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Trial-error cloud on East-West schedule

The trial on Wednesday was conducted from 11am to 4pm and on Thursday, the trial will be conducted from 3pm.
A rake of the East-West Metro undergoes trial

Sanjay Mandal   |   Calcutta   |   Published 30.10.19, 08:57 PM


Train vanishing from the screen in the control centre’s monitor

Emergency brakes getting activated automatically

Train doors at times not being aligned with the platform screen doors

Problems such as these were encountered during the trial for the first phase of East-West Metro, as a result of which the authorities are yet to announce when the project will be operational.

“The problems have reduced but some are still there and we need more trials before the first phase can be commissioned,” said a Metro official.

The entire East-West corridor spans 16.5km, between Salt Lake Sector V and Howrah Maidan. In the first phase, trains will run 5.5km, between the Sector V and Salt Lake stadium stations.

The project is being implemented by the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation but the trains will be run by Metro Railway, which operates the north-south link.

The trial on Wednesday was conducted from 11am to 4pm. Thursday’s trial will start at 3pm.

“We will find out whether the CCTV footage captured in the evening is properly visible. We also need to find out whether images in the convex mirrors (that will help drivers ascertain whether all passengers have boarded the train) are properly visible,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

“Most of the problems detected have been addressed and the drivers are now familiar with the new system. The date of commissioning will be decided after modifications are carried out based on trial reports,” she said.

Sources said the screen of the monitor in the control centre had gone blank at least once during the earlier trial.

The East-West Metro has an operation control centre that will function like the air traffic control of an airport. It will constantly monitor the movement of trains and keep in touch with the drivers through an advanced communication system.

Each train compartment has four surveillance cameras, whose feed will be monitored real-time by officials at the control centre.

The cameras set up on the platforms will also send live feed.

Personnel in the hub will track the movements of all trains on the route on a radar-like screen.

Another problem encountered during the earlier trial was that the emergency brakes of the rake suddenly got activated, causing the train to stop.

“The drivers said they did not apply the brakes. This seems to be a teething trouble,” said an official.

Drivers involved in the trial had also reported that they had at times failed to align the train’s doors with those of the platform screen.

“That problem remains but the time taken to sort it out has come down. It will need some more practice before the drivers can align the two sets of doors perfectly,” said an official.

One official said they were planning trials on evacuation of passengers between two stations.

The Metro authorities were initially hoping to make the first phase operational before Durga Puja. But the teething troubles and the subsidence in Bowbazar pushed back the schedule.

The machine boring a tunnel of East-West Metro had hit a giant acquifer in Bowbazar on August 31. Water from the acquifer entered the tunnel, triggering subsidence.

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