Progression of Driverless Metro Rail in Indian Urban Centers

Image showing the first driverless metro train arriving in Bengaluru, marking a significant milestone in the progression of driverless metro rail systems in Indian urban centers
Progression of Driverless Metro Rail in Indian Urban Centers

Major cities in India are rapidly advancing their metro rail systems by incorporating cutting-edge driverless train technologies, poised to revolutionize urban transportation. Notably, Bengaluru and Chennai have made significant progress in this regard recently.

Bengaluru's Milestone in Driverless Metro Rail

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has marked a significant milestone by receiving its inaugural 6-coach prototype driverless metro train, sourced from a Chinese manufacturer under a comprehensive agreement. This train is slated to operate on a state-of-the-art metro line connecting the city center with its bustling IT hub.

Procurement and Expansion Details

In 2019, CRCC Nanjing Puzhen Ltd secured a contract to supply 216 coaches to Bengaluru Metro Rail Transport Corporation Limited (BMRCL), including the prototype train. These trains will be assembled in Electronics City, with oversight from a team of Chinese engineers. The newly arrived train is designated for the Yellow Line metro corridor, spanning from RV Road to Electronics City IT cluster via the Silk Board junction, covering an elevated section of 18.2 km primarily catering to office commuters. With a frequency of 90 seconds and coaches measuring 21 meters each, these driverless trains promise efficient service delivery.

Furthermore, BMRCL has placed orders for a total of 216 coaches, intended to form 15 trains, with two additional trains expected to arrive by May and subsequent monthly deliveries starting from June.

Upcoming Trial Runs

Given that the initial delivery is a prototype unit, BMRCL plans to conduct extensive trial runs to ensure reliability, safety, and performance standards before initiating passenger services.

Chennai's Pursuit of Driverless Metro Trains

In parallel, Chennai Metro Rail Limited has embarked on its journey towards implementing driverless metro trains, commencing the manufacturing of 36 trains, each comprising 3 coaches, totaling 108 cars. This initiative stems from a contract awarded to Alstom Transport India worth ₹1216 crore.

Key Features and Timelines

These trains boast spacious gangways, emergency doors, fire systems, and obstacle warning mechanisms to bolster passenger safety and comfort. Equipped with advanced systems enabling remote monitoring operations and regenerative electric braking for energy efficiency, coupled with sophisticated passenger announcement systems, they promise a seamless travel experience.

Production is underway at Alstom Transport India’s premises in Sri City, situated approximately 55 km north of Chennai. The first train is slated for completion by August 2024, with the entire batch expected to be ready within 18 months. Dynamic testing will precede the commencement of driverless services by 2025, subject to statutory approvals.

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