After day-long exposure to the elements, a dusty bluish silver train slowly crawls into a huge shed where it gets doused in cold water. This is the plant inside the depot of Chennai Metro Rail in Koyambedu where all trains are washed with detergent and normal water after rigorous trials. Water-spraying nozzles and giant multi-coloured brushes are used on the coaches, one after another and a shiny train finally settles to rest at the stabling shed, till the next trial run.
The depot that sprawls across 27 hectares houses a host of things, including the stabling plant where the trains are stationed, an automatic train wash plant and four inspection bay lines where trains are tested at the end of the day. “The stabling plant has 12 lines where 36 trains can be parked; there is also sufficient space for further expansion to house more trains,” an official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) says.
After each train arrives at the depot (of 42 trains for Chennai Metro Rail, 33 are manufactured in Sri City and nine from Sao Paolo, Brazil) it is put through about 2,500 km of trial runs. It then has to be certified by a safety team before it rolls out for operations, he adds.
Wherever these trains are, their movement is constantly watched at the Operational Control Centre (OCC) in Koyambedu. From stopping a train when someone jumps on track to keeping an eye on the movement of every passenger in every station, the OCC works as the nerve centre of Chennai Metro Rail.
Everything required to run Metro Rail service is in place. All that is left is the launch.