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Full-stretch travel, for upkeep

2 East-West Metro rakes move through Esplanade-Sealdah section on way to Central Park depot

Debraj Mitra | Published 18.03.24, 05:43 AM
The Metro maintenance depot at Central Park

The Metro maintenance depot at Central Park

Picture by Gautam Bose

Two East-West Metro rakes chugged through the Esplanade-Sealdah section, the only part of the 16.6km corridor that is still under construction, late on Saturday.

The two rakes, which travelled through the Salt Lake-bound tunnel, did not carry any passenger. They were taken to the East-West Metro depot at Central Park in Salt Lake for maintenance after the commercial run on the first two days.


Two other rakes from the depot took the same route to reach the Esplanade station of East-West Metro around 1am on Sunday, said an official of the carrier.

The commercial run on the Howrah Maidan-Esplanade stretch of the east-west corridor (Green Line), New Garia-Ruby stretch of the New Garia-airport corridor (Orange Line) and the Taratala-Majerhat section of the Joka-Esplanade corridor (Purple Line) started on March 15. Before March 15, trains used to run between Joka and Taratala.

The East-West Metro authorities spent the first Sunday after the start of the commercial run on the Esplanade-Howrah Maidan stretch focussing on maintenance and attempts to sort out some teething troubles such as inadequate signage and lack of proper announcements at some stations.

There are no East-West Metro services on Sundays. The other two links where the commercial run started on March 15 have no services on Saturdays and Sundays.

Rake maintenance

Two six-coach rakes are being used for commercial services on the Howrah Maidan-Esplanade section of East-West Metro.

Together, the two rakes are supposed to make 130 trips between Esplanade and Howrah Maidan every day, from Monday to Saturday.

The east-west corridor is also operational between Sealdah and Sector V. The only stretch that is yet to be ready is the one between Esplanade and Sealdah.

The last trains left Howrah Maidan and Esplanade at 9.45pm on Saturday.

“After the commercial services ended, the two rakes were brought to the depot at Central Park for a detailed inspection. Two fresh rakes from the depot went to the
Esplanade station around 1am for next week’s commercial run. This is the schedule that will be followed every week,” said a Metro official.

The carrier has to take the rakes to Central Park every weekend because there is no maintenance depot at the Howrah end.

“A basic inspection of the onboard and underslung equipment of rakes can be done at Howrah Maidan to ascertain whether they are in a working condition or not. At Central Park, every component of the rakes, from the brakes to the wheels to the air-conditioning, undergo a detailed audit,” the official said.

A giant pit jack at the depot lifts the rake so the undercarriage can be checked, much like cars are lifted at service centres.


Lack of adequate signage has confused many Metro passengers in the east-west corridor on the first two days of commercial run.

A senior official of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, the implementing agency of the east-west corridor, acknowledged the problem and said it will be rectified soon.

“We have done a survey. We have ordered printing of signage boards. They will be put up at specific spots where they are most needed within a couple of days,” the official said.

A senior Metro official is supposed to visit “specific sites” at Esplanade and Howrah, where the signage problem is most acute.

The platform of the Esplanade station of the north-south (Blue line) Metro is one such area. There is no signage on the platform to guide passengers towards the East-West Metro trains.


The lack of announcements on the direction of the trains are leaving passengers confused at Howrah and Mahakaran stations.

Trains are running on a to-and-fro basis in both tunnels between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade at the moment. Since the Esplanade-Sealdah section is not ready, a train cannot switch tracks.

At the two terminal stations, there is little scope for any confusion because a train arriving at either will inevitably go towards the other end.

But at Howrah and Mahakaran, the two stations in between, passengers on both platforms are not sure which way a train is headed, to Howrah Maidan or Esplanade.

On Friday and Saturday, many passengers on the platforms boarded a train in the wrong direction.

Many others asked passengers inside the train about the direction before boarding it.

There will be no such problem once the full corridor is ready because then, one platform will be for Sector V-bound trains and the other for the trains headed for Howrah Maidan.

“Until then, we will try to have proper announcements to clear the confusion,” said a Metro official.

Last updated on 18.03.24, 05:44 AM

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