Sunday, August 14, 2022

Cover Story

Metro Boon


METRO has been the buzzword lately from all the quarters – be it the government, construction companies or the allied industry segments. The need to offer people with the fastest, safest and the most convenient mode of transport, government has lately been taking keen interest in delivering the metro projects at super speed and at the same time is also expanding horizons in other cities to facilitate fast-paced infrastructural development writes, PRERNA SHARMA.


Nearly 740 km of metro lines are at present operational in various cities in India and the network span is steadily scheduled to rise to about 900 km by 2022. Another 1,016 km of metro and RRTS is under construction in 27 cities. Two new technologies i.e., ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at much lesser cost with same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities. With the government’s support, the implementation of new age technologies and the emergence of global players in this highly promising stream, we will soon witness a METRO BOOM in the country, which will be at par with global standards.



  • Bangalore Metro Trains for the new lines and future projects will be based on unattended train operation systems.
  • Bombardier’s high-tech, highly efficient MOVIA metros deliver rapid, reliable and cost-effective transport solutions around the globe.
  • Cheaper alternatives to conventional metro rail, Metro Lite & Metro Neo have become the new buzzword for smaller cities across India to augment public transport.
  • Digitization in the metro will pave the way for creating an efficient, reliable and flexible transport system that meets growing passenger traffic demands.



At present, India’s Metro network is the fifth-largest globally, with trains operating in cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Jaipur, Gurugram, Noida, Lucknow, etc. Projects are lined up in various other cities as well. Kolkata Metro, launched in 1984, is the oldest while Delhi Metro, which commenced operations in 2002, is the second-oldest, as well as the largest and busiest. “With Metro train projects already functional or in the pipeline in several cities across the country, at least 100 cities will have their own such networks by 2047 – the 100th year of independence,” Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, said. The total length of the Metro network in the country currently stands at 500 km. By 2047, its length will have increased 10 folds to 5000 kms. According to officials, once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the daily ridership of this mode of transit, across all networks, will rise to 10 million. Before the pandemic, up to 8.5 million people were travelling on Metro trains daily. Presently, their number is at around 3-3.5 million. Let’s take a look at some of the Metro projects in pipeline…


Agra Metro is a 29.40 km urban Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) with 2 lines and 28 stations under construction in Agra. Construction work on Phase 1’s first 4 km section (Taj East Gate – Taj Mahal Ramp) began on December 7, 2020. Its Priority Corridor comprises of a 7 km section with 6 stations (3 underground and 3 elevated) between Jama Masjid and Taj East Gate. The project is slated for completion by March 2024 (Priority Corridor) and 2026 (Phase 1).


Recently Sam India Builtwell launched their first U-girder for Agra Metro Phase 1 project’s 4 km Taj East Gate – Taj Mahal Ramp elevated corridor on Fatehabad Road. Sam India Builtwell was awarded Package AGCC-01’s Rs.272.95 crore contract by Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) in October 2020 which includes building the line’s elevated viaduct with 3 stations at Fatehabad Road, Basai and Taj East Gate. Sam started Pier work in February 2021 and launched the first pier cap in August 2021. As of today, approximately 115 piers have been concreted and all 48 double T-girders have been launched for Taj East Gate Station, with UPMRC chasing a tight October 2022 deadline to start trial runs using 3 coach Alstom trains out of PAC Depot.


In November-end 2021, Afcons Infrastructure initiated their first U-girder on PDPU Road for constructing the viaduct of the 28.254 km Ahmedabad Metro Phase 2 project. Afcons’ scope of work includes the line’s 8.124 km elevated section from Motera Stadium to GNLU with 8 stations at Koteshwar Road, Vishwakarma College, Tapovan Circle, Narmada Canal, Koba Circle, Juna Koba, Koba Gam, and GNLU, alongwith the 5.42 km section from GNLU to GIFT City with a bridge over Sabarmati River and 2 stations at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).


Bangalore (Namma) Metro is an urban Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) with 2 lines and 51 stations serving Bengaluru, Karnataka’s capital and largest city. While the Green Line’s extension to Silk Institute became operational in January 2021, the entire phase, including a 13.9 km underground section of the Pink Line, is expected to be ready no sooner than 2024 after which the metro network will become 116.25 km long. Bangalore Metro’s Phase 3 project with routes totaling 105.55 km is currently on the drawing board. From that, 18 km (Central Silk Board – KR Puram) and 38 km (KR Puram – KIAL Airport) of lines have been expedited and will be built in parallel with Phase 2 under Phase 2A and Phase 2B respectively. GR Infraprojects in November-end began launching precast segments for completing pending construction work on the 7.5 km Dairy Circle Ramp – Kalena Agrahara section of Bangalore Metro’s Pink Line (Reach 6).


Several modern technologies have been implemented or are under implementation in BMRCL project. These include installation of Solar based Power systems of 1.5 MWp installed at 5 stations of newly commissioned R-4 extension section. A savings of approx. Rs.100 Lakhs per annum is expected due to this with the present energy tariff. The stations are designed to utilize the natural lighting during day time. LED based lights are installed at all stations. Operation of major electrical equipment and lighting are monitored and are operated through Building Management System. Invertor based VRV/VRF system for air conditioning at Elevated Stations & depots in Phase-2 have been installed. Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) are implemented for underground stations in environmental control system & tunnel ventilation system equipment. Platform Screen Doors are adapted in UG stations of Phase-II to reduce Air Conditioning load from 900 T to 400 T per station and hence are expected to reduce the Electrical Power consumption.


Bangalore Metro Trains for the new lines and future projects will be based on unattended train operation systems. In BMRCL train, state-of-art 3-phase variable voltage and variable frequency-controlled traction system not only utilizes energy during braking but also provides high level passenger comfort by automatically controlling jerk during operation. Train Air-conditioned system automatically regulates the temperature and humidity to provide comfort to the passenger. Automatic station announcement and display system provides a very accurate real time information to the passengers.


Bhopal Metro or Bhoj Metro project with 2 lines & 28 stations is an under construction MRTS. This 105 km master plan envisions 6 metro lines criss-crossing the city, out of which 2 lines (line 2 & 5) have been selected for implementation in Phase 1. The government estimated project deadline is August 2023.



Fun Facts

  • Oldest (First) Metro Rail System: Kolkata Metro
  • Newest Metro Rail System: Nagpur Metro
  • Largest Metro System: Delhi Metro (347 km)
  • Smallest Metro System: Ahmedabad Metro (6 km)
  • Busiest (Highest Ridership) Metro System: Delhi Metro


India’s first metro operator, Metro Railway, Kolkata, initiated services to extend the city’s North-South metro from Noapara to Dakshineswar. The 4.1 kms extension provides fast, easy, pollution- and traffic-free travel to thousands of commuters in the city and its adjoining areas. The opening of the new line has shortened the commute time between Dakshineswar and Kavi Subhash by up to 90 minutes. The extension not only reduces the time and expense but will positively impact the environment by easing traffic congestions in the ‘City of Joy’. Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) selected Hitachi Energy’s advanced power automation and control solution, MicroSCADA X, to control the power distribution, traction substations and auxiliary substations which is a future-proof solution with a modern user interface and innovative ease-of-use features including web-based and mobile access. It is an easily scalable system and will provide Metro Railway very wide and intuitive functionality with advanced cybersecurity safeguards as per the latest global standards.


After a nearly two-year delay, Mumbai will soon have a new metro line connecting the city’s northernmost area, Dahisar, to the western suburbs of Andheri with over 17 stations.


The Maha Mumbai Metro Operation Corporation Ltd (MMMOCL) will be in charge of the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the new Mumbai Metro Lines. The line is expected to be functional within a few months and is expected to be open by early 2022. It will be operating in two phases. In the first phase, from Dahisar to Goregaon and in the second phase, the metro will run from Goregaon to Andheri. The Mumbai Metro trains are indigenously manufactured driverless trains that runs on 25 kV AC traction power and has facilities like optical fibre in each coach for Internet access, CCTV surveillance, and is developed to conserve energy and swap to alternative non-conventional energy in the event of a power failure.


Alstom completes handover of the first trainset for the Kanpur metro, to Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC). These metro trains are 100% indigenously manufactured at the facility in Savli, Gujarat. Alstom completed the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation (BT) on 29 January 2021 and going forward, Alstom will be responsible for the delivery of Kanpur & Agra metro rolling stock and signalling, including scope of all BT technologies. Valued at approximately Rs.2051 crore (245 Mn EUR), Alstom’s scope on the Agra-Kanpur metro project includes – design, build and delivery of 201 metro cars (67 MOVIA metro three-car trainsets) and an advanced signalling solution (CITYFLO 650). The customer also has a provision to exercise an option for an additional 51 metro cars.


Inspired by Uttar Pradesh’s rich cultural heritage combined with best-in-class design has resulted in an attractive look for India’s latest metro fleet. Aerodynamic modular design of the new MOVIA metros will offer a host of safety, security and environmental benefits along with great passenger experience. Built with stainless-steel car bodies, the air-conditioned cars will have automated sliding doors, comfortable seating & standing spaces, dedicated areas for entry of specially abled, who use wheelchairs and modern passenger information systems, combining to provide an accessible and welcoming environment for passengers. The trains will be equipped with FLEXX metro bogies and MITRAC propulsion system to increase energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and ensure the new trains meet the highest environmental standards. Each train will accommodate approximately 960 passengers in the three-car configuration.


Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S. Puri recently, virtually inaugurated the Unattended Train Operations (UTO) on the Pink Line of the Delhi Metro. “We are witnessing another historic occasion where we will see the Delhi Metro becomes one of the largest driverless metro networks in the world. With a massive driverless network of 96.7 kms, the Delhi Metro has now become the fourth largest network in the world to operate with driverless technology,” the minister said. Driverless Train Operations (DTO) has been launched on the 59 kms long Pink Line (Majlis Park to Shiv Vihar) of Delhi Metro. With this, the Delhi Metro’s fully automated network will grow to about 97 kilometres, which is 4th largest in the world and the only DTO network in India. The DTO facility was launched on the Magenta Line in 2020 with which the Delhi Metro had entered the elite league of world’s 7% Metros in the world which operate fully automated metro networks.

The Driverless Train Operation will bring more flexibility in train operations, reduce human interventions and human errors. It will also help in improving the availability of coaches for service. The Driverless Trains will eliminate the manual process of checking done before induction, subsequently reducing burden on train operators. The parking on stabling line in depots will also be done automatically. The DMRC has already started reaping benefits of driverless operations on its Magenta Line in terms of increased availability of coaches for service. Reliability of the trains has increased manifold due to exhaustive self-tests done before induction in service everyday automatically, eliminating all possibilities of human error. The benefits will further increase with a longer network under driverless train operation. In DTO, initially, the train operator will be present in the train to instil a sense of confidence and assistance. DTO’s higher level of diagnostic features will help move from conventional time-based Maintenance to Condition Based Maintenance. This will also reduce maintenance down time of trains.


Adapting and Implementing Digitization


The construction industry has been working towards reducing carbon footprint by lowering significant sources such as construction waste and process inefficiencies. Companies are implementing measures such as lean building concepts, the transition to mechanise off-site manufacturing, and the utilization of modern IT trends such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). In the UK, for instance, BIM is widely used and is predicted to reach 95% by 2018. Many governments around the world (Germany, UK, Singapore, Korea, and China) have been quite vocal about the implementation of BIM. In the UK, projects such as Cross rail and High Speed 2 have substantially invested in establishing information management strategies for use during construction.


Digital efforts have yet to see a huge uptick in the Indian metros. Having said that the beginning has been quite promising. The case in point being the digital workflow developed by the Kochi Metro, which includes handling of papers in a digital system. L&T is developing 3D models for metros when they are the contractor, and they use clash detection to uncover clashes in multiple technical disciplines at an early stage. Other important developments include the work by L&T, who provided mobile platforms for on-site inspections. Till date, Nagpur Metro is the only one project in India has made major strides toward using BIM in the planning and design phases. Digital information management systems are implemented across the project lifecycle in the Nagpur Metro Project.


Schneider officials, during a recent webinar, stated that in a country like India, where every city is faced with a different scale of challenges, it is important to employ customizable and flexible solutions. For instance, in the city of Kanpur, the Metro Rail operations and management is not single-layered. One of the focal aspects is implementing solutions that are upgradable and interoperable to improve efficiency in metro. Monitoring, operating systems, solving conflicts and accessing the systems easily, are pain points that can be addressed with digitization.


Incorporating solutions that can digitize processes, collect data and adapt accordingly are essential to address the traffic congestion challenge. While collecting these data is the first step, implementing the collected insights with perfect execution is essential. In this concern, digitization allows for information and data to be disseminated and saved across all systems. This further elevates the cause of achieving cost-effectiveness in a short period. To achieve maximized efficiency, a common platform for communication is necessary. According to the industry leaders, so far digitization has been fully adapted and used in the operations sector of the metro rail industry. However, with the rapid rate at which the development plans are made to extend the industry, digitization can be applied to many other facets to increase efficiency to the next level. For instance, digitization in the construction phase can prove helpful in monitoring, managing and overlooking the ongoing projects.


Digitization in the metro can pave the way for creating an efficient, reliable and flexible transport system that meets growing passenger traffic demands. Creating Intelligent Metro is the path for such a large scale development plan that can serve millions of people. Moreover, industry leaders’ insights prove that there are incredible opportunities by employing intelligent solutions to India’s Metro Rail.


The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) introduced a major innovation in its construction technology by starting launching work on the Janakpuri West – RK Ashram Marg corridor with a specially designed Launcher attached with a Transporter for the launch of U-girders on its elevated section. This new state of the art Launcher with Transporter is fully electric with much higher output in comparison to the conventional launchers/cranes. The Transporter carries the U-girder from one designated point and moves forward on rails laid on the already erected U-girders to further add more U-girders from the feeding point to the launcher. As a result, the U-girders are to be transported on trailer only up to the feeding point identified at a suitable location and not for the entire length of work. This results in much less requirement of space. This new Launcher is 62m long having a total weight of 230T. It can negotiate gradients upto 4% and 200m radius curves. The Transporter which transports the U girder is 41.75m long having a total weight of 35T. It can travel with a speed of 3 kmph at no load and 2 kmph at full load.


The output of this new innovation is quite high as compared to the conventional method of launching of U-girders. On an average, 4 to 6 U-girders per day can be erected with this Launcher whereas with the conventional method, about 2 U-girders can be done in congested working environments like in Delhi – NCR. The erection work of U-girders with conventional cranes can be done only during the night as it requires blocking of roads to position the cranes. Whereas in case of this new Launcher with Transporter, U-girders are transported with the Transporter on the erected viaduct without any interface with road from a single identified feeding point.


Such a technology is being used for the first time in India. The total load of U-girders to be erected is as high as 160 ton and 462 such U-girders are to be erected in the contract. This launcher today has been made operational for the construction of a 9.5 kilometre long viaduct from Mukarba Chowk to Ashok Vihar covering four stations namely Bhalswa, Majlis Park, Azadpur and Ashok Vihar and a connection to depot from Majlis Park.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently unveiled the country’s first indigenously designed and developed Driverless Metro Car at the Bharat Earth Movers Limited’s (BEML) manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. The Minister, while visiting the BEML facility in Bengaluru, said that the team of engineers and technicians have done commendable work. According to BEML, the driverless metro cars being manufactured at their company’s Bengaluru Complex are made of stainless-steel bodies and have a capacity of carrying as many as 2,280 passengers in six-cars metro train set.



Metro Lite and Metro Neo


Cheaper alternatives to conventional metro rail, Metro Lite & Metro Neo have become the new buzzword for smaller cities across India to augment public transport. Nashik, Thane, Gorakhpur, Jammu, Srinagar and Coimbatore administrations are in talks with the Centre to get these modes of transport. While it costs Rs.222 crore per km to construct a conventional metro rail, a Metro Lite, which resembles a tramway, costs Rs.140 crore per km, and Metro Neo, which is more like an electric trolleybus, costs Rs.71 crore per km. Both the new technologies will not only complement the conventional metro, but could be good alternatives for providing last-mile connectivity in the peripheral areas of big cities like Delhi. According to Ministry officials, by 2024-2025, India will have over 1,700 km of metro network, the second highest after China, which has over 7,000 km of metro network.


Moreover, energy-efficient, air-conditioned, low floor coaches with regenerative braking, friendly for divyang people will facilitate easy evacuation of passenger during emergencies through the flat ways. These coaches can negotiate sharp curves suitable to the narrow roads of Tier-II & III cities. Beside, MetroNeo’s overhead twin wire traction system running on 750 volts DC is easily installable, safe for passenger operations and cost-effective. The MRTS, aiming to provide a comfortable, rapid, energy-efficient and less noisy transport medium in the city of Nashik, is going to be the first Metro Neo project in India, which will be implemented by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (Maha-Metro).



MOVIA metros – flexible solutions for growing cities


Bombardier’s high-tech, highly efficient MOVIA metros deliver rapid, reliable and cost-effective transport solutions around the globe. Congestion, budget constraints, and connectivity are major challenges facing growing cities today. Metros are one of the most efficient means of moving high volumes of people safely, conveniently and cost-effectively to their destinations. From London to Delhi, New York to Shanghai, MOVIA metros move more than seven billion passengers every year. MOVIA metros are renowned over the world for their operational reliability, appealing design and enhanced safety features – everything that makes a metro an attractive mode of transport. As part of a new or existing network, fully automated or with a driver, the MOVIA metro family’s modular approach ensures the right solution for each customer.


Work in Progress


In the Union Budget 2021-22, Hon’ble FM Nirmala Sitharaman had expressed commitment to work towards raising the share of public transport in urban areas through expansion of metro rail network and augmentation of city bus service. A new scheme will be launched at a cost of Rs.18,000 crore to support augmentation of public bus transport services. The scheme will facilitate deployment of innovative PPP models to enable private sector players to finance, acquire, operate, and maintain over 20,000 buses. The scheme will boost the automobile sector, provide fillip to economic growth, create employment opportunities for our youth and enhance ease of mobility for urban residents.

Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)