After many breached deadlines, the Delhi Metro’s ‘Heritage Line’ from ITO to Kashmere Gate is finally set to open by next month. DMRC officials say that they have applied for the safety inspection of the line to the Commissioner Metro Rail Safety (CMRS).
“Once the inspection is done and we get the go ahead, we will start operations on the line. It will certainly be thrown open to the public by the next month,” said a senior Metro official.
The 5.17 km-long line, which is entirety underground, will connect four heritage stations including — Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate, Lal Quila, and Kashmere Gate. Delhi Metro officials said that the opening of the line will bring respite to commuters, as the overall frequency of trains will improve. Besides, reaching Old Delhi will not be a hassle anymore.
The corridor is an extension of the Delhi Metro’s Violet Line — Escorts Mujesar (Faridabad) to ITO.
“Once the line is open, the operational constraints won’t be there, as trains will go directly to Kashmere Gate. So far, the frequency was low, as initially ITO was not supposed to be the originating station for the trains. But it was opened to public early, as it was a busy area and the rest of the line was not ready by then,” the official said.
Delhi commuters welcomed the move. Anisha Agarwal, a commuter said, “At present the frequency is very low at ITO. At times there is a gap of 15 to 20 minutes for the next train to come and it becomes too crowded. We need the new line to open soon.”
The corridor, which was slated to open by December 2015, was postponed to October 2016 and later to February this year. However, according to officials, the delay was because of multiple challenges that cropped up from the beginning, since these were heritage areas.
“Earlier, it took some time to get approvals from all heritage committees to start work. Later in October, construction work was stopped for a while because of pollution-control measures in which our machinery and labour had to be removed,” said the official.