Kolkata’s metro is all set to get a much-needed modern boost! New rakes, outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art technology, are all part of the scheduled plan of debuting the East-West Metro this year.
The rakes are being manufactured by Bengaluru-based BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited). There will be six coaches, and some of the latest features include push-button start and stop, advanced automation, track-synced safe signalling and a remote operation hub, that operates like an ATC tower of an airport.
Unlike current Kolkata Metro rakes, that have a driver and a guard each, these new trains on the East-West route, will have drivers only. Additionally, there will be platform and train cameras, to assist the drivers, who can close the doors with the touch of a button, once all passengers have boarded. All facilities point toward reducing manual intervention to a minimum.
The fundamental operative difference between the current rakes and the new rakes is that the old rakes have a lever, which brings the engine to life and makes the rake move. The lever is put to neutral, once the train reaches optimum speed, and the train approaches a station, the lever is pulled again, making it halt. New rakes ensure the ride is entirely automated, the only thing the driver needs to do, is to start the train and close the doors.
The East-West Metro will have an operations control centre, like the ATC of an airport. The four surveillance cameras in each compartment can be monitored in real time at the control centre. Platform cameras will also send a live feed to the centre. Personnel at this hub will track train movement on a radar-like screen and will be in touch with the driver through voice communication.
The East-West Metro will have a new communication-based train control and signalling system, that uses telecommunication technology. This is supposed to be more precise, and an automated system with no signal posts or fixed blocks mean that a train will pick up the signal from the track on which it runs. Only when the train moves, does that portion of the track become available for the next one.
Automatic signalling systems, central command hubs, an emergency braking system, and a host of new features, are sure to make the new East-West Metro line a benchmark in urban commute.