The final service trial run of the Kochi Metro began earlier Wednesday paving way for commercial operations to begin soon.
The trials have begun after the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety gave clearance certificate to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), that helms the project, and considered to be the fastest to get safety clearance compared to other metro projects in the country. The metro’s inauguration has not been announced keeping in mind prime minister Narendra Modi’s dates, said a KMRL official.
The metro train project in Kochi is the first in Kerala and will span 13 kilometres in the first phase from Aluva to Palarivattom. Fourteen more stations will come up in the second phase in which the train will further travel to Thripunithura coursing through some of the busiest intersections in the city. Extensions to the international airport in Nedumbassery, that falls outside city limits, and to Kakkanad, home to several IT firms, are also planned in subsequent phases.
The project, which has seen five years to see the light of day, will significantly cut travel time for a commuter within the city and will solve larger traffic and pollution problems in Kochi. The metro will also be an integration platform with the ferry and bus systems to provide seamless travel options for residents.
The metro trial run began at 6 am from Aluva and will conclude at 9:30 pm today. Four rakes of trains will make a total of 142 trips through the day and will stop at every station to test signal and safety limits.
The metro project was expected to be thrown open to the public on November 1 last year, the day of formation of Kerala. But the deadline could not be met. The project, built on a PPP model between the state and the Centre, had DMRC as the implementation agency and E Sreedharan as the principal advisor to the DMRC. The coaches for the train were ‘made in India’ by Alstom, a French company at the Sri City facility in Andhra Pradesh.