BENGALURU: Namma Metro formally completed its first underground run on Thursday, and was cheered by onlookers who whistled and took pictures.
The train, with over 40 Metro officials on board, was flagged off from the MG Road station at 4.13 pm. It covered the 1-km stretch slowly, taking a full four minutes to reach Cubbon Park. The train descended the ramp near Anil Kumble Junction, near MG Road station, soon after its trip began.
Namma Metro is now another step closer to getting Reach-2 operations between Magadi Road and Mysore Road ready by mid-June. “The stations between the two points are ready and all track work was completed months ago but they could not be used as there is no connectivity from Byappanahalli depot to Magadi Road so far,” said an official.
The successful run on Thursday marks the beginning of work to establish that connectivity. Billing the run as historic, Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, told the first press interaction at Cubbon Park underground station that “the trial run of the underground train from the remainder of the tunnel portion from Cubbon Park to Magadi Road (3.8 km) will start tomorrow and be completed by Sunday.”
Chief Public Relations
Officer U A Vasant Rao said the underground train would be taken by a battery-operated bogey tractor up to the City Railway Station. It will then be transported on a ramp up to Magadi Road station.
Kharola attributed the successful run to the cooperation and efforts of contractors, engineers and technicians.
The restoration of roads along Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park Station is nearing completion and will be done by mid-May, he said.
Loco pilot Deendhayal, who steered the train, said, “We are all very happy. This is not a small achievement.” He also said he had trained 50 Metro drivers.
The deadline for the completion of the 18.1-km East-West Corridor between Baiyappanahalli and Mysore Road is November 2015. When it finally gets operational, the corridor will be covered in 32 minutes, said a press release.
The maximum speed on the section is 80 kmph while the speed for commercial operations would be 34 kmph, it said.
ELABORATE TESTS To Protect Train
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation conducted elaborate testing for three days to ensure a successful inaugural run, its MD Pradeep Singh Kharola told Express. The final testing was done on Thursday, just hours before the media was to witness the evening run. The train took over an hour to complete the 1-km run on Thursday morning. “Officials were lined up on either side to closely monitor whether the sides touched any of the cables or brackets. There are hundreds of brackets along the tunnel,” he said. Brackets are hard, steel hook-like structures on the walls. A Metro train costs `30 crore and even a slight brush against something could prove costly to fix. Hence, a gauge (or train replica) was made to run the distance on Wednesday. A recovery vehicle was also sent inside the tunnel.