By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI – With a capacity to accommodate 48 trains at any given time, Al Qusais Depot is not only the largest of the three depots that serve the Dubai Metro, but is also one of the most advanced in the world.
Fully air-conditioned, the depot is divided into three main buildings — a stabiling shed, a Light Repair Workshop and a Heavy Repair Workshop. Apart from this, there is also a test track of more than one kilometre and a fully automatic washing shed.
The Green Line, which has been in operation for almost five months now, is served by 17 trains on a daily basis depending on the level of demand. There are 18 more trains parked at the Al Qusais Depot, ready for operation on either of the lines.
At a particular time on a given day, 10 trains operate on the Green Line, two are spare on the sidetracks ready for an emergency, while three undergo tests at the maintenance yard. “We keep the balance in terms of mileage among the trains, the system makes sure that every train that is in use gets it share of load, it never lets one train run continuously while the other is idle,” said Ali Abdul Qader, Director of Metro Maintenance, while on an exclusive trip around Al Qusais depot. Importantly, the trains can be switched from the Red Line to the Green Line and vice versa at the Union Square station where there is a link.
The 79 trains that are currently available for use are shifted from one line to another depending on the situation and demand. However, the smart system keeps track of every train and makes sure every train gets an equal share of the load.
Though Al Qusais Depot is different in layout and bigger in area than the other two depots that serve the Red Line, there is not much difference in terms of technology being used in the workshops to service and repair the trains.
“Dubai Metro uses the latest technology for all its operations, be it the Red Line or Green Line, it’s the same project in two phases. The software that is being used for metro operations and maintenance is the latest and is frequently updated,” he added. There are five levels of maintenance that a train goes through. Levels one to four are undertaken at the Light Repair Workshop (LRW), while the Heavy Repair Workshop (HRV) undertakes the last stage of maintenance, which is the overhauling of the train.
First and second levels of maintenance are taken care by Serco, while the rest is done by the manufacture as the locomotives are under warranty for four years.