Delhi Metro enters league of driverless train operators; Why it is significant
New Delhi, Dec 28: In a major milestone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off the country's first ever fully-automated driverless train service on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro.
With this the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has entered the elite league of "seven per cent of world's Metro networks" which can operate services without drivers.
Although, initially drivers will be deputed for operating the trains they would be gradually withdrawn to move to Unattended Train Operation (UTO).
These innovations are going to herald a new era of travelling comfort and enhanced mobility for the residents of Delhi and other cities in the National Capital Region.
Flagging off of the driverless trains is being seen as a major technological milestone for the rapid transport network and the country. The DMRC operates 10 metro rail corridors comprising 242 stations. On regular days, the average daily ridership of the Delhi Metro is over 26 lakh.
In September 2017, Delhi Metro had started full signalling trials of its new driverless trains along a 20-km stretch on the Pink Line, which was yet to be commissioned back then. The trials were to test the automation of the new metro trains, equipped with Unattended Train Operations (UTO) and CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) signalling systems, which will significantly increase their frequency.
Delhi Metro had begun its commercial operation on December 25, 2002, a day after the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had inaugurated the DMRC''s first stretch, spanning 8.2 km from Shahdara to Tis Hazari, with just six stations.
The metro rakes
The driverless train having six coaches are equipped with several advanced features. These new trains of Delhi Metro have undergone significant technological as well as eco-friendly upgrades and many more features have been added to increase passenger comfort.
They are designed for a maximum speed of 95 kilometres per hour and operational speed of 85 kmph, Delhi Metro had earlier said. They would run on the over 58-km-long Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar (Line 7) and the over 38-km-long Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden (Line 8) corridors of the Phase-III.
Each coach can accommodate maximum 380 passengers, which translates to 2,280 passengers in each train set of six coaches. The cabin-less trains would be able to accommodate 40 commuters more in a six coach train as the driver's cab will not be required in such trains.
Will all Delhi Metro trains operate without drivers from December 28?
For now, the driverless train operation (DTO) or unattended train operation (UTO) modes will only be implemented on Line 7 and Line 8 of the DMRC network which came up under the Phase III expansion. These corridors are equipped with an advanced signalling technology which makes the transition possible.