Chennai Metro rail services may have been suspended due to lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 during the second wave, but trains are being operated twice daily to keep them in good condition.
Officials said two to four trains-each having four cars- are operated across both the corridors covering 45 km early in the morning and late in the evening during the lockdown period. An official said they are operating it based on instructions from the ministry of housing and urban affairs to all metro rail services in the country.
Also, it was the only way to ensure the trains are kept ready for operation when services resume. CMRL operated trains across the corridors daily during the nearly five months of lockdown in 2020, before services were resumed in September 2020. Now, they are following the same procedure for the upkeep of their fleet.
“We cannot keep the trains idle for a long time. Normally, when they are idle for a month, many of its parts like axle bearing and gear box get damaged or turn faulty due to the grease and oil present in it,” an official said.
“Some time ago, Delhi metro kept new trains they procured idle for nearly six months because the line was not ready. Due to the pressure, the bottom edge of the train wheels began to flatten. Though such things happen only if the trains are kept idle for a very long period, we want to ensure our trains are in good condition,” the official said.
At present, two trains each on the up line and down line are operated on two corridors twice a day. They stop at every station just like they would do during regular operations. The staff at every station is present during this operation.
“We also operate the train in the train wash plant at the depot once in three days to clean the exterior. So, trains are running there too,” an official said. “Otherwise the scheduled regular train maintenance work is being undertaken during this period. No additional work is planned,” the official said.