Flagging off the test run of the Chennai Metro Rail, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inquisitively watched the four-coach train making a small trip of one km along the test track in Koyambedu on Wednesday.
The test run marked an important milestone in the execution of the Rs.14,600-crore project that is expected to integrate mass rapid transport system in the city.
“The current round of tests will go on for some more weeks. By January, a section of the elevated portion of the corridor connecting Koyambedu with St. Thomas Mount will be taken up for test run,” said a senior official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), a special purpose vehicle with the Union and State governments having equal equity holding.
This elevated stretch forms part of the corridor -2 that starts from Chennai Central and terminates at St. Thomas Mount covering 21.96 km.
The 23-km-long corridor – 1 will run from Washermenpet to Chennai Airport – mostly underground.
In three months, the CMRL authorities plan to commission the control room for the Metro Rail system. After that, various clearances including the one from the Research, Designs and Standards Organisation of the Indian Railways have to be obtained. “This will take three to four months. By June or July, the elevated corridor will be thrown open to the public,” the official explains. Each four-coach train can carry 1,276 passengers with 176 seated. As per design, two more coaches can be added.
Flagging off the test run at Koyambedu depot, the Chief Minister, accompanied by Minister concerned P. Thangamani and Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, surveyed the interior of a four-coach train for about 10 minutes.
She went to the driver's cabin and spent some time there. To her queries on the progress of the project and features of the rake, CMRL Managing Director K. Rajaraman gave answers.
The Chief Minister took a look at different features of the train such as automatic train protection and operation systems, arrangements for emergency exit and provision for differently-abled and information on stations.
She also switched on a 25-KV (kilo volt) overhead traction system, which would be used to power trains.