The Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME) is a Delhi Metro line from New Delhi Metro Station to Dwarka Sector 21, linking the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The line, also known as the Orange line was opened on 23 February 2011 after missing four previously set deadlines. It was built at a cost of ₹57 billion, of which Reliance Infra paid ₹28.85 billion (U$580m), Reliance Infra will also pay fees on a Revenue-share model
The total length of the line is 22.7 km, of which 15.7 km is underground and 7 km, from Buddha Jayanti Park to Mahipalpur, is elevated. The trains travel at up to 135 km/h, instead of up to 80 km/h as on the rest of the metro. Travel time is 19 minutes from New Delhi to the Airport's terminal 3, T3.
Service was suspended from 7 July 2012 to 22 January 2013 due to technical problems. After reopening, the speed was cut to only 50 km/hr, extending the journey time from the airport to New Delhi Station to over 40 minutes. On 27 June 2013 Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. announced to DMRC that they are unable to operate the line beyond 30 June 2013. Following this, DMRC took over operations of Airport Express line from 1 July 2013 with an operations and maintenance team of 100 officials to handle the line. DMRC reinstated the 80 km/hr speeds on the line in mid-2014. In January 2015, DMRC reported that the Airport Metro has recorded about 30 per cent rise in its ridership following the fare reduction of up to 40% in last July.
The first tenders for line construction were awarded in September 2007. On 23 Jan 2008, the DMRC awarded a 30-year build-operate-transfer PPP contract to the Reliance Energy-CAF consortium. However, DMRC paid for half of the construction cost and executed tunneling and civil works.
The elevated section of the Airport Express Line was built over eight busy roads which carry a heavy volume of traffic, including the Ring Road, National Highway 8, Ridge Road and Sardar Patel Marg.
Originally scheduled to open by 31 August 2010, well in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the line finally opened on 23 February 2011 at 2 pm after missing four previously set deadlines. The DMRC fined Reliance Infra ₹3750,000 every day from 30 September, and ₹7.5 million every day from 31 October for repeatedly missing the deadlines. The Aerocity and Dhaula Kuan stations opened on 15 August 2011.
Services were suspended on 8 July 2012 due to a series of technical problems, including cracks in the girders, the iron beams that support the tracks; dislocated bearings that support the train; defective tracks and water seepage in tunnels. The Urban Development Ministry subsequently disclosed that several clips in the underground section have been seriously damaged and it will take at least 5 months to rectify the problem. A joint inspection by Delhi Metro and Reliance Infrastructure team has revealed that 540 bearings need rectification and some girders which have cracked also need to be recast.
The line reopened on 23 January 2013, operating at a reduced speed of 50 km/hr. The speed was gradually increased after inspections by the DMRC and other experts. At the reduced speed the time travel from New Delhi Metro Station to Airport was around 40–50 minutes. In the future it may be possible to reinstate original targeted speeds of 105 km/h if safe operation can be ensured.
At present the line supports a speed of 80 km/hr providing for a 19-minute journey from New Delhi station to the Airport station.
While it was initially planned to run trains 24 hours a day with a frequency of 10 minutes, train services currently operate from 4:45 am to 11:30 pm, with a 15-minute frequency.
While originally expected to carry 42,000 people daily by 2011 as per detailed project report prepared by DMRC, actual ridership has hovered around 20,000. In recent years due to several initiative and fare reduction by the DMRC ridership crosses 50,000 per day.
The fare for commuting has been fixed at ₹60 (92¢ US) for travel from New Delhi station to IGI Airport and ₹60 (92¢ US) for commuting from New Delhi to Dwarka Sector 21. There are also passes available for 30 and 45 trips costing ₹1,300 (US$20) and ₹1,600 (US$25) respectively for travelling from New Delhi to IGI Airport. This keeps the per trip cost at ₹43.33 (66¢ US) and ₹35.55 (54¢ US) respectively and are valid for one calendar month. There are other such passes available for different origin destination combinations. Stored Value cards are also on offer which will give 10% discount on all the trips. Current airport express fares are cheaper than any other modes of transport to reach airport.
Delhi Airport Metro Express
All the six metro stations on the line are known as City Airport Terminals (CATs). They are fitted with state-of-the-art gadgets like explosive detectors, large x-ray baggage scanners, under vehicle scanners, quick reaction teams and dog squads to ensure full security of commuters and baggage alike. The stations have full-height platform screen doors to prevent untoward incidents and to provide better air conditioning. All the stations are secured with a network of CCTV cameras which relays live images to the station control room, security control room and operations control centre. The security of the airport line is handled by Central Industrial Security Force who also handles the safety of all the stations of DMRC.
All the stations are disabled friendly so that people on wheelchairs can access them with facilities such as stations with ramps having a mild slope leading to elevators, the elevators are specially designed for the convenience of physically challenged people and capable of carrying stretchers, help call points are located at various points of stations and trains so that in case of any emergency, a disabled person can seek help by just pressing the call buttons. The elevators can be used by visually impaired persons with the elevator buttons having Braille letters.
|1||New Delhi station||नई दिल्ली||23 February 2011||Indian Railways-New Delhi Railway Station
and Yellow Line
|2||Shivaji Stadium||शिवाजी स्टेडियम||23 February 2011||None||Underground|
|3||Dhaula Kuan||धौला कुआँ||15 August 2011||Pink Line (Under Construction)||Elevated|
|4||Delhi Aerocity||दिल्ली एरोसिटी||15 August 2011||Terminal 1 via Feeder Bus||Underground|
|5||Airport||विमानपत्तन||23 February 2011||Airport Terminal 3||Underground|
|6||Dwarka Sector 21||द्वारका सेक्टर २१||23 February 2011||Blue Line||Underground||
As of now there are no plans to extend the Orange line as the city of Gurgaon is already well connected to Delhi via the Yellow Line. The city is also served by Rapid Metro that caters to the needs of Gurgaon and is in turn connected to Delhi Metro too. The line would be extended till Dwarka Sector 25, where a convention centre would be coming up in a few years.
Siemens Mobility is providing signalling, power transmission, and baggage handling system enabling passengers to check in with baggage at the New Delhi Railway Station and Shivaji Stadium, with 1200 passengers per hour capacity. The €34 million project was expected to be completed by 2010 in time for the Commonwealth games but it did not manage to meet the deadline. Alcatel is supplying the communications systems. Indra Sistemas is providing the ticket machines. Faiveley is providing the platform screen doors. Bluestar and Honeywell is the control and automation provider for Station Management System (SMS). Bluestar is the main BEMS system provider.
The line will be the first line in the country to be mapped on Geographic Information System to enhance safety, maintenance and traffic regulation and will help in mobilising emergency services in case of an accident.
Eight six-car trains supplied by CAF Beasain were imported from Spain. CAF holds 5% equity in the DAME project and Reliance Infrastructure holds the remaining 95%. The trains on this line are of a premium standard and have in-built noise reduction features for a noise-free ride with padded fabric seats. The coaches are equipped with LCD screens for entertainment of the passengers and also provide flight information for convenience of air travellers. The trains are fitted with an event recorder which can withstand high levels of temperature and impact and the wheels have flange lubrication system for less noise and better riding comfort.
To ensure safety, the tracks are fitted with RHEDA-2000 signalling technology, which theoretically allows trains to travel at up to 350 km/h (nearly three times the actual maximum speed of current trains). The entire 22.7 km route is ballast-less track, which costs 40–50% more than normal train tracks, but does not take longer to lay than traditional tracks. The rails rest on rubber pads on the concrete sleepers for less noise.
The 7 km elevated section from Buddha Jayanti Park to Mahipalpur has been built with 25 m long girders for the first time in India. The 504 girders weigh 120 tons each and were cast in Mahipalpur and transported on 35 m long trailers with 64 tyres.
The line has the first check in facility outside an airport in South Asia.
Passengers flying with Air India, vistara and Jet Airways which use T3 terminal as base of operations can now check in at the New Delhi Metro Station. Check can be done anytime before 6 hours to 2 and half hours before departure time. Passengers flying for international flights also started checking in as this facility started from 22 February 2012.
The Airport Express line introduced WiFi services at all six stations along the route on 13 January 2012. It was the first line of the Delhi Metro to provide WiFi services. Connectivity inside metro trains travelling on the route is expected in the future. The WiFi service is provided by YOU Broadband India Limited.
The post office will have all basic postal services like speed post, e-post, express parcel, registered post, postal stamps and revenue stamps on all working days from 10 am to 4 pm.
Both commuters and non-commuters can avail the benefit of this postal service as the counter is located at the non paid area of New Delhi metro station's concourse level.
Ever since Shah Rukh Khan boarded the Delhi Airport Metro Express line to promote "Ra.One", the new line has become the cynosure of most Bollywood promotions in the capital. Actor Abhishek Bachchan, along with co-stars Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh headed to the Airport line to promote his movie "Players" in Delhi, and also attempted to break a safe while travelling from one station of the Airport line to another.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Delhi Metro.|