Services of Lucknow Metro beginning would not only make daily commuters happy but is also bound to bring cheer to Modi government’s pet ‘Make In India’ drive. The modern state-of-the-art metro train sets with gen-next signalling system integrated across the network have been made in India! According to Alstom, the manufacturer of these coaches, the ‘Make in India’ component of the Lucknow Metro coaches stands at 70%. They have even been designed in India. Says Bharat Salhotra Vice President, Sales & Business Development, APAC at Alstom, “The ‘Make in India’ percentage of the coaches for Lucknow Metro is about 70%. These metro coaches have been designed in Bangalore and manufactured out of Alstom’s Sri City with other components delivered from our Coimbatore plant. The Urbalis CBTC will be jointly supplied by Alstom’s sites in Bangalore and Saint-Ouen in France.”
Talking about the hi-tech signalling system used in the Lucknow Metro system, Salhotra tells FE Online, “This would be India’s second commissioned Computer Based Train Control (CBTC) based signalling system. The first one was rolled out in Kochi in June 2017 – both provided by Alstom.” According to Salhotra, the signalling system makes the metro trains “intelligent” and also reduces the time between two trains. “The system is able to manage movement and time in between trains efficiently without human intervention, thus reducing room for error,” he says, adding a comparison with Delhi Metro.
“The Delhi Metro uses a technology called DTG (Distance To Go) in which the time between two trains is two-and-a-half minutes. With CBTC the time between two trains is reduced to less than 90 seconds,” he claims. This signalling system also allows for trains to be ‘driverless’ in the future, he says. “It equips the train to become driverless – this system enables the train to move between stations, stop at the right platform location etc without human intervention. It also communicates with the control centre so that it can be remotely controlled in case of an emergency,” he elaborates.
Today, an 8.5 km long ‘Priority Corridor’ of the Lucknow Metro has been made functional and covers as many as 8 stations. This priority corridor is part of the phase-I of the Lucknow Metro project. The trains can seat 186 passengers in the longitudinal configuration and there are two dedicated zones for differently-abled passengers. Each four-car Metro train has been designed to carry about 1,100 passengers at a time. Equipped with LED lighting, the Lucknow metro coaches are made of stainless steel and have multiple safety features such as emergency communication facilities. There is provision for talkback facility with the train operator, CCTV images inside trains are displayed to the train operator. There is also a centralised security control room. The facilities for differently-abled passengers include dedicated wheel chair spaces, braille stickers for visually challenged persons and talk back buttons for deboarding the train. The Lucknow metro coaches have a regenerative braking system to feed the energy back to the overhead electrical energy system.
Four metro trains have been launched for this priority corridor. Alstom had been awarded the Rs 1069 crore contract for 20 train sets for Lucknow Metro. The delivery of trains has been progressing as per schedule and is due to be completed early next year, says Salhotra. Alstom has also manufactured coaches of the recently launched Kochi Metro and sees more ‘Make in India’ opportunities with multiple smart cities coming up. “The urban metro rail segment is a rapidly developing and vibrant space for all domestic and global companies with several metro rail projects on the anvil. For instance, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited is about to issue tenders for about 200 km of metro lines and Delhi metro is also looking at expanding. Projects in 7 other cities are being planned and under the Government’s Smart Cities initiative, 50 such growing cities are going to receive fresh impetus and focus,” Salhotra concludes when asked about Alstom’s future plans for urban transport solutions in India.