It may take a day more for the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) to take the covers off the first rake for the East-West Metro corridor that reached the city on Thursday but TOI has managed a sneak preview of the exteriors and interiors of what is being touted as the most advanced train set in Kolkata at the moment.
The rake is the first of 14 being built by BEML Ltd and will be using the state-of-theart ‘communication-based train control’ (CBTC) system, allowing the central control room to operate it.
“Though these trains can operate without drivers, there will be motormen present in the cabs to monitor operations and shift to manual working during emergencies. The motormen will also control the opening and closing of doors. Moreover, the presence of the motormen will help in providing confidence to passengers who aren’t used to driverless trains as yet,” a Metro Railway official said. The operations of the East-West Metro corridor will be handled by Metro Railway.
Metro plans to start first phase operations of the East-West corridor between Salt Lake Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium by the Pujas this year. To run services along this stretch at six-minute intervals, five rakes will be required. The next four will be arriving in quick succession in the next few months.
“It has been slightly over two years since orders were placed with BEML Ltd for the rakes. Initially, the delivery of rakes was planned from July 2019. However, BEML Ltd speeded up its production schedule keeping in mind the traffic situation in Kolkata and the first rake was flagged off from Bengaluru on March 31. Of the six coaches in Kolkata now, two are 21-metre-long driving motor cars, two are motor cars and the remaining are trailing cars. The lengths of the motor cars and training cars are 20.8 metres. All coaches are 2.9 metres wide and 3.9 metres high,” the official added.
The BEML rakes are not only technologically advanced but have additional features for passenger comfort and security. All coaches have facilities for wheelchairborne passengers and a special suspension system provide far more comfortable rides than any rake that the Metro uses. Their superior propulsion systems and aerodynamic designs also allow a top speed of 90km per hour. All coaches also have CCTV cameras and talkback facilities that would help passengers in distress communicate with motormen. The CCTV cameras have recording facilities and footage can be stored to identify wrong-doers even after the trip is over.
“These rakes have better cooling and ventilation systems that will allow more passenger comfort, particularly during the peak summer. When the North-South corridor started, people were not used to Metro services and it took several years for it to become popular. We are sure that the East-West corridor will be a major hit from Day I,” another official said.
Source: Times of India