Mumbai: Metro Line 7 & 2A to begin in October, but stations are far from ready

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) started dynamic trials and testing of prototype metro rake on the 20 kms stretch between Dhanukarwadi and Aarey on Metro Line 2A and 7. Akurli station, from where this metro train was flagged off for trial runs, looks all ready. However, the other Metro stations falling on the 20 kms stretch covering both Metro-7 and Metro-2A are far from ready and look merely like a skeleton from the outside. This comes at a time when the MMRDA has claimed that this 20 kms stretch on Charkop-Dahisar-Aarey of Metro-7 and 2A will be ready for commercial operations from October this year.

According to MMRDA authorities the phase-1 of Line 2A from Kamraj Nagar to Dahisar will be fully completed by November 30, while the stations on Ovaripada to Aarey falling in the phase-1 of Line 7 will be fully completed by October 30. "All civic structural works have been completed except entry structures. The finishing works are 85 percent complete on Kamraj Nagar-Dahisar stretch of Line 2A. Likewise on the 9 stations from Ovaripada to Aarey of Line 7, we have completed finishing works up to 78 percent," said MMRDA officials.

At few locations, one can see packaged escalators lying on the road while the space below the station too is barricaded. The second phase of Line-2A on the balance 8 stations from Charkop to DN Nagar will be completed by March 31, 2022 and the balance 4 stations from Aarey to Gundavali (Andheri) will be completed by December 31, this year. Sources said that all the civil structural works are completed except Gundavali station and its entry structures.

Due to Covid-19 induced lockdown situation worldwide, it impacted the shipment of crucial systems and components from Italy, Japan, South Korea and Germany required for the running of prototype train. Due to flight disruption amid Covid-19 restrictions the availability of experts from Demark, France, South Korea, Finland, Spain for signalling and telecom understanding was not possible for nearly one year. Therefore, synchronization of propulsion and brake system was done through video conferencing across three different time zones --India, Europe and Japan.

During this dynamic trial run period, the prototype train set of six cars will run at various speeds. Various sub-systems and equipment will be tested under dynamic condition. Performance proving tests besides integration with signalling, platform screen doors, telecom will be tested. This trial run will continue for about two months and only after that the first prototype train set manufactured by Bharat Earth Movers Ltd will be offered to RDSO for mandatory performance and safety testing which will take another two months. The train will be then sent to the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) for inspection and certification.

This will cover 18 stations (9 stations of Line 2A {(10.5 kms) & 9 Stations of Line 7 (9.2 kms.)}. The Trial run will start from Aarey Station of Line 7 & end at Charkop Depot via Dahisar (E) station. The Yellow Metro line will have stations of Dahisar (E), Upper Dahisar, Kandarpada, Mandapeshwar, Eksar, Borivali (W), PahadiEksar & Kandivali (W). While the stations falling on Red Metro line are Ovaripada, Rashtriya Udyan, Devipada, Magathane, Poisar, Akurli, Kurar, Dindoshi & Aarey.

The commercial operations on this stretch in Phase-1 are expected to begin in October 2021 with all passenger facilities such as lifts, escalators, AFC gates among others. A total of 10 train sets (two each month) will be delivered by end of September 2021.The MMRDA expects at least 12 percent of those travelling in local trains on Western Railway and 25 percent of motorists travelling on WEH to shift onto Metro 7 and 2A. As on April 30, the MMRDA have spent project cost for Metro 2A of Rs 3,525 crore and Rs 2,410 crore for Metro 7.

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