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Dhaka Tribune

Metro rail project running fast despite power outages

Integrated test operation between Uttara and Agargaon to begin on October 1

Update : 15 Oct 2022, 04:45 PM

Integrated test operation of the country’s first metro rail will begin on October 1 with a view to launching the Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 or MRT-6 between Uttara and Agargaon in December this year.

The overall progress of MRT line-6 stands at 81.19% while the progress of part-1 between Uttara and Agargaon is 93.76%.

The prevailing power outages and the government’s plan to cut down power consumption by implementing different measures would not hamper the works, said officials, since it is categorized as an emergency service.

The 20.15km MRT-6 is the country’s first metro rail project, which is being built from the capital’s Uttara third phase to Motijheel at a cost of Tk22,000 crore. The project has been extended to Kamalapur.

Once completed, the metro rail will be able to carry 60,000 people per hour, reducing travel time from Uttara to Motijheel to less than an hour despite having to go through 16 stations. It now takes about two hours to travel the distance on a regular day.

“We have almost done all kinds of functional tests and performance tests of the engine, coach and other equipment of the metro rail. Now we are preparing to begin integrated test operations on October 1,” said MAN Siddique, managing director of the Dhaka Mass Transit Development Company (DMTCL), the implementing and operating authority.

“Before launching the metro rail service in December between Uttara and Agargaon, we will check whether all the components synchronize properly since it is an automatic operation system,” he added.

For example, once a train starts, the sensor system will operate automatically. If a train goes slowly for a moment for any reason, all the rear trains will automatically slow down. Once a train arrives at a station, the doors will open automatically following an announcement. 

Besides, the metro rail will have an automatic “train protection system” to control its movement.

According to officials, the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), which consists of wires over the rail tracks, has already been installed between Uttara and Matijeel. The Operational Control Center (OCC) has also been installed.

Besides, the authorities have already installed a 5G network for operating the metro rail system automatically.   

“We have more than two months in hand to complete the integrated test operations since the final operations will begin in December. Usually, an integrated test operation takes 15-30 days to check everything,” said MAN Siddique.

In response to a query, he said: “We are optimistic about completing the integrated test run by one month.”

Loadshedding will not affect metro rail

The metro rail authorities have confirmed that it remains unaffected by the ongoing power outages.

The metro rail services are part of priority electricity users which are critical to the country, and therefore cannot be part of the planned outages.

Speaking at the DMTCL head office in Dhaka, MAN Siddique confirmed the metro rail’s status as a priority service.

“We have a written agreement with the Power Division for the supply of uninterrupted electricity. Loadshedding will not affect any activities of the metro rail project,” he added.

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