SOUTH ASIA'S FIRST METRO MUSEUM
South Asia's first modern Metro Museum, showcasing the Delhi Metro, has been opened in New Delhi, the only such installation worldwide in an operational Metro station.
The Metro Museum at Patel Chowk Metro station comes as a New Year gift to the citizens of Delhi and showcases the genesis, history and journey of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). India's first modern public transportation system, the Delhi Metro has revolutionized travel by providing a fast, reliable, safe and comfortable means of transport in the city characterized by rickety vehicles and unreliable operators.
Though founded only in 1995 with commercial operations beginning on 25th December 2002, the DMRC has a rich and varied history because of the nature of the project that is India's largest urban intervention in the transportation sector since Independence. Built in one of the most congested cities in the world, the Delhi Metro used cutting edge technology from around the world including Germany, France, Japan, Korea, etc. to create a system that is one of the most advanced in the world. A loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) funded a major part of the construction work of the Delhi Metro, one of few Metros in the world having an operational profit from the first day.
Metro Museums can be found in only a few European, US and Japanese cities, but the one at Delhi Metro is the only one of its kind in an operational station set up in a short duration of two months.
The museum, a collection of display panels, historical photographs and exhibits, traces the genesis of the Delhi Metro which took 32 years to reach the operational stage from the drawing boards, major milestones, issues regarding the selection of the technology such as rolling stock (trains), rail gauge, etc.
It has displays on the unique management style and work culture of the DMRC that has helped it complete projects before time consistently, the importance of spiritualism which is a guiding principle and the 'Bhagavad Gita' which serves as an inspiration for the Metro employees.
The Museum has an extensive section on the construction of the Metro and the problems encountered during the process, including the story behind the construction of technological marvels such as the Chawri Bazaar Metro station, which is the second deepest Metro station in the world, India's first extra-dosed bridge. A model of Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), a "tooth" taken from a TBM, soil samples collected from around the city and helmets of different colours used at construction sites form part of the Museum.
The technological features of the Metro system such as the Automatic Train Control System, Automatic Fare Collection system, round-the-clock activities of various departments, features friendly for the physically challenged, actual Metro rails and Over Head Equipment (OHE) to supply power are described in the Museum. It has an account of the first day of Metro's operation when about 1.2 million people queued up for a ride at six stations, forcing DMRC to issue a public appeal asking commuters to defer joyrides.
The Museum has two touch screen computers that play the DMRC corporate movie and animations describing the way tunnel boring machines and launching girders used in elevated construction work. Mannequins wearing the different uniforms worn by operations and construction staff, along with brief descriptions of these, a model of the Metro train, models of stations, share certificates and close-circuit television camera which visitors can use are included.
Souvenirs such as Metro ties, pens, key-chains and books will be available for sale at the Metro Museum. Curator services at the Museum can be availed from 10 AM to 4 PM on all days except Monday when the Museum would be closed.