Kolkata Metro Railway to start trial run of trains for maintenance

The Metro Railway had earlier said that it's planning to
Kolkata Metro Railway will start trial runs of trains for maintenance of its rolling stock, signalling systems and other facilities from Thursday to keep them ready as and when services are allowed to be restarted, news agency PTI reported. The metro railway will abide by guidelines issued by the Centre for resumption.

Since the rakes have been idling for over two months owing to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic-related lockdown, the trains will be run along the Noapara-Kavi Subhash north-south alignment for servicing and maintenance, the official said.

Maintenance staff will travel by these trains and get down at every station for keeping all the systems in working condition, so as to keep the Metro Railway ready for recommencing services as and when permission is given by the Government of India, the official said.

"Trial of rolling stock and assets will be done from Thursday since the trains have not been run for over two months," the official said. All the rakes will be run as part of the trial beginning Thursday, the official said.

The Metro Railway had earlier said that it's planning to "drastically" reduce the number of passengers in its trains once it resumes operations to ensure strict adherence to social distancing norms. This may lead to a reduced number of passengers to be allowed to travel in the Metro Railway, which plays an important role in the city's public transportation system, in order to adhere to safety norms.

Preparations have begun for restarting metro services in the city with stress on maintaining social distancing at stations and inside the trains.

"In order to ensure that trains are not crowded and passengers maintain social distancing norms inside coaches, the metro railway, which normally carries 6 to 6.5 lakh people on a weekday, may ferry just one-third of the usual number. We plan to drastically reduce the number of passengers to avoid crowding and discourage non-essential travel," Kolkata metro railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee told PTI.

Movement of passengers will be regulated at entry points as well as at smart gates. Rules and regulations will have to be followed for safety of passengers, even if that leads to a substantial dip in revenue for the state-run transporter.

Passengers will be urged to use smart cards instead of tokens since it changes hands several times in a day and can be a source of contamination. The number of ticket counters will also be reduced to maintain a gap between queues.

The metro authorities, however, expect footfalls to be low once it resumes services as schools and colleges are closed, and government offices are functioning with reduced staff. Metro railway officials will also hold discussions with the state government before recommencing services as there are many red zones through which the north-south alignment passes.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel