India’s First Private City Rail in Delhi Shuts for Repair

New Delhi’s airport rail link, the nation’s first privately run urban train service, was shut down for repairs until August-end after defects were found on its civil structures following 16 months of operations.

The network halted services from yesterday to inspect viaducts in the 23-kilometer (14-mile) line, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt., a unit of billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. (RELI), said in a statement on its website.

The decision to temporarily suspend operations “is purely linked with commuters’ safety concerns,” Delhi Airport Metro said in a statement via mobile phone text message. The Ministry of Urban Development expects the line to reopen by next month- end, spokeswoman A.V. Chandra said by phone today.

The 57 billion-rupee ($1 billion) railway was opened Feb. 23, 2011. It has since carried more than 6.8 million passengers and run 70,000 trips, according to the statement.

Reliance Infrastructure fell as much as 4.2 percent to 547 rupees in Mumbai trading and changed hands at 551.85 rupees at 1:56 p.m. The BSE India Sensitive Index dropped 1 percent.

Delhi Metro Rail Corp., operator of the city’s subway system, built tunnels and other infrastructure, while Reliance and partner, Beasain, Spain-based trainmaker Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA, paid for the tracks, trains and other equipment. Reliance has a contract to run the the line for 30 years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karthikeyan Sundaram in New Delhi at kmeenakshisu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vipin V. Nair at vnair12@bloomberg.net

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