NEW DELHI: About a year from now, trains running on Delhi Metro’s Green Line (Inderlok-Brigadier Hoshiar Singh, Bahadurgarh) will stop on the tracks between the Punjabi Bagh and Shivaji Park stations. The passengers will get down and walk to the Punjabi Bagh West station of the Pink Line (Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar). This will be the first interchange facility of its sort in the Delhi Metro network where passengers changing trains will disembark on the viaduct, not a station.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has a knack of coming up with unique engineering solutions when faced with seemingly unbeatable challenges. This interchange facility is a sterling example of that. DMRC came up with the idea of creating platforms on the viaduct and halting trains there after failing at the more conventional methods of facilitating change of trains for passengers.
The Pink Line has a ‘ring’ corridor — a circle across the existing metro corridors, with interchange facilities at 11 locations. The Green Line is the only corridor that the Pink Line crosses but doesn’t connect with, thus depriving commuters of areas like Paschim Vihar, Nangloi, Punjabi Bagh and Madipur of direct connectivity with south Delhi.
DMRC did initially plan an interchange, but the considerable distance of 800 metres between the Pink Line’s Punjabi Bagh West station and the Green Line’s Shivaji Park station required the creation of a foot bridge with travelators. DMRC has erected such links at Rajouri Garden and Dhaula Kuan stations, where the distance between two stations of two corridors is more than 300 metres. A bridge with travelators would have, however, required more land space, a luxury DMRC couldn’t afford in the area.
It was decided then to connect the two corridors by feeder buses, and DMRC planned to hire a firm to operate five 34-seater buses. But this too did not materialise, leaving DMRC with the innovative approach of stopping trains midway on the tracks. The Green Line viaduct will be modified with prefabricated steel platforms above the Punjabi Bagh roundabout.
The scheme, however, has its challenges. “The height difference between the two corridors is 16.7 metres, which we will bridge with extra-large elevators, stairs and ramps,” a DMRC official revealed. “Creating space for the steel platform pillars is also a challenge due to the presence of a flyover and underpass nearby.”
The preliminary work has started and we expect to complete the project by the end of next year,” the official said. “The entire work will be managed without hampering operations on the Green Line.”
The pedestrian passage has been planned on two levels.
Passengers getting down at the steel platforms will access the commodious lift that can hold 26 people. This will enable them to reach a mid-level common area before proceeding to the Pink Line’s Punjabi Bagh West station concourse. There won’t be any ticketing facility there, just embarking and disembarking amenities.