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Updated: September 24, 2011 17:28 IST

Ride comes with riders

Staff Reporter
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SLOWING DOWN: A speed restriction has been imposed as the Reach 1 stretch has too many sharp curves. File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
SLOWING DOWN: A speed restriction has been imposed as the Reach 1 stretch has too many sharp curves. File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has authorised Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) to open Reach 1 of Namma Metro between Byappanahalli and M.G. Road for passenger traffic.

Commissioner of Railway Safety (South-Central Region) D.K. Singh, who as CMRS, conducted the safety inspection earlier this month, told The Hindu he has issued the authorisation on Friday with certain observations.

An important recommendation is that the maximum speed at which the trains could run should be cut by 10 per cent. The Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, had permitted a maximum speed of 75 kmph on straight lines and 45 kmph on curves while issuing the speed certificate.

Now, the top speed will be 67.5 kmph on straight lines and 40.5 kmph on curves. However, there was no official communiqué from BMRCL about the CMRS authorisation.

The speed restriction was imposed as the stretch has too many sharp curves, which according to Mr. Singh, cannot take the speed authorised by RDSO. BMRCL did not have much data about these sharp curves. “I have asked them to monitor rail and wheel wear for six months after which I can take a fresh look into the maximum speed,” he said.

Now, BMRCL can commence commercial services at any time it deems fit though the official launch could be delayed as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is expected to inaugurate the city's most ambitious infrastructure project yet, is yet to commit himself to a date.

Missed deadlines

Before the September 23 CMRS authorisation, Namma Metro Reach 1 had missed several deadlines. Reach 1 was originally scheduled to open in March 2010, which was revised in 2008 for December 2010.

Because of the delay in completing construction of the viaduct on C.M.H. Road, BMRCL had to offload the contractor from a portion of work and appoint another, adding to the delay.

Meanwhile, with Bangalore coming under the Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Act 2002, the Ministry of Railways became the nodal authority instead of Ministry of Urban Development. Fresh rules had to be framed under this Act as the old ones were framed under the Mysore Tramways Act. This too contributed to the hold-up.

By then the December 2010 deadline flew past and fresh ones set for March (Ugadi) and then April by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. However, because of delay in the speed tests and clearances by the Railway Board, both the Government and BMRCL fought shy of announcing fresh dates.

After D.V. Sadananda Gowda assumed the office of Chief Minister, he took a personal interest in expediting the clearances and announced that Namma Metro would be launched in September.

Sources in the Chief Minister's office said that Mr. Gowda, who is on tour, would make an official announcement at Hospet on Friday night.

“We will now write to the Prime Minister's office and seek his date,” an official said.

Keywords: Bangalore Metro

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