New Delhi: The Airport Express Line, of Delhi Metro, that connects the 24.2-kilometre stretch between Connaught Place and Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) is set to open in September 2010.
The Capital to City Airport Terminals (CATs) will enable fast transit to the airport – complete with baggage check-in, issue of boarding pass, and a high-speed train to the airport.
The Delhi Metro Airport Express Line – modelled on London’s Heathrow Express and Hong Kong’s Metro Airport Link – will have only 6 halts on way to the airport and will cover the distance in 20 minutes. As the 2010 Commonwealth Games approach, the Airport Express will be critical in the transportation of athletes and equipment from the Airport to their accommodation and stadiums. Also, the metro line will ensure that the Airport’s pre-paid taxi cab mafia cannot exploit the visitors.
For air travellers, airline and baggage check-in counters will be available at the NDLS, Dhaula Kuan Metro, Shivaji Terminus stations. According to officials, these railway stations will function like mini-versions of airport terminals.
In all, 8 trains having 6 coaches each will be pressed into service.
The trains that run on the Airport Express Line will be different from those on the other metro lines in that the Airport Express Line trains will have a cruising speed of 135 kmph. That will make the Delhi Metro’s Airport Express the fastest way to get to the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
In addition, the Airport Express Line trains offer state-of-the-art facilities, for which the passengers have to pay much less than taxi fares, since Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to keep the train fare at a maximum of Rs 150 till Indira Gandhi International Airport, and an extra Rs 30 to Dwarka.
These trains have cushioned seats with arm-rests for all passengers. For the airport-bound passengers, the Airport Express Line trains offer specially designed overhead compartment to keep hand-baggage as also additional space under seats. Unlike the normal Delhi Metro train coaches, these would have front or rear facing seats . The normal coaches have very few seats to ensure there is enough space for people to stand during rush hours.
All passengers on board the trains will have access to real-time, updated flight information on display boards.
Each coach carries 2 concealed cameras aimed at extra security.
The baggage will be secured in containers and loaded onto the trains at the CATs.
After being offloaded at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Metro station, the baggage will be routed through dedicated tunnel using conveyor belts to the airport terminal’s common baggage-hold area.
Each station on the Capital to City Airport Terminals (CATs) line will have fully-automated access for passengers from the ground to the trains, with bigger lifts and wider escalators.
The CATs will provide for the commuters to park their cars in parking lots and then take a train to the airport.
The Delhi Metro Airport Express trains, which will initially run at a frequency of 10 minutes, are to take longer halts at stations to allow passengers to load their baggage.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has projected that about 42,000 people will use the Airport Express Line service daily.
The metro station at Indira Gandhi International Airport will be built close to the airport’s Terminal 3 and Terminal 4, which are intended to handle domestic as well as international air traffic in 2010.
Direct transit to the terminal’s lobby will be through a tunnel link.
The Airport Express Line is the first such rail line being built on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.
According to the agreement between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the concessionaire, which is a joint venture between Reliance Energy and CAS, a Spanish company, the concessionaire will be responsible for the design and construction of all stations, electrification, telecom, signaling, as well as procurement of rolling stock.
The Spanish firm also will construct a depot near the Dwarka station.
The total cost of the Airport Express Line, which comes to Rs 3,800 crore, will be shared, with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation undertaking the civil construction work.