Made in Gujarat Metro Coach rolls out
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off what can be called the first truly ‘Indian’ Metro train, from a manufacturing plant near Vadodara. Henceforth, the facility will roll out one Delhi Metro coach a day and wheel it to the capital to cater to the acute overcrowding on the system due to shortage of trains and provide for the new lines opening as part of Phase II. In all, the manufacturing unit belonging to Bombardier Transportation, will supply a total of 81 train sets comprising 424 broad gauge coaches to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) by October 2010 at a cost of about Rs 3,000 crore. ‘‘This is a very proud day for DMRC. Only 24 months ago, in June 2007, we placed an order for 454 coaches with M/s Bombardier Transportation, with a stipulation that it can bring a maximum of 21 train sets from abroad. The company limited their imports to just nine train sets and set up a facility in Gujarat to manufacture the rest. I am very happy that we have achieved indigenousness so soon,’’ said E Sreedharan, DMRC managing director. The day of the rollout — World Environment Day — is significant as the trains are environment-friendly in design. ‘‘We are gifting people an eco-friendly train. Surface transport vehicles contribute to nearly 84% to the carbon emissions in the atmosphere, followed by aeroplanes, which add another 15%. Rail-based transportation comprise for just 1% of these emissions,’’ said Modi. The trains are energy efficient and the cost of the trains is also much lesser compared to their imported counterparts. Sreedharan added that India was trying to minimize costs further by standardization, and has even proposed to the government to make Metro coaches exempt from duties and taxes, otherwise a lot of Indian cities may not be able to afford Metro systems. The new trains promise a more comfortable ride for Delhiites as they have been made after analyzing the problems with the existing coaches. ‘‘Based on the Phase I experience, we have made a lot of changes to the new coaches, said Rajeev Jyoti, president & managing director, India, Bombardier Transportation. The changes include an advanced braking system to keep the noise levels in check as the earlier coaches were very noisy. The airconditioning has also been improved so Delhiites can expect a cooler ride next time they board a Metro train. The bogie design has been improved and the flooring quality upgraded to ensure a smoother ride. Keeping in view the high security threat on the Metro, the coaches are also equipped with CCTV cameras to track unusual movement. The Delhi Metro currently operates across 78 km and will spread to over 190 km by 2010, making it one of the largest networks in the world. More than two million people are expected to travel by the Delhi Metro daily by next year making the timely delivery of coaches imperative. The first Bombardier Movia train has been wheeled out of the Savli facility in a record 18 months from the time the factory was set up including the time taken to set up the factory. ‘‘This is the fastest in the 150 year old history of Bombardier, and a record even for us, said Stephane Rambaud Measson, president, passengers division, Bombardier Transportation. The coaches are state-of-the-art — these have been made using the most advanced manufacturing technology such as spot-welding robots, being used for the first time in the country for rail car body manufacturing. The coaches are about 35-40% indigenous, as a large part of the spare parts, have also been manufactured by local vendors.