The Delhi Metro serves Delhi and its surrounding cities in the National Capital Region of India. With a pre-COVID annual ridership of 1.79 billion people, it is by far the largest and busiest metro rail system in the country.
Inspired by the London Tube Challenge, Prafull Singh (India) made a decision to set the equivalent record on his own turf.
As a Revenue Inspector for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, he saw this as the perfect way to promote the “comfort, safety and affordability” of public transport, whilst also earning himself a Guinness World Records title.
Prafull successfully completed the 348.12 km (216.31 mi) circuit of all 254 stations on 29 August 2021, setting a new record for the fastest time to travel all Delhi Metro stations at 16 hr 2 min 17 sec.
Prior to the addition of two new stations in 2021, the fastest time to travel to all London Underground stations was 15 hr 45 min 38 sec, achieved by Steve Wilson (UK) in 2015. A new record holder has not yet been verified.
For the purposes of this record, a Delhi Metro station is defined as any station within the Delhi Metro Network, which consists of 10 colour-coded lines and 254 stations.
It is necessary for a train to stop at the station for the visit to count, although the challenger does not need to exit the train or the station. At each station, a photograph must be taken including a digital timestamp or a clock visible within the image.
As a long-time user of his hectic hometown metro system, Prafull was “very much aware about the all lines.”
“For this you have to be well prepared about all the lines, stations, interchange stations, terminal stations etc,” he explained.
Prafull knew that in order to save as much time as possible, he would have to complete all the non-interconnected lines first. He meticulously planned his route by “mind mapping with the help of visualisation” and decided which of the 254 stations would be best to start and end at.
The night before his official attempt, Prafull was unable to sleep “due to anxiety.” At 8:56 a.m. the next day, he stepped onto the first train of many at Brig. Hoshiar Singh (aka Bahadurgarh City Park), Delhi’s westernmost metro station.
Prafull continued eastward on the Green Line (Line 5) to its terminal station, Ashok Park Main, where a connecting branch line took him to Kirti Nagar station on the Blue Line (Lines 3 & 4).
Kirti Nagar is one of Delhi’s busiest stations and Prafull told us he “faced a lot of time to wait for the metro” here.
Instead of tackling the Blue Line straight away, he switched over to the Red Line (Line 1), which is 34.69 km (21.56 mi) long. He travelled from Inderlok to the west end of the line in Rithala, before coming back on himself to reach Shaheed Sthal (aka New Bus Adda), Delhi’s easternmost metro station.
From here he took the metro back to Welcome station, which connects the Red Line to the Pink Line (Line 7).
The Pink Line is the longest line in the Delhi Metro Network with a total length of 58.43 km (36.31 mi) and 38 stations. It covers Delhi in a ‘U’ shaped pattern, passing alongside the city’s infamous ring road which experiences massive daily traffic jams.
After completing the Pink Line, Prafull hopped onto a train on the Yellow Line (Line 2); the first underground line to be opened on the Delhi Metro.
The Yellow Line is home to Prafull’s favourite station, Patel Chowk, which houses a small museum with exhibits tracing the genesis of the Delhi Metro.
Prafull travelled the entire 49 km (30 mi) length of the Yellow Line, from Samaypur Badli in the north to Huda City Centre station in the south.
From here Prafull needed a way to get onto the main Blue Line (Line 3), without going back via the Yellow Line as that would add on a significant chunk of time.
For this record, the use of any form of private transport is disallowed, however, transfers between metro lines made by scheduled public transport or on foot are permitted.
Thus, Prafull used the Rapid Metro of Gurgaon, a feeder link to the Delhi Metro Network, in order get closer to the Blue Line. He then walked and took a bus to Dwarka Sector 21.
Dwarka Sector 21 was the station where Prafull had his longest wait for a train; around 15 minutes.
“This is a physically and mentally demanding challenge” – Prafull Singh
The Blue Line connects Dwarka Sub City in the west with the satellite city of Noida in the east, covering a distance of 56.61 km (35.18 mi). Prafull also travelled along the branch line (Line 4), which runs for 6.25 km (3.88 mi) to Anand Vihar.
After completing the Blue Line, Prafull rode a west-bound train for the entire length of the Magenta Line (Line 8) which covers 25 stations. India's first ever fully-automated driverless train service was launched on this line in 2020.
Prafull arrived at its terminal, Janakpuri West, where he switched back onto the Blue Line for a few stops until he reached Dwarka. At Dwarka, he could access the Grey Line (Line 9), which is the shortest route in the network, comprising just four stations.
Prafull ticked the tiny Grey Line off his list and then hopped back onto the Blue Line towards the dreaded Dwarka Sector 21 again. On the bright side, the end of this metro madness was almost in sight for him.
After another long wait for a train at Dwarka Sector 21, Prafull was now on the penultimate metro line of his journey; the Orange Line (Airport Express Line).
He rode the entire 22.7 km (14.1 mi) to New Delhi station, before getting on a train to Kashmere Gate station where he could complete the final Violet Line (Line 6).
Prafull reached his final stop, Raja Nahar Singh station, at 58 minutes past midnight on 30 August 2021, successfully achieving the fastest time to travel all Delhi Metro Stations with a time of 16 hr 2 min 17 sec.
Everything mostly went according to Prafull’s plan, although some of the metro stations’ signs were in different places to where he was expecting them to be. He had to exit several trains in order to search for these stray signs, which increased his total time taken.
Additionally, Prafull wore a face mask for the entire 16 hours in the sweltering summer heat, causing him a “shortness of breath”.
However, it was all worth it in the end because Prafull values his Guinness World Records title “no less than an Olympic medal.”
“This record is recognised by all the social media platforms and newspapers and people now get to know me all over India.” – Prafull Singh
The Delhi Metro master’s adventures are not over yet though – he hopes to also set a new record soon for the fastest time to travel all underground Delhi Metro stations.