DMRC will introduce virtual signals on the Delhi Metro Blue Line and subsequently on the Delhi Metro Red Line Rithala-Shaheed Sthal New Bus Adda as well as Delhi Metro Yellow Line Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre.
Big news for Delhi Metro commuters! Snags, delays and slow-moving trains on the Delhi Metro Blue Line between Dwarka-Noida Electronic City are often travel painpoints for Delhi Metro commuters. However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will soon put an end to these troubles and the Delhi Metro Blue Line network will become smoother. For this, the metro operator is upgrading the signalling system and will introduce the concept of ‘virtual signals’ for reducing train delays upto 80 per cent. A DMRC spokesperson told Financial Express Online that delays will be reduced by 80 per cent as the glitches on the operational network in the 14-year old network of the Delhi Metro Blue Line will be identified by virtual signal mechanism.
Why is Delhi Metro Blue plagued with frequent snags?
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- The Delhi Metro Blue Line Dwarka-Noida Electronic City corridor is the longest line of the Delhi Metro network, spanning across a length of 65.5 km, with a footfall as many as 16 lakh commuters on a daily basis. Hence, on this corridor, usually a minor glitch affects the metro operations on the entire corridor. Also, the slightest of train delays causes a lot of overcrowding, especially during peak hours. To solve this problem, DMRC is upgrading the signalling system.
- The present centralised viewing, as well as the monitoring system of the Delhi Metro Blue Line corridor at the operation control centre (OCC) in Metro Bhawan, is more than 14 years old. Earlier, the provision of ‘hot redundancy’ or a system backup did not exist since the entire metro network was small and had only a few interchange stations. Sometimes, this leads to the system losing the track of the train identification numbers, interlocking glitches as well as point flash.
- From the signalling point of view, the Delhi Metro Blue Line corridor is divided between the ‘interlocking sections’. This is the portion between the metro stations where the trains can change the tracks. For example, both Laxmi Nagar and Anand Vihar stations are interlocking stations and the section on the route between them, comprising three stations, namely, Nirman Vihar, Preet Vihar and Karkardooma becomes one interlocking section.
- A signalling snag on the metro route at any point in such an interlocking section, disrupts the entire stretch on the corridor. This affects the movement as the train operators need to acquire the target speeds from each metro station on the manual mode. For the safety of passengers, the speed is restricted to 20-25 km per hour, but it causes the bunching of metro trains, leading to a cascading effect on the entire metro corridor.
How will DMRC’s ‘virtual signalling’ solve this problem?
- The new initiative of virtual signalling aims to keep the metro trains operating at the normal speed of 35-37 km per hour, except for a distance of around 500 metres from the affected are on the corridor.
- The virtual signal system is an intermediate entry and exit location which is displayed on the signalling monitor at the control centre. The system can be utilised, wherever needed, in order to divide the routes between any two fixed signals. The virtual one is not a physical signal and only controls the trains having automatic train protection.
- This system could be in place by the end of the year 2021 as the testing and commissioning of the signalling mechanism can be done only in a short period of the non-revenue hours without affecting the existing signalling system on the network
When the Delhi Metro Blue Line operations started in the year 2005, technology constraints arose due to the earlier technology at the control centre. Hence, for increasing the capacity during system failures, DMRC will introduce virtual signals on the Delhi Metro Blue Line and subsequently on the Delhi Metro Red Line Rithala-Shaheed Sthal New Bus Adda as well as Delhi Metro Yellow Line Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre. The corridors of Delhi Metro Phase II and Delhi Metro Phase III adopted the virtual signalling system at the time of commissioning itself.
According to DMRC, apart from easing the train movement during a signalling glitch, the focus of the virtual signals would be to ensure that metro trains reach the nearest interchange system at a faster pace. For example, at the Karkardooma interchange station in the Laxmi Nagar-Anand Vihar interlocking section on Delhi Metro Blue Line, commuters other than those changing the metro, will also have the option of interchanging to another corridor, which is not affected by a snag. Moreover, the announcements made in the metro trains will also help the commuters for making their own decisions.