East-West Metro services are likely to be extended till Phoolbagan by May, said Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi after a two-hour visit to the underground station yesterday (Wednesday, 26th February 2020) morning.
The 16.5km East-West Metro that will link Salt Lake’s Sector V with Howrah Maidan is being built by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) and it will be operated by Metro Railway, which runs the north-south line. Metro Railway has already written to the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to inspect the underground stretch till Phoolbagan so that services can be extended soon afterwards.
Even though the Sector V-Stadium corridor has been welcomed by commuters, meaningful rider count is expected only after trains start plying between Salt Lake’s Sector V and Phoolbagan. Joshi said, “The CRS has raised some questions which we are trying to address. Hopefully, the CRS inspect-ion will happen by the end of March.”
On Wednesday, Joshi, accompanied by senior Metro Railway officials, arrived at the station around 10.20 am. KMRC’s managing director Manas Sarkar showed him around. Joshi inspected every inch of the facility, especially the hi-tech sections, like the automatic station control room, the platform screen doors (PSDs) and the ventilation system.
Joshi’s interest in the ventilation system was understandable since this will ensure that cool air circulating through the platform doesn’t escape into the tunnel like it does in the north-south stations. “The tunnel has some unique characters too. Since it will be cut off from the station by screen doors, ducts have been built to maintain ventilation inside the tunnel. The ducts will suck out hot air blowing out of the moving trains and direct it through the ventilation shafts on either side of the platform,” said an engineer.
When Phoolbagan is added, Metro trains will ply underground in the city after 25 years. The last time a Metro rake made its debut underground for a trial run, it was at the north-south line’s MG Road station, which started operating in September 1995. All new stations added to the north-south line since then have been above the ground, connecting tracks laid on viaducts.
PSD Sync trial at Phoolbagan Metro station
Phoolbagan has become the city’s first underground Metro station with full-length platform screen doors, from the floor to the ceiling. The screen doors at Phoolbagan station are around 2.5 metres high and about 140 metres long, stretching from one end of the platform to the other. Similar screen doors will be set up at all underground stations on the East-West Metro route.
“We have recently completed the installation of screen doors at Phoolbagan station. Now, we are fitting the units at Sealdah station. Next up is Howrah Maidan,” a senior official of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) said.
Screen doors have also been installed at East-West Metro’s overground stations, but they stand around 1.7m tall from the ground, officials said. Each unit is 2m wide. Trials are on for the screen doors with trains stopping at Phoolbagan station and doors operating in synchronisation, KMRC officials said.
Metro had earlier written how during trials for the first phase of East-West Metro between Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium stations, drivers were finding it difficult to stop the trains in alignment with the screen doors. Those problems have been solved, Metro Railway officials said.
Delhi Metro has long had platform screen doors. Metro platforms in Copenhagen, Sydney and Wenzhou in China, too, have the facility. Screen doors at stations above the ground are aimed at preventing suicides and accidents, officials said. The ones on underground platforms, however, have an additional function — they prevent cool air from the air-conditioned platforms to escape into the tracks and thus save power.
The Chinese consortium of Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co Ltd of Hunan has manufactured the electronically operated doors and optimised them for crowded platforms and trains.
A platform screen door unit has three sections. The automatic sliding door is the main component with which the train’s door is aligned. There is a fixed panel that supports the sliding doors. Next to it is the emergency exit with a horizontal lever.
If the sliding door doesn’t open, the train will align its door with the emergency exit so that passengers can pull it open to disembark.