By Ashraf Padanna
Gulf Times Correspondent
French rail transport major Alstom is set to supply its first trainsets to the Kochi Metro Rail next month for the trial run.
Metro operator KMR Ltd insists that its contract workers are on 24X7 duty and commercial operations will begin in June.
If the public sector company meets the deadline, this would be a record of sorts.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone in September 2012 while Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the groundbreaking in June 2013, setting an ambitious target of June 2016 to run the train.
The metro would link Aluva to Kochi, passing through the industrial and education hub of Kalamassery and the shopping centre of Edappally, in the first phase.
It will then run to Thripunithura on the southeastern suburbs, and another link from Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium will connect the software hub of Kakkanad on the eastern side where Dubai’s Telecom is building its second offshore hub of SmartCity.
Track laying on the overhead girders on the busy roads is progressing at a fast pace. Officials said KMRL managing director Elias George would visit Alstom’s Sri City plant in Andhra Pradesh to finalise delivery of the trainsets this week.
The first set is expected to reach here by mid-December, and the trial run will start in a couple of months. The coaches are 22-metre long and 2.5-metre wide.
It will have a height of two metres for the comfort of commuters. Three coaches are disabled-friendly and soundproof. Alstom received the orders for 25 sets of trains last year.
The metro was designed by Alstom’s design and styling unit in Saint-Ouen in collaboration with TATA Elxsi.
Each train is of three cars and has an open gangway allowing passengers to walk from one end of the train to the other.
A train has 136 seats per car in a linear seating arrangement optimising transport capacity to 975 passengers per car.
There are priority seats for the elderly and pregnant women. Persons with reduced mobility and wheelchair users will be able to use dedicated areas in the metro car while commuting.
The trial run will be held on the 10-km Muttom-Palarivattom track in the first week of February.
Alstom has also offered some value additions like unmanned operation. The project will be completed in July 2017.
The metro authorities have simultaneously started works on revamped city roads and footways.
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