New information is now being released on the state of the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line, which was closed down earlier this month.
Envisaged as a world-class system to transport passengers between New Delhi and Indira Gandhi International Airport's Terminal 3, it has experienced serious structural problems rendering it unusable for the time being. Its reopening, though, should occur in September, officials say.
So, what exactly happened? Officials point to February 2012 when describing the point at which the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line's problems started to emerge.
The line was originally constructed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and, thereafter, operated by Reliance Infrastructure. Both, in February, observed that the clips used to maintain the track's position would break when trains passed over at high speed. Their observations prompted a 40 mph drop in the maximum permitted speeds on the line.
Delhi Airport Express Closure
Next, cracks were discovered in the line support structure and, following a series of high-level discussions, the Delhi Airport Express closure was implemented with effect from 8 July 2012.
It took two years and three months to complete the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line. Observers have commented that this timeframe was quick, compared to those for comparable airport railway extensions.
Over the course of 16 months, the Express Line hosted 70,000 individual train movements, transporting almost seven million passengers.
Delhi Airport Metro Express Line
A media event held on 16 July supplied the latest update on the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line's future. A September re-opening is still planned and the reduced 80 mph top speed rules will still apply, journalists were told. Meantime, intensive design studies are taking place.
"Of 540 bearings that need rectification, 90 were found to have been constructed without following specified design norms", one official - representing the Indian Government - explained in a statement, adding: "Deviations as a result are pronounced."
Not yet known is the cost involved in rectifying the line. Airport International will report further on the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line's future in upcoming News Items.
Image copyright Craigdietrich – courtesy Wikimedia Commons