On this past Saturday, the Kochi Metro Rail held its first official test run at the Muttom Depot. The train was flagged off on the 975 m test track by Oommen Chandy, Kerala’s Chief Minister amidst MLAs and other government officials who turned up to get their photos taken and be noticed prior to the upcoming Legislative Assembly elections in April/May this year. Besides them, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation which in 2013 signed an agreement to execute the project was represented by E. Sreedharan, Principal Advisor to DMRC and Mangu Singh, DMRC’s Managing Director.
Here’s a brilliant video of the run that was captured by a drone which I had earlier shared on Twitter, but am doing so again for those you who aren’t on it or don’t follow me:
Now let’s get down to the details:
1. This was not the first test run on the test track. The first run in fact took place a couple days earlier on January 21, 11 days after the Alstom built train (see images) was brought to the depot from the Sri City plant.
2. Everyone closely involved with the project knows that actual trial runs take place on the main-line on which the metro will run commercial services. That’s when the interaction of the train with the civil structure is monitored at different speeds and, among other tests, its signalling system is rigorously tested. So this little official run is really nothing but farce as far the project goes, and shouldn’t be counted as some sort of a milestone. Unfortunately, I already see this event being used on social media to compare with metro systems in other parts of the country.
3. At the ceremony, CM Oommen Chandy enthusiastically declared:
Today is the 958 day and there are 137 days left for works to get over. This much could be achieved thanks to the personal involvement of India’s metro man, E. Sreedharan. Every effort will be made to commission the project on Kerala Formation Day, though June 2017 is the deadline as per the agreement.
The number of days left to commission the project are insignificant as operations will not be able to start in June when the count-down ends. However, I am quite glad to see the CM acknowledging the slight delay in the project which can be expected to take place in big projects like this. Even if the project is commissioned on November 1 (Kerala Formation Day) as he claims, then the metro will initially run operations only on a 14 km stretch between Aluva (northern terminal) and Palarivattom. The rest of the 25.612 km line (see project info & map) from Palarivattom to Pettah is under different stages of construction and will open in 2017.
For more updates on Kochi’s Metro, check out the Kochi section of the The Metro Rail Guy!