Plans to launch the Dalian metro rake on the north-south corridor of Kolkata Metro Railway within the next two to three months have now been put on hold, with Metro officials saying it will take some more time before the rake can be run commercially. This is at a time that Kolkata Metro is facing a shortage of rakes.

Of the five rakes brought from the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, popularly known as Medha rakes, two were rolled out in the month of March. However, after a series of problems occurred in the Medha rakes, one was sent back to the manufacturers in Perambur last month.

The death of a commuter, 66-year-old Sajal Kanjilal, who was electrocuted on the third rail current connector after his hand got caught between the doors of one of the operational Medha rakes at the Park Street station on 13 July led to both rakes being withdrawn from service.

The rake which was involved in the incident is undergoing examination as part of the ongoing high level enquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Eastern Circle.

The other rake is kept idle at the car shed, while the remaining two are yet to be operated commercially. After the withdrawal of the Medha rakes, the only hope for the Metro passengers was the Dalian rake.

Metro officials, last month, had informed about plans to operate the Chinese rake within two to three months.

The plan to launch the Dalian rake which is said to be a compact package of modern amenities was like a blessing to the city metro passengers who have been longing for a safer and more comfortable journey, which they alleged has become difficult in the old fleet.

However, taking a ride in the Dalian rake will still be a distant dream for Metro passengers.

According to Metro officials, the rake, that arrived in the city in March is undergoing an initial series of tests and trials that need to be cleared before being run commercially. The rake, according to Metro officials, is undergoing static load test in which coaches are loaded with sand bags to test the functioning of the rake when it would run with passengers. “After static load test, the rake will undergo a series of tests and trials including oscillation test, riding index test, specific energy test,‘electro-magnetic interference test, magnetic compatibility test,’ to name a few,” informed a Metro official.

“The process however, does not stop here,” said the official. “After the chain of tests and trials, the engineers of the Research Designs and Standards Organisation might also recommend modifications to the manufacturers. The rake will then have to be upgraded with the suggested modifications in China. The remaining 13 rakes can be brought only after the first rake passes the tests,” the official added.