BANGALORE: The lakhs of commuters who are eagerly waiting for the six-coach Namma Metro train will now be able to use it from Saturday. Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), which assembled the first six-car Metro train for the City, which will run from Friday evening, on Thursday said it would deliver its second six-coach set to Bangalore Metro by August.
The six-coach train will make its inaugural trip on Friday at 5.30 p.m. from Baiyappanahalli to Kempegowda station, Majestic. This trip, however, will be reserved for the VIPs, invitees, and the media. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has maintained that the new train will primarily be operated during the peak hours, and on the Purple Line to begin with. “Once the VIPs disembark at the Majestic station, other passengers can take the train. But the peak hour may be over by then. But they will be able to use the six-coach train from 7 a.m. on Saturday,” said Mahendra Jain, Managing Director, BMRCL.
Top BEML officials spoke to RailNews on Thursday on the challenges faced in readying the first such set for the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL). Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman and Managing Director, BEML, assured the concern was on course to meet the revised target of June 2019 it had announced for itself for handing over the remaining 147 coaches. “ I can assure you we will be well within the deadline,” he said.
Hota pointed out that the delivery of the first six-car has been made by them in record time. “We were given the order in March 2016 and an 18-month period is generally given for such contracts. Due to the urgent requirement for it, we delivered it by February 2017. Round-the-clock effort by BEML staffers and excellent co-ordination at every stage by BMRCL helped us achieve it,” he said.
BEML had prior expertise as it had manufactured both six-car and eight-car sets for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited. Explaining the difference, Hota said. “More powering is required in the case of Bangalore Metro trains due to the gradient in the tracks. In some stretches, it is like steering the train uphill.”
The unique aspect about Bangalore Metro was that all its trains are run using power from Third Rail, which runs along the Metro train tracks and supplies 750V DC for operations, a top official said. In the case of the Delhi Metro, overhead lines (overhead cantenary) sends the current to an inbuilt transformer that redistributes power inside the train.
Upgradation of software from the three-car to the six-car, particularly for the braking systems, was a major challenge, another official added.While it was earlier understood that 1,950 passengers, which is double the present passenger capacity, can be accommodated in the longish train, BEML says that up to 2,068 passengers can hop on board. “In the present three-car, one segment of the first and third coaches are taken up by the loco-pilot’s cabin. The three new cars supplied can be used by passengers fully. So, the ridership will be more than double,” another senior official said.
Commercial Run on Saturday
On Saturday, the six-coach train is expected to make a full first trip from Baiyappanahalli to Mysuru Road and back. From its second trip from Baiyappanahalli, the train would stop at the Vijayanagar station and turn back, in time to cater to the large number of government employees travelling towards the Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park stations, which means it will be a short-loop train, said Mr. Jain.
Though the train would make at least three round trips each in the morning and evening peak hours, Mr. Jain said the operation timings would be “dynamic” to cater to changes in passenger numbers.
An entire coach reserved for women will become a reality with the debut of the six-coach train. Men will not be allowed to enter or use the first coach. This, however, will be applicable only on the six-coach train. The present arrangement on three-coach trains, where the first two entrances of the first coach are reserved for women, will continue.
‘No impact on frequency’
Allaying anxiety of commuters over any impact on the frequency of the trains owing to the operation of the six-coach train, Mr. Jain said the new train would permanently be a six-coach train. “It will not be broken up as its alignment changes. When it is not operational, it will be idling,” he said.
Next set in August
Commuters will have to wait till August for more six-coach trains. “The fabrication has started for whatever modifications have been suggested. So they (BEML) have started full-fledged production. From September onwards, they will be giving us six to nine coaches and from October, they will even be able to give us around 12 coaches,” he said.