India’s home minister Mr Rajnath Singh was joined by chief minister Mr Yogi Adityanath to flag off the first train from Transport Nagar station.

The 8.5km line from Transport Nagar to Charbagh has eight elevated stations and took nearly three-and-a-half years to build. Line trials, which included operating trains at the maximum line speed of 80km/h, got underway in December 2016 and were completed on August 14.

The line is fitted with Alstom’s Urbalis communications-based train control (CBTC) solution, which will enable operation at 100-second headways, and will initially be served by four-car Alstom Metropolis trains which will be operated entirely by women drivers. A fifth set will be left in reserve with trains operating initially at seven-minute headways.

Services will operate from 06.00-22.00 every day and fares, which will be determined on the number of metro stations travelled, will vary from Rs 10 ($US 0.16) to Rs 60. Use of GoSmart smartcard ticketing will offer passengers a 10% discount.

Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation, which is operating the line, purchased a fleet of 20 trains from Alstom under a €150m contract signed in September 2015. The trains were designed in Bengaluru and manufactured at Sri City and Coimbatore, supporting the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign.

The fleet will ultimately serve a 23km north-south metro corridor, which will run from Chaudhary Singh Airport to Munshipulia and is scheduled for completion in March 2019. Lucknow is also developing an 11km east-west corridor, which will have 12 stations.