restriction would have prevented DAMEPL from performing their obligation in the agreement”.

The bench noted the tribunal had ignored the fact that the line was in use continuously after DAMEPL recommenced operations from January 22, 2013 till June 30, 2013. Also, DMRC continued to operate the service till the award pronouncement in May 2017.

“The fact that speeds were increased from time to time and numbers of trips and passengers had increased were spurned and discarded. During this period of over four years there were no problems, issues and even one accident,” the court noted, adding that in the period since DMRC took over charge in 2013, “no accident and damage to life and property has been reported and alleged”.

The court said the arbitration panel had ignored and did not consider vital evidence of certification for commercial operations accorded by CMRS while deciding the question of civil structure faults. Instead it had accepted the claim of DAMEPL that no effective steps were taken to rectify the defects. “The reasoning virtually over-rules, negates and rejects the statutory certification accorded by CMRS,” the high court said. “The Arbitral Tribunal, without reason, held that the permission accorded and subsequent satisfactory commercial operations were not relevant and inconsequential. Pertinently certification/permission was granted by CMRS after due verification of the civil structure including the defects in girders.”

Citing these, the high court termed the arbitration as “perverse, irrational and patently illegal”. The court, however, allowed both DMRC and DAMEPL to invoke the arbitration clause for a fresh adjudication on their claims and counter claims. The agreement had it that if the contract to run the Airport Line was terminated due to DAMEPL's fault, DMRC would only pay 80% of the debt, while Delhi Metro’s fault would lead to DMRC pay 100% of the debt and 130% of the equity.

Services, additional-

2017: Free wi-fi on Blue Line

Free Wi-Fi at all 50 Blue Line stations, August 26, 2017: The Times of India


Delhi Metro commuters travelling in the Blue Line will now be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi at stations.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has also promised to give the facility at stations on Yellow Line and inside the trains on Airport Express Line by early next year.The high-speed Wi-Fi facility on Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City CentreVaishali) was launched at the Rajiv Chowk metro station on Friday by DMRC managing director Mangu Singh.

The facility -Oui DMRC Free Wi-Fi -will be available on all 50 stations of the line, a DMRC spokesperson said. Commuters will be able to log in after a one-time registration through their mobile phones. “They will be able to use all standard internet applications at the station,“ he said.

The spokesperson added, “For providing this free Wi-Fi facility, DMRC has tied up with a consortium led by Ms Techno Sat Comm that has already been giving the facility on all six Metro stations of the Airport Express Line since October 2016. It is also running India's first Wi-Fi on train on the Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express. The facility will use the T-Track 2.0 Wave 2 Solution, also used on highspeed trains worldwide“.

Technical issues

2017: repeated issues on Blue, the busiest line

Sidhartha Roy, Why snags are new normal on Blue line, June 15, 2017: The Times of India

Bird Hits, Pollution Pose Major Threat To Metro's Busiest Route

What ails the busiest route of Delhi Metro after all?

DMRC claims there are multiple reasons, the prime one being that the corridor has the longest elevated section, which is exposed to the elements, making it vulnerable to glitches. Sharat Sharma, director (operations), DMRC, said that the elevated section of the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21Noida City Centre Vaishali) is nearly 54 kms long. The longest corridor -the Yellow Line (Samaypur BadliHUDA City Centre) -has just 25.73 kms of elevated section in comparison.

“We have to see how much of the corridor is exposed to surrounding areas. An elevated line is also more exposed to the atmosphere,“ Sharma said, adding that it passes through dense residential areas. “We will soon witness storms in Delhi and that is the time when all kinds of objects, including tree branches, cloth sheets, banners, etc, get blown away and get entangled in wi res,“ he said. Once, the Blue Line faced a snag when an electric pole fell on the wires during a storm.

Another major concern is the high level of air pollution in the trans-Yamuna section, Sharma said. Pollutants have an impact on the overhead equipment, which needs regular cleaning to maintain efficiency , he added.

DMRC also faces problems when it comes to daily maintenance of the corridor.“The more a line expands, the less time is available for maintenance,“ Sharma said. The Blue Line ferries about 10 lakh passengers daily , which requires 762 train trips on average. Regular maintenance work can begin between the period post 11.30pm (last trip) and before 6am (first trip).

“In case of big break downs, we have to get on the roof of the catenary maintenance vehicle (CMV),“ Sharma added. The CMVs are located at the two maintenance depots of Blue Line--at Yamuna Bank and Najafgarh.The distance factor also contributes to delay in repair and maintenance.

On Tuesday , an eagle had hit the electrical cable. Birds are a big problem for DMRC.“Some areas, such as R K Ashram Marg, has more avian population. We have covered many parts with nets to avoid nesting of birds,“ Sharma said. The Blue Line has also seen its fair share of signalling failures, but the senior DMRC official said that the signalling technology , though a decade and a half old, is not a problem.

Though DMRC cannot promise that the Blue Line wouldn't face any more breakdown, senior officials claim that the even response time has improved. Sharma said that the breakdown on Tuesday could have taken up to five hours to restore but DMRC did it in about two and half hours.“The number of inspections have gone up and in case of breakdowns, senior officials are sent to the spot to supervise,“ Sharma said.

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