If all goes well, Metro Railway will get its first rake from abroad in the next three months. The advanced rake from CRRC Dalian of China, the first of 14 being built by the company, is likely to reach Kolkata port in June, provided all the electrical components clear their requisite tests. Once in Kolkata, the rakes will undergo inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) before being pressed into service in the existing north-south corridor.
“The first rake of the series is nearly ready to be shipped. However, the electrical components supplied by Japan’s Toshiba will have to undergo trials. The trials will be conducted in Japan, although the rake will remain in China. Experts from the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) will travel to Japan to be present during the trials. Once the components are cleared, we expect the first rake to arrive in Kolkata in June,” said Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee.
Metro officials believe that necessary alterations to the two ICF rakes which reached Kolkata nearly six months ago from Chennai — and have been undergoing trials since then — will be made by the time the Chinese rake arrives. If all trials are cleared and the CRS gives the go-ahead, all three are likely to enter commercial services by the Pujas this year.
For several years now, Metro Railway’s north-south corridor — the oldest underground mass rapid transit system in the country — has operated 27 rakes. Of these, 13 are air-conditioned. Apart from the two ICF rakes and the 14 from Dalian, orders have also been placed for eight rakes from Chinese firm CSR Zhuzhou. This will be followed up by 14 more from ICF. Finally, CSR Zhuzhou will supply two more rakes. After their experience with the two from ICF, officials are now keen to ensure that all advanced rakes are compatible with the Metro’s system. Metro general manager Ajay Vijayvargiya has made it clear that there will be no compromise on passenger safety.
All eight coaches of the Dalian rake will have CCTV cameras. These cameras will also send real-time footage to the motormen’s cabins to allow them to take necessary action in case of an emergency. The rakes will also have better cooling for more comfortable rides, particularly during the summer. Every coach will also be equipped with eight talk-back units and buzzers that passengers in distress can use to communicate with the motormen.