Kolkata Metro is planning to rollout a Chinese rake, trials of which are currently being conducted, an official said today, insisting that the move is aimed at phasing out its old fleet.
Five new rakes made by the Integral Coach Factory, Perumbur, were made operational last year by the Metro Railway -- which on an average runs 22 to 24 trains daily on the 27.2 -km-long Noapara-Kavi Subhash route -- she said.
"In all, the Kolkata Metro had ordered 40 air-conditioned rakes from different manufacturers to augment its services. While 16 are from ICF, 14 are from China's CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co and the rest from CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Company, also in China," the official said.
Delivery from Chinese manufacturer Dalian has begun, with the first one arriving late last year.
"A team of experts from Dalian is working with engineers from Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and the Metro Railway here for smooth integration of the new rake into the system," the official explained.
Trial runs are being conducted two to three days every week, after commercial services end at night, she said.
Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said all aspects of the new rakes, equipped with the latest technology, have to be looked into before it was integrated into the system.
The new rake will be operational only after it gets a nod from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).
The country's first underground mass transit system, which continues to run old, non-air conditioned rakes that it had acquired in 1984, introduced five indigenously developed rakes last year, providing some relief to commuters.
"After some teething problems in the initial stages, which have been addressed, these home-made rakes have now smoothly integrated into the system, the official said.
Ms Banerjee said that the Kolkata Metro authorities plan to run only air-conditioned coaches by the end of 2020.
"Since it is winter now, some non-A/C rakes are being run along with the air-conditioned ones, but by the end of 2020, we plan to run only A/C coaches," she added.