As the countdown for the inauguration of the first phase of East- West Metro is on, metro authorities are pulling out all stops to ensure that the latest addition to the fleet of underground transport rolls out in a clock like manner. The inauguration of six stations namely Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium, is to be done by union railway minister Piyush Goyal.

Although the rakes will be flagged off on 13 February from Sector V during the inaugural ceremony, the metro services in the first phase of Line-II, however, will be open to public from the next day, 14 February, according to sources. From conducting mock runs, setting up of stage, to making other preparations for the inaugural ceremony, the metro officials are putting their best efforts to keep up to the importance of the forthcoming event , which will be another benchmark in the history of city’s metro railway.

The metro officials are leaving no stones unturned to fulfil the expectations of the commuters who are equally excited about the event. The six stations of the first phase of East-West Metro, awaiting the maiden journey soon, include several amenities that are amiss in the existing north-south metro. Concave mirrors at two ends of the platforms, CCTV cameras, communication system installed at the stations for contacting the control room during emergency, improved air conditioning system, are part of the state-of- the-art first phase of Line-II, which is occupying pride of place at Salt Lake.

Over and above these facilities, the first phase of East- West Metro is a compact package of most modern amenities and is being expected to address the grievances of the city commuters during its commercial run. Notably, the project, since its inception has faced many hurdles in the last 12 years. Rehabilitating residents of Duttabad whose houses were obstructing the construction of metro in the area and land acquisition for building the elevated stretch, the first phase of Line-II has overcome several hurdles in the past before reaching to a final date of inauguration this time.

The upgradation of signalling system, according to an official, however, was one of the most challengeable phases of the project. “A major change was adopted when the signalling system was changed to ‘Communication Based Train Control’ (CBTC) System from ‘Continuous Automatic Train Control’ (CATC) System,” claimed an official.

“In the CATC system, the timely gap between two trains was 2 minutes and thirty seconds. Under CATC, the frequency of the trains could not be brought below 2 minutes and 30 seconds, as the entire thing was designed based on this. In the year 2016-17, the signalling system was changed to CBTC, which is state-of- theart signalling system being used in different parts of the world. By upgrading the system into CBTC, the frequency was brought down to 90 seconds, thus enhancing the utilisation of the rakes, by a considerable percentage. This was one of the most difficult phases that changed the entire vision of the project,” he added.