The 2-km extension of Delhi Metro’s Airport Express Line to Dwarka sub-city is all set to become operational from September. Train trial runs are being held on the stretch between the existing Sector 21 station and the new India International Convention Centre station in Sector 25.
“All statutory clearances for opening of the section will be obtained later this month after which the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety will be invited to inspect the line in early September,” said Anuj Dayal, principal executive director (corporate communications), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. “We hope to have the section opened after these clearances are obtained,” he said.
DMRC officials said that during the trial runs, primarily the performance of signalling systems is tested. The completion of the trial runs will be followed by the mandatory inspections by CMRS and other various approving authorities, followed by the segment being opened for passenger traffic.
The IICC station at Dwarka Sector 25 is an underground station. At present, the highspeed Airport Express Line corridor has six stations at New Delhi Railway Station, Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aerocity, IGI Airport (Terminal 3), and Dwarka Sector 21. With the completion of the new section, the corridor’s length would total 24.7km.
DMRC expects that with the corridor extending deeper into the sub-city, the ridership on the Airport Express Line will rise. Apart from catering to the upcoming convention centre, which is being developed as India’s largest exhibition and convention centre, the new station will also provide metro connectivity to residents of sectors 25 and 26 of Dwarka and to those in new sectors along the Dwarka Expressway in neighbouring Gurgaon. Residents in these areas will be able to reach central Delhi in about half an hour, an official said.
The station there is built at a depth of around 17 metres. Dayal said that the station would have five entry and exit points, apart from 14 escalators and five elevators, along with staircases for smooth passenger movement. Like the other stations on the Airport Express Line, the new station will also have full height platform screen doors.
DMRC is also procuring 24 special coaches, which will be turned into four six-coach trains for operation on the Airport Express Line. The extra trains will help DMRC maintain adequate frequency on the high-speed corridor when it is extended to IICC.
The new coaches that DMRC is procuring are different from the usual coaches used in the Delhi Metro network. The rail company cannot use coaches from its existing network on the Airport Express Line. The trains will be standard gauge with a top speed of 132 kmph. As DMRC will deploy additional trains on the Airport Express Line with the commissioning of this extension, the corporation is coming up with three additional stabling lines at the Dwarka depot.
Construction work on the Rs 310-crore project had started in 2018 and was expected to be completed by 2021, but Covid-19 put a spanner in DMRC’s works. The company has since been working on a war footing to complete the project and make it operational by mid-2022.