The peculiar case of Airport Metro clips
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Inspection team finds more clips damaged on one track than the other, buildings far from the line have more cracks than those closer
The officials looking to fix the damaged clips on the tracks of Airport Metro are now in a fix. Inspection of the 22.7-km corridor revealed a "first of its kind" technical fault, leaving the analysis "inconclusive".
The inspection found a peculiar pattern to the breaking of clips — one track has more damaged clips than the other. A senior official put the "weird anomaly" in ratio of 9:1.
According to the inspection report, the left track of line towards IGI Airport has more number of damaged clips and the right track of the line coming to New Delhi has more broken clips.
"So far the measurement results using the conventional sensors were inconclusive and inconsistent. The trend in the breakage is very peculiar. The tracks are giving some indications, but no conclusion was drawn. One of the possibility behind such a pattern could be electromagnetic interference," a senior official said.
Investigation also pointed to high speed of trains as a possible reason behind the breakage. "The preliminary findings point out that large incidences of breakage in clips take place when the speed touches its peak. Until the root cause emerges, it would be difficult to run the Metro at high speed," the official said.
The high speed Airport Metro was approved to run at a speed of up to 120 km per hour. The travel time from New Delhi to the airport was 18 minutes. After damage was noted in the bearings, girders and clippings on the line, the Metro service was suspended on July 8.
A committee comprising Voslloh (supplier of rail clips), Rail Once (designer of RHEDA track), Patil Rail (Indian partner of RHEDA), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Research Design and Standards Organisation and concessionaire (Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited) has been formed to look into the problems.
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