Efforts on to start Metro’s Airport Express Line before Commonwealth Games

New Delhi, Sep 28 (Calcutta Tube) Reaching Indira Gandhi International Airport from New Delhi Railway Station in less than 20 minutes? This trip will soon be a reality with the Delhi Metro and Reliance Infrastructure trying to kick-off services of the Airport Express Line (AEL) before the Commonwealth Games start.

The 23-km line will run from New Delhi Railway Station to Dwarka Sector 21, via Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aero city, and Indira Gandhi International Airport. It is the first Metro line built on public-private partnership — between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure.

As per the agreement between DMRC and Reliance Infrastructure, DMRC was responsible for the civil work and Reliance Infrastructure will operate the service.

A Delhi Metro official told IANS that DMRC has completed the civil work on the stretch. ‘It is up to Reliance Infrastructure to head on with the operations of the line.’

According to Reliance Infrastructure officials, the line is being inspected by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) since Monday. The inspection is continuing Tuesday and a date for opening of the service will be immediately announced once the CMRS certificate is received, the officials said.

‘We want AEL to be opened before the Commonwealth Games which is just five days away. We are racing against time and hoping we could make the line operational,’ an official of Reliance Infrastructure, who did not want to be named, said.

The line was planned to be opened for commuters particularly for the airport-bound passengers between Sep 26 and 29.

The ride on the AEL will be different from the existing Metro routes with the metro stations looking like mini versions of airport terminals, while the seating will be different. According to DMRC sources, the fare will be a maximum of Rs.150 till IGI and an additional Rs.30 to Dwarka Sector 21.

‘The seating arrangement will be different in this metro line. With the train plying at 120 kmph, the seating arrangement like the usual metro might make the commuters feel dizzy, so the seats will be arranged like in buses,’ the Reliance Infrastructure official said.

In the beginning, eight trains — each having six coaches — will ply and later the number of trains might be increased depending on the rush.

Each coach will have LCD screens showing flight information for convenience of air travellers, while half a coach of every six-coach train will be reserved for luggage.

As the line will have more air travellers, airline and baggage check-in counters will be provided at certain metro stations on this metro corridor.

Initially, the trains will ply at 10-minute intervals and later it will be brought down to three minutes. A footfall of 25,000 commuters during peak hours is expected.

The AEL will initially not provide round-the-clock service.

‘Everyday, the train services will be suspended for three to four hours. This will be done when international flight frequency is low, mostly late night so the commuters will have a hassle-free journey,’ the Reliance Infrastructure official said.

‘We have plans to make the service round-the-clock at a later stage,’ the official added.

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