The Kolkata East-West Metro today unveiled an indigenously built prototype coach that boasts of double the speed of the existing rakes, amenities for the differently abled and reduced chances of collision. The sleek, all air-conditioned prototype coach, manufactured by Bengaluru-based BEML Ltd, has in-built features to take a wheel-chair bound person directly inside the compartment, facilitated by platforms with ramps for the differently abled. Chief Civil Engineer of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL), B Dewanji told reporters there will be six coaches in a train, which will run at a maximum speed of 80 km/hr, double the speed limit of 40 km/hr of the existing North-South Metro. "The East-West Metro is going to be safer, more reliable and more comfortable," he said. Trains on this stretch will have a frequency of 2.5 minutes during peak hours. The coaches will be operated by Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) technology from the control room at the KMRC Central Depot at Salt Lake, he said. The driver's role will be limited to overseeing passenger movement and opening and closing of doors. In the event of an emergency, the driver can intervene and chances of collision will be nil, he said. Electrical Engineer Prasenjit Chakraborty said the coaches will be 2.88 metres wide with a total seating capacity of 268 and standing capacity of 1,782.
There will be four CCTVs in different parts of every compartment. Dewanji said KMRCL will invite suggestions from the public and the media on the prototype coach. "The hard features - installed power capacity, structure, bogie, wheel, the automation panel - cannot be altered but we would certainly incorporate any positive suggestions about soft features like the interiors, colour, etc of the coach," he said. "After getting the inputs, we will incorporate the same before the trial run of the coaches by this year," he said, refusing to specify a time frame. To a question, Dewanji said platforms on the East-West Metro will be like a close, compact box, which will give way only when the train arrives. "Till the train arrives, passengers will have no chance to come near the tracks," the chief civil engineer said. The first phase of the East-West was expected to run between Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium on EM Bypass, spanning over 5 km, by June 2018, Managing Director of KMRCL, Satish Kumar had said in July last year. The stretch between Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium is on an elevated corridor, while the one between Salt Lake Stadium and Howrah Maidan (11 km) will be underground. Commercial operations from Sector V to Howrah Maidan will begin from December 2020, Kumar had said.
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