Bengaluru: Namma Metro received the first set of its three-coach trains from BEML on Wednesday for use in Phase-1 of its operations.
“BEML has already begun trials of these new trains, but now BMRCL will conduct vigorous trials for two months. Only the first set of coaches will need safety tests. The remaining will be rolled out every month at a faster pace,” Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George told reporters here.
Mr George said the first set of trains would be used on the line with the most traffic, the East-West Corridor of the Purple Line (Mysuru Road-Baiyappanahalli) and with this the daily ridership of the Metro was expected to double to about eight lakh.
“By June 2019, BEML will send all 150 coaches and the first set will be used once the Commissioner of Rail Safety clears them,” he explained.
While the Detailed Project Report prepared for Phase-1 estimated enough ridership to warrant the use of six-coach trains, the authorities have decided against them.
BMRCL managing director Mahendra Jain said the first coach would be reserved for women once the six-coach trains are rolled out for commercial use.
"From March 1 we are experimenting with reserving the first two entrances of the first coach for women. In all, there are four entrances to each coach. But anyone can choose to sit anywhere," he added.
Meanwhile, Union Minister, Ananth Kumar, who was present on the occasion, said he had asked Railway Minister Goyal and the state government to set up a Bengaluru Railways Infrastructure Development Enterprise Special Purpose Vehicle.
"Karnataka is willing to increase the FAR to 5 to help introduce the suburban rail that could reduce road traffic by 40 per cent," he added.
In response, Minister George said the state government was ready to set up the SPV, but the Rs 1 crore allocated in the Pink Book would not suffice.
He revealed the state would bear the land acquisition costs for the suburban rail. Mr Ananth Kumar later dismissed talk of the Centre disinvesting in BEML.
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