By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimes.com
Work on the Green Line of Dubai Metro is fast approaching completion, with the tracks fully ready and stations taking the final shape.
Various types of testing have already begun, with His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recently launching the operational phase of Green Line.
Completion of the stations varies with some being almost complete while others 60-70 per cent done. Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun tests and trials simultaneously, even as work on stations continues.
“The track is ready from one end to the other – Al Jaddaf to Al Qusais – and the stations will also be ready soon.
But initially, we will start the operation only up to the Healthcare City and extend it to Jaddaf only once there is enough development in the area,” said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Operations at RTA’s Rail Agency.
The 23-km-long Line has 18 stations in total with two stations falling in the Jaddaf area, one is the Al Jaddaf station and the other Creek, which are in the completion stages.
The other 16 stations on the Green Line are scheduled to open in August 2011, following the completion of work and all the test and trial that are currently underway. “We have already started testing the trains and numerous other systems that help run the Metro. It is happening on a daily basis and will continue until we are satisfied that everything is perfect and all the pieces are in place,” said Ramadan as he detailed the trial process.
The trial programme includes the train test, the driverless test, the perfect test and the point test.
“Different trials are being carried out currently. We initially did trial runs with the drivers and now we are doing the driverless tests. There are so many other things to be tested, like the power system, the information system, the fair collection system etc,” he added.
Apart from these, there are also different real-time scenarios that need to be considered and checked like the situations when there are different loads, different number of trains on track and emergency scenarios like failure of trains in any particular station etc.
However, the live trials are being undertaken even as work on the stations is in full swing.
Completion of stations currently range from 55 to 100 per cent in finishing works, 65 to 85 per cent in electromechanical works and as high as 85 per cent in the Park-and-Ride facilities at Al Qusais.
The interior works in most stations have also reached final stages in most stations.
The Green Line stations, like those on Red Line, are built around elemental themes like Earth, Air, Water and Fire.
However there are two exceptions with the underground stations of Al Ghubaiba and Al Ras having a heritage feel, going by the cultural and heritage areas surrounding them.
The two stations feature heritage designs depicting the legacy of the UAE.
The design concept revolves around the traditional architectural elements such as wind towers (Brajeel), oriels (Mashrabia), alleyways (Sukaik), internal arches etc.
With five underground stations, two of which are common to both lines, and 13 elevated stations the Green Line runs through the heart of Dubai’s densely populated and busy Central Business Districts.
The Union Station, once fully completed to receive both lines, is touted to be one of the biggest metro stations in the world.
With an area spanning 25,000 square metres and a capacity to handle about 22,000 passengers per hour, the station is ready to get into the record books.
Adding to the station’s credentials are two entry points, two levels, a length extending 230 metres, 50 metres of width and a depth of 18 metres.
The biggest elevated station on the Green Line is the Al Qiyadah Station along Al Ittihad Road near the Dubai Police General HQ.
The station has a capacity to handle 11,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
Another important feature of the Green Line is the Park-n-Ride facility located near the Etisalat station in Al Qusais.
The facility, which is nearing completion has a capacity to house 2,350 vehicles at any given time.