New Delhi: A hassle-free and swift ride
to the Indira Gandhi International Airport became a reality
Wednesday when the Delhi Metro`s showcase Airport Express Corridor
finally rolled out for the public after several missed
Two high-speed brand new trains began their journey
from two terminating stations - New Delhi and Dwarka Sec-21
- at 2 PM without any formal inauguration or much fanfare.
Initially, the Line will have a 16-hour run from 6 AM to 10 PM
which is likely to be increased to 20 hours soon.
Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL),
the Reliance Infra-led consortium that will operate the line,
is planning to hold a formal inauguration ceremony sometime in
Decks were cleared for opening the Line after the
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which will guard the
line, completed its deployment and conducted mandatory
Built at a cost Rs 5,700 crore, the Airport Metro
Express, the first corridor in the country to come up on
Public-Private-Partnership model, promises a smooth ride for
Delhiites in a plush environment from Connaught Place
to Dwarka Sec-21 via the new swanky Terminal-3 of the IGI
Airport in flat 18 minutes as compared to over 45 minutes to
60 minutes by road.
In a bid to attract commuters, the DAMEPL will offer
tickets at a much cheaper rate initially. Commuters can reach
IGI Airport from New Delhi by paying Rs 80 and regular
commuters can avail monthly passes facility provided by the
Five to six trains will be pressed into service from
today on the line and they will run at a frequency of 20
minutes. The frequency may be increased based on the
popularity and rush.
Trains on the Line are completely different from the
existing Metro coaches and have been procured from CAF Spain,
the firm which supplied trains to Heathrow and Hong Kong Metro
Express Lines. Every coach has several LCD screens and the
trains are narrower than the Metro trains that are currently
plying in the capital.
Passengers will be able to check the flight status at
all stations on the Airport Metro Line and will have
comfortable seating arrangements on the train.
Trains on the high-speed corridor will initially run
at a speed of 105 km per hour and it will be increased to 120
km per hour after due clearance from Research, Designs and
Standard Organisation (RDSO).
Four stations New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium, IGI
Airport and Dwarka Sec-21 will become operational, but two
other stations. Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aero City will open
Though the line opened for public today, the check-in
facility, one of the salient features of the corridor, will
not be available for commuters immediately as talks with
airlines are still on.
The check-in facility at three stations - New Delhi,
Shivaji Stadium and Dhaula Kuan - is expected to be available
when the formal inauguration takes place.
With this, Delhi joined a few world cities like
London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur to have a high-speed
link connecting the city with the International Airport.
DAMEPL claims the line was completed in record 27 months time.
The Line, which was the first Metro corridor in the
country to fail a safety test, missed at least three deadlines
- October 3, October 31 and December 31 - set by the Delhi
Metro Rail Corporation and the Union Urban Development
Though Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety R K Kardam
gave his go-ahead for the line after his second inspection in
January, the line could not be opened because of uncertainty
over who will man the line.
While the Centre and Delhi Metro wanted the CISF to
man the corridor like any other line in the capital, the
DAMEPL wanted its own men to take over the security. After
much deliberation, the Home Minister had on February four
handed over the security to CISF.
This will also be the first line in the country to be
mapped on Geographic Information System to enhance safety,
maintenance and traffic regulation. Mapping the corridor on
GIS will help in mobilising emergency services in case of a
blast or fire on the train.
The company has mapped all the emergency services,
including fire stations, police stations, hospitals etc along