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Chennai metro rail flagged off by Jayalalithaa, young woman steers first train

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By Rajashree Seal

Tamil Nadu  Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday flagged off the Chennai  Metro Rail services, after a wait of six long years and many missed deadlines. Steered by a young woman, the first train rolled out from Alandur station.

The first train left the station at 12.15 pm, an hour after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa e-launched the service via live  video conferencing from the State Secretariat, Chennai.

metro rail
Twitter screenshot

Nine blue-colored trains has been launched initially,  that will be running in  the Alandur to Koyambedu  route with a frequency of about 10 minutes and with a maximum speed of 80km/hr. It will be able to carry nearly 1200 passengers. Each train has four coaches and  the minimum and maximum fares are Rs 10 and Rs 40.

The train from Alandur to Koyambedu was driven from the station  by A. Preethi, 28, a  diploma holder in engineering from Government Dharmambal Polytechnic College, Chennai.

Preethi drove the metro train out of the Alandur station, slowly  picking up speed to 80 km, while she drove on a 10 km stretch in 18 minutes to Koyambedu. Meanwhile, the  Alandur  metro station, the biggest in Chennai, was crowded  with enthusiastic passengers eager to board the first metro train.

Preethi, who holds a diploma in electrical and electronics engineering, quitted her job at a research centre and applied to the Chennai Metro as she wanted to fulfill her dream to become a loco pilot of metro rail after the project started taking shape.

Three other women also  joined as pilots after Preethi. She was trained for a year and a half along with other pilots in Delhi and Chennai for the purpose.

In 2009, the Rs 14,600 crore project of Chennai Metro rail was approved by the previous Congress-led UPA regime,  as the work began later that year.

chennai metro rail
Twitter screenshot

Twitter inputs :-

Congratulations, Chennaiites on the launch of your metro. Your life’s gonna change. All the best!

— Rajesh Kalra ‏(@rajeshkalra)

Delighted to learn that the metro rail has finally become a reality for Chennai people.

— V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai ‏(@va_shiva)

“you are in safe hands, #Chennai” –  lovely message from Preethi, the driver of first #ChennaiMetro run today

— Suparna Singh ‏(@Suparna_Singh)

Metro train system inaugurated in Chennai.  First train driver is a woman.

— Charles Haviland ‏(@cfhaviland)

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