This week, the Delhi Metro is likely to make a major foray into the Walled City of the national capital, the Mughal seat of power, with the launch of the ITO-Kashmere Gate ‘Heritage’ Line. The two-day safety inspection of the 5.17-km-long section, which has three stations — Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort — began here today and the DMRC authorities are hopeful of getting a clearance soon. A Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official said: “The line is likely to be thrown open this week provided no major issues are red-flagged during the safety inspection.” The new line, which is essentially an extension of the Violet Line that runs between Faridabad and ITO presently, will take considerable load off the Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar stations of Yellow Line.
Once the section is launched, residents of old Delhi, made up of areas in and around the Mughal seat of power ‘Shahjahanabad’, will have direct access to commercial centres such as Connaught Place, Janpath, offices in Central Secretariat, and the satellite town of Faridabad. ‘Shahjahanabad’, with the Red Fort as its crowning glory, was founded by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the mid 17th century. The three stations of this line, all underground, have been designed in accordance with the heritage of the area to provide glimpses of its rich past and vibrant present.
The DMRC had approached the commission for railway safety (CMRS), the nodal body that deals with matters pertaining to safety of rail travel and train operations in the country, for the inspection of the line in March. The DMRC has also submitted papers to the ISA (independent safety assessor) for safety certification of signalling systems of the section, where trial runs of trains had begun last August.
CMRS declares any corridor fit for commercial operations after taking several civil and engineering aspects into consideration. DMRC chief Mangu Singh had said the line was well on course for launch last December but a labor crunch triggered by a ban on construction and demolition activities and demonetisation led to the delay.