Airport Metro to reopen Tuesday

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Airport Metro Express line here will resume operations at 5.30 a.m. Tuesday, nearly six months after it was shut down on grounds of safety, officials said Monday.

"The Airport Metro line would resume commercial operations at its regular timing of 5.30 a.m. from Jan 22 (Tuesday)," Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra), which runs the line, said in a statement.

The Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) last week gave clearance certificate to the swanky high-speed line, which took 18 minutes for the 23-km journey from New Delhi Railway Station to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. The same journey by road would take upwards of an hour.

However, now the trip will take more time, as the CMRS has given permission to operate the high-speed line only at 50 kmph.

Before the service's suspension, the trains were running at a speed of 105 kmph.

"The trains would run daily from 5.30 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. at a frequency of 15 minutes, the same before the suspension. We have eight trains. Earlier, we used to ply only four trains, but now due to the restricted speed we might use more trains," an RInfra official told IANS.

The speed would gradually be increased after periodic inspections by the Delhi Metro. The Airport Metro line is a high-speed line, as most Delhi Metro trains run at 30 to 35 kmph.

The CMRS, which conducted a safety inspection Jan 15 and 16, gave a formal clearance for commercial operation of the airport line Jan 18.

As a re-launch offer, passengers can travel on the line at a discounted fare of Rs.30 Tuesday from New Delhi Railway Station to Dwaraka Sector 21, which cost Rs.100 earlier.

"Baggage check-in for national and international flights will start shortly. Other facilities such as cloak rooms, trolleys, porters, radio cabs and internet wi-fi at stations are available," the statement added.

The airport line has also introduced return journey tokens and Sunday/holiday discount tokens while retaining monthly passes for regular commuters.

The Delhi Airport Metro line started its commercial operation in Feb 2011. It is a joint venture between Delhi Metro and Reliance Infra. Operations on the Airport Metro Line were suspended July 8 after some faults were detected in the civil structure of the line.

The Airport Metro, with six stations, ferries over 15,000 people daily. It has ferried 68 lakh passengers in over 70,000 trips in 15 months.