Metro’s airport line likely to open next week: SreedharanJanuary 18th, 2011 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS
By Prathiba Raju and Devirupa Mitra
New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Delhi Metro’s high-speed Airport Express Line (AEL) is expected to begin operations by next week, Delhi Metro chief E. Sreedharan said Tuesday.The Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has given the go-ahead to the Airport Express Metro line (AEL), but there are still some issues of security to be resolved.
“I expect everything will be in position and we will be able to open the line within a week’s time… Basic thing is security, it should be taken care of,” Sreedharan told IANS in an exclusive interview.
The operation of the line has been delayed, as the concessionaire for the line, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), is insisting on keeping the security in-house while the government wants the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to handle it.
“The only thing delaying the operations of AEL is the security. The government of India has said that the security should be with CISF, but the private party all along has been going on the basis that they want their own security arrangement,” the 78-year-old DMRC chief said.
He said that DAMEPL, a Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium, is trying to get the “CISF on board”. “The moment they are able to get the CISF mobilised for the security, we can open. Within a week’s time we hope it will be organised,” added Sreedharan.
He also said that initially the Airport Metro Line speed will be 105 kmph. DMRC is in the process of obtaining an approval from the railway ministry-run Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) on increasing the speed.
“We intend to start off the line straight away with 105 kmph, and we will immediately get RDSO to conduct the test for 120 kmph. The moment the test is conducted we will get the clearance from the CMRS.”
However, Sreedharan said an increase in speed to 120 kmph will not make much of a difference.
“At 120 kmph, from New Delhi Railway Station to IGI airport it will take 18 minutes, and if it is 105 kmph it will take 19 minutes - only a minute’s difference,” he said.
The 23-km link will connect the central shopping district of Connaught Place with the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
The line has six stations — New Delhi Railway Station, Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aero City, Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and Dwarka Sec-21.
Asked about the formal inauguration of the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) metro line, he said: “I’m not very enthusiastic about a formal inauguration for two reasons. First, we have missed the target date… we should have opened it before the Commonwealth Games, we are opening it very late… and there is nothing to celebrate that is the main reason.”
But, ultimately, DAMEPL will take a call on the issue. “I don’t know what is in their mind. They want to start the line first and they can have an inauguration later, as when you start a new line it will take time to stabilise,” Sreedharan added.
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Tags: ael, airport express, central industrial security, cmrs, concessionaire, delhi airport, delhi metro, dmrc, government of india, kmph, line speed, metro chief, metro express, metro line, metro rail, prathiba, rail safety, railway station, rdso, security arrangement