Metro Coaches – A Make in India Success Story
When the first line of Delhi Metro was inaugurated in 2002, the coaches were imported as CBUs (Completely Built Units) from Germany and South Korea. 16 years later, 90% of the coaches running on the 8 lines of the over 300 km network of the country’s largest and the world’s 9th longest Metro network are made in India. This indigenisation of Metro coaches was facilitated by the contract conditions of DMRC, which mandated a cap on the upper limit of 25 per cent for production abroad with the balance to be manufactured in India. This in turn brought in global manufacturers like Bombardier and Alstom to form their subsidiaries and joint ventures in the country.
According to the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), a non-profit advocacy organisation for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry, the capital costs of Metro coaches manufactured in India are substantially lower than the rest of the world. UITP estimates put the capital cost of a coach manufactured in India around INR 89.4 million (US$ 1.35 million), which is lower than the cost in Vancouver (US$ 2.5 million) and San Francisco (US$ 2.30 million).
Three Metro coach manufacturing units are already in operation in India: Bombardier Transportation at Savli near Vadodara; Alstom Transport India at Sricity near Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Bengaluru. There are also other players forming consortiums with one or more of these three companies with other technology partners like Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and a couple of Chinese companies.
Bombardier has been a supplier to Indian Railways for over three decades and established the Metro Coach manufacturing facility at Savli in 2008. The company is actively collaborating in the Make in India program by delivering rail vehicles, products and solutions that are developed locally, for both Indian and foreign markets. Apart from being a major supplier to Delhi Metro to which it has supplied 776 coaches till date, Bombardier has also started exports of Metro rail coaches to Australia and components to Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Apart from the Savli facility, the company has a transportation engineering services centre at Gurgaon. Bombardier’s India unit got its first export order in 2012 for supply of components for trains in Adelaide and has since supplied components and railway coaches for projects in Victoria, and Queensland in Australia, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. It is also providing engineering services for its parent’s projects in Germany, Switzerland, China and UK.
Bombardier has also supplied advanced rail control for the new, automated Delhi Metro Line 7, which is a major milestone as this is a fully automated line for running driverless trains in future. All four phases of Line 7, or the Pink Line, which have opened during the last 14 months, are equipped with the Bombardier Cityflo 650 communications-based train control solution to support safe and reliable automatic train operations. Cityflo 650 uses modern radio networks and moving block operation to provide centralised train supervision.
In December 2018 Alstom achieved a significant milestone by completing the export of the last of the 22 Metropolis trains for Sydney Metro, delivered from its Sricity facility.
In 2014, Alstom won a contract to deliver 22 six-car trainsets, as well as the CBTC signalling system, for North West Rail Link, Australia’s largest public transport project and first fully-automated Metro network. Alstom’s engineering hub in Bengaluru adapted the Metropolis and Urbalis solutions to the specific needs of Sydney Metro to ensure fast, safe and reliable services to the residents of Sydney.
Having begun production in 2014, Sricity has already set high standards for quality and operational safety through excellence in innovation and sustainable manufacturing practices. With an annual production capacity of 240 cars, the site has delivered coaches for the cities of Chennai, Kochi and Lucknow. It will begin work on its second export order for the light Metro project in Montreal from early 2019 while production for Mumbai Metro Line 3 will also begin next year. The on-time delivery of the trainsets for Sydney establishes Alstom’s Sricity site as the one of the group’s global manufacturing centres of excellence for rolling stock.
Recently, Alstom has also been awarded a contract by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to supply a CBTC signalling system for Line 3 of the Mumbai Metro. The contract, which builds on rolling stock and power supply contracts won earlier for the same line, is worth over €100 million.
Alstom will equip Line 3 with Urbalis 400, its latest generation of CBTC signalling technology. The scope of the contract includes unmanned train operation (UTO), computer-based interlocking and centralised train supervision, platform screen doors, as well as the electrical and mechanical supervisory control and data acquisition system (E&M SCADA).
BEML – PSU on a roll
BEML Limited’s Rail Coach Factory situated in Bangalore, India is the first all steel integrated rail coach factory established by Government of India during 1948. It was set up with the assistance and technical know-how imparted by M/s MAN of Germany to indigenously manufacture passenger rail coaches (of broad gauge) for the use of Indian Railways.
During the implementation of the first urban transit project by DMRC for its Phase-1, BEML, a public sector undertaking of the Government of India, and Rotem (now Hyundai Rotem) signed a Technical Collaboration agreement in 2002 and BEML became the first to indigenously make Metro Cars for DMRC RS1 contract, manufacturing 220 units of Metro cars. Later, in order to indigenise the manufacture and integration of Metro train sets, BEML obtained a developmental order from DMRC to develop 8 units of intermediate cars. The successful completion of this developmental order strengthened BEML as an indigenous source for Metro cars.
As on date, BEML has supplied over 1,100 Metro cars for various projects in India from its three production lines. With the experience gained in manufacture, integration and testing of Metro cars, BEML expanded its role in Metro Business and is commanding a good market share in India
Encouraged by the successful track record in manufacturing global quality Metro coaches in India all three players have started further indigenisation process and major sub system of Metro coaches have been indigenised. Crucial parts including window glasses, battery boxes, brake blocks, bogie frames, vacuum circuit breakers, propulsion systems and signalling systems, among others are also being manufactured in India.
There are 10 cities in India with operational Metro networks, most having single lines stretching a few kilometres and six more cities have begun the construction work. In addition 18 more cities stretching from Srinagar in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south are working on Metro plans while dozens more are in need of one. That opens up a wide avenue for more business in the near future.
Pix1: A Bombardier Metro train in Delhi.
Pix2: Alstom has supplied coaches for Metro networks in Chennai, Kochi and Lucknow
Pix3: BEML has supplied over 1,100 Metro cars for various projects in India.