Baggage check-in facility not yet available; trains running only at 50kmph

Trolley suitcase in tow, Pune resident A. P. Jogania was all set for his maiden trip aboard the Airport Metro Express at New Delhi station on Tuesday. His visit to the Capital coincided with the reopening of the Delhi Airport Metro line and he thought it to be a much better option than getting stuck in the afternoon traffic on the way to the airport. “I come to Delhi often but I have never taken the Airport Metro. I read about the reopening of the line in the newspaper today so I decided to check it out,” he said.

Behind him, passengers were scattered here and there – some tugging at heavy luggage and others making their way back home to Dwarka. “We have had a good response and there has been a constant flow of people since this morning,” said an Metro staffer at the station.

The Airport Line resumed commercial operations at 5-30 a.m. on Tuesday. Yet, with check-in and baggage facilities for passengers not available for the time being and the usual shops not open inside the premises, the station wore a desolate look – in contrast to the bustling New Delhi metro station only a few metres away.

However, a sign suggesting that it was the fastest corridor on the metro network seemed outdated, with the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety giving a clearance only to operating trains at a reduced speed of 50 kmph for the time being. “It is fine if its only 50 kmph, it is much better than getting stuck in traffic and missing my flight!” said another commuter.

On Tuesday, passengers were charged a flat rate of Rs.30 as an inaugural day offer. The line was shut down six months ago due to defects in the civil structure and has since undergone extensive repairs. It had carried 68 lakh passengers and one more than 70,000 trips in 15 months.

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