Chennai Metro Rail to shuttle every 10-15 minutes – CMRL to offer Free rides for few weeks

Chennai (MAS): Chennaiites can expect a metro rail to shuttle between Koyambedu and Alandur for every 10 minutes. That is the maximum frequency CMRL (Chennai Metro Rail Limited) can maintain with the existing fleet at its depot.  Of the 25 trains at the depot, nine have been cleared after necessary tests, which include the mandatory 1,600km run on tracks. However, all trains are run up to 2,500km on the corridor before being cleared for commercial run. With the nine-trains that have met the qualifying conditions, the frequency can be maintained at 10-15minutes for the commercial run, a senior CMRL officer said.

In the initial stages, seven or eight trains might be running on commercial basis as a couple of them will be retained at the depot as standby, highly placed CMRL sources told.  The frequency can be increased further (less than 10 minutes) in future by adding more trains to the fleet after the completion of the tests.

60 CCTV cams per station

All metro stations will be put under intense CCTV surveillance. Each station will have a minimum of 30 cameras. The average number of cameras will be between 50 and 60, CMRL officers said.  The operational control centre at Koyambedu has a 24 grid monitor (video wall) in which all stations, particularly the platforms can be monitored using the CCTV surveillance.

Daily FC for trains

Unlike the EMU and MR TS, each metro train will be issued a mandatory fitness certificate before the train rolls out of the Koyambedu depot to the elevated corridor around 5am daily. The train, which will be washed the previous night when it rolls in after completing the final trip, will go through the stabling and inspection bay where the standard checks will be done and final fitness certificate will be issued, CMRL officials explained.

Free rides for few weeeks

Chennai Metro Rail may offer free rides for the public during the first few weeks of operations, sources said. Officials are considering this option to boost their image and draw people into using Chennai Metro Rail, sources added. “This is an attempt to increase the ridership in the Chennai Metro Rail; but the proposal has not been finalised as yet,” a source said. The minimum fare may be Rs. 10 and the maximum may be Rs. 30-40, say sources.

Chennai Metro train leaves the Washing Bay after the exterior cleaning
Chennai Metro train leaves the Washing Bay after the exterior cleaning

Nine trains will run on the first stretch from Koyambedu to Alandur, a distance of 10 km that will initially be operationalised. “Initially, the there will be a train running every 10 minutes and later depending on the increase in the number of people travelling by Metro Rail, it may increase,” another official said.

Chennai Metro Rail that was launched in 2009 is expected to be operationalised from Koyambedu to Alandur anytime after the by-election for R.K. Nagar constituency is over on Saturday. “The dates are not clear as yet. We expect the operations to begin in the first week of July,” an official said.

Though the Metro Rail service, going by the original plan, was scheduled to have been operationalised in October last year, there were various delays in the commissioning of this project.

Facts about Chennai Metro Rail:

Corridor Length:  Washermenpet to Airport 23.1 km; Chennai Central to St.Thomas Mount 22.0 km; Total 45.1 kms built at an Estimated total project cost: Rs.14,600 crores.

Initially nine trains will be used for operations from Koyambedu to Alandur which covers a distance of 10 km with Passenger capacity of each train being 1,200 at an Average speed of 35 kmph and Maximum operating speed: 80 km/hour.  The duration of halt in each station: 30 seconds. The train operation plan provides for 4.5 minutes Headway with 4 – Car train in Corridor – I & II during peak hours and 10 minutes Headway during lean hours in the initial stage of train service.

Koyambedu to Alandur: 15 minutes

Running of services for 19 hours of the day (6 AM to Midnight)

The trains run on a fixed time table everyday. The timetable is prepared the previous day factoring in frequency, peak and non-peak hour etc. An announcement system is in place to inform passengers of an incoming train.

In case of an emergency, a passenger can get in touch with train operator. He communicates with the operation control centres who in turn intimate it to the next station controller to deboard the passenger.

Operation Control Centre (OCC) is the nerve centre where all trains of Chennai Metro Rail will be monitored.

Currently, there are seven people in OCC including chief controller and traffic controllers.

If the driver falls ill during train operation, the train automatically applies emergency brake and stops.

If there is a problem at the OCC, the control is transferred to backup stations like Ashok Nagar and Koyambedu.

The trains are currently tested on both manual and automatic mode.

Chennai Metro Rail trains are equipped to run without train operators. But for a while, they will run with train operators.