MARCH 31 is due to see the start of revenue service on the third section of Delhi Metro Line 1, following energisation of the overhead line for test running on March 8. At the same time, the number of trains in operation will be increased from seven to 16, allowing services to run at 6min intervals during peak hours.

Delhi Metro Rail Corp originally expected to open the 8·8 km elevated section from Inderlok (formerly Tri Nagar) to Rohini and Rithala in June, but it has been completed ahead of schedule. With eight stations, the northwestern extension will bring the operational length of Line 1 to 23 km.

The first 8·3 km from Shahdara to Tis Hazari opened in December 2002 and the next 4·5 km to Tri Nagar on October 4 2003 (RG 10.03 p614). At present the line is carrying 80000 passengers per day with a peak-hour headway of 8min. Traffic is expected to double with the opening of the next stage which serves heavily-populated residential areas.

DMRC expects to inaugurate the northernmost 4 km of underground Line 2 between Vishwa Vidyalaya and the interchange to Line 1 at Kashmere Gate by the end of this year and the remaining 7 km to Central Secretariat in June 2005.

Work is also getting underway on both the elevated and underground sections of Line 3, which will run from Barakhamba Road to Dwarka, replacing a proposed branch of Line 1 from Tri Nagar to Nangloi. DMRC expects to open the first 5·4 km from Barakhamba Road to Kirti Nagar in June 2005, including an interchange with Line 2 at Connaught Place. The remaining 20·9 km would open in September 2005, bringing the length of the network to 68·3 km.