For safe journey, MMRDA triple-checks monorail


On track Authority hopes to commission first phase by mid-2013.

With Mumbai's first monorail line nearing completion, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has kicked off a three-stage certification process to ensure that this mode of transport is safe for the public.

As part of safety checks being observed by MMRDA, which is implementing the Chembur-Wadala monorail corridor, the contractor for the 8.3 km line has started conducting trials.

"The process has already started. We have completed factory acceptance testing for equipment procured for the corridor. The contractor is currently checking the safety from the point of view of signalling, systems, guideway beams and the strength of the civil work," said PRK Murthy, who heads the transport and communications team at MMRDA.

The contractor, a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia's Scomi Engineering, in November conducted the first end-to-end test run of monorail rakes on guideway beams. Since then, the contractor has been running trials to check switchovers, signals and other aspects. The contractor-level checks are likely to go on until March, Murthy said.

After the contractor's safety checks, the operator of Singapore's SMRT Corp will inspect the corridor. SMRT is Singapore's multi-modal mass transit service provider and operates the mass rapid transit and light rail systems there. The company has also provided services for monorail systems in other countries.

"The SMRT team visited the city twice in June last year. They went through the systems and manuals we have used. They have their own methodology for conducting safety checks," Murthy said.

After that, an independent safety auditor appointed by MMRDA will scrutinise the entire monorail system before certifying it as safe for public use. MMRDA is in the process of appointing a former chief commissioner of Railway Safety for the job.

The Chembur-Wadala monorail will be the first phase of the 20-km Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor and is now expected to be commissioned by mid-2013, soon after the safety certification process is complete.

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