- Construction in progress for the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line, Feb. 15, 2010.
Delhi’s troubled high-speed airport metro line will reopen Tuesday morning after over six months out of action, but trains will only run at half their maximum speed.
The Airport Metro Express Line was shuttered in July last year due to faults in the bearings supporting the track and with the fastenings keeping it in place.
Later, engineers found that parts of the tunnel sections of the line had significant leaks.
The line, which was built by the state-owned Delhi Metro Rail Corp., and operated by Reliance Infrastructure 500390.BY +0.43%, a private company, will run trains at speeds of 60 kilometers an hour for at least the first week of operation after it reopens at 5.30 a.m. tomorrow.
The express line, which was designed to shuttle passengers at speeds of up to 120 kilometers an hour, travels from the capital’s international airport to the heart of New Delhi.
“With time it will go at 80 kilometers an hour,” said an official at Reliance Infrastructure. “It will take some time to reach 120 kilometers an hour.”
A safety panel from Delhi Metro Rail Corp. will carry out weekly checks on the line to ensure it is operating safely and increase the speed of the trains gradually, the official added.
In a written statement Reliance Infrastructure said: “The line was inspected by Commissioner Metro Rail Safety on 15th and 16th January, 2013 and a formal clearance for commercial operation was received on January 18, 2013.”
Problems with the line, which is the first metro in India built and run as a public-private partnership, meant that trains had never managed to reach top speeds since they started running in February 2011. Tears, cracks and bulges in the bearings supporting the line meant that all 2,150 had to be replaced because of “poor workmanship during construction,” an official report into the closure found.
The closure of the line was initially expected to last two-and-a-half months but it has taken over six months to replace the faulty bearings and pass safety tests.
Reliance Infrastructure, part of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, has blamed Delhi Metro Rail Corp.’s contractors for the fault. Reliance has a 30-year contract to operate the line that was guaranteed for 100 years of operation. Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer for the rail corporation, declined to comment, citing an ongoing arbitration over the matter. Reliance is claiming damages for loss of income due to the closure.