Chennai Metro Rail Limited has floated tenders to hire a firm to conduct a safety assessment of the Phase-1 Extensionline, which is the first step towards opening the line for use. According to the tender invite, CMRL is looking for an independent safety assessor empanelled by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the ministry of railways.
The assessor will inspect systems that are critical for daily operations like signalling, train control system, and its related interface to the trains and platform screen door systems. Phase-1 extension line will have two underground stations with platform screen doors, while the remaining six stations will be elevated.
A metro rail official said once the independent safety inspection is completed and certified, they would call for an inspection by the commissioner of metro rail safety (CMRS), who is the final authority to clear the line for commercial operations. The 9-km line from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar was initially expected to be opened by June 2020.
With the nationwide lockdown, however, stalling work at the construction site and delaying procurement of some electrical components from China and countries in Europe, the opening of the line could be delayed by a month or two. “We are not sure when the CMRS will be invited for inspection as our work is now stopped due to the lockdown,” an official said.
In March, metro rail officials operated a trolley to inspect the ballastless tracks and its alignment across the 9-km stretch. When the line opens, commuters could travel from Wimco Nagar near Thiruvottiyur all the way up to airport covering nearly 31km in an hour on a single ride. After the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced, more than 80% of the workers on the construction site in north Chennai were instructed to stay in their temporary shelters to prevent spread of the virus.