Sunday, July 21, 2024

Chinese Rakes for Namma Metro: Delivery Imminent After Prolonged Delay

In a significant development for the Bengaluru Metro system, Chinese-made rakes are set to be delivered to the city after experiencing a prolonged delay. Currently, two six-coach trains are ready and may soon be shipped to India. A delegation of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) officials recently visited China to inspect these trains. The procurement of these rakes is part of an agreement with a Chinese company to supply a total of 216 coaches, which will be used to assemble 36 trains. These trains will be manufactured in a factory near Kolkata, India, with two sets of trains directly imported from China.

Of the 216 coaches, 126 will be allocated for the purple line and 90 for the green line, with the remaining 90 coaches earmarked for the yellow line. The yellow line, connecting RV Road to Bommasandra, is currently in an advanced stage of completion. Initially scheduled to commence operation by the end of this year, the launch date has been postponed to the following year due to a shortage of coaches.

The history of this procurement goes back to 2019 when the Chinese company won the bid to manufacture 216 coaches for Rs 1,578 crore, which was Rs 100 crore less than the BMRCL’s initial estimates. However, the company encountered delays in setting up its manufacturing unit in India. To mitigate this issue, the Chinese company formed a partnership with a Kolkata-based company to facilitate local manufacturing. According to the latest information, the coaches are expected to be available by February of the upcoming year, with the yellow line operations potentially starting in April. The plan includes deploying 12 trains, each consisting of six coaches, for the yellow line.

Bengaluru South Member of Parliament, Tejasvi Surya, recently provided updates on the yellow line, stating, “After inspecting the civil works a month ago, I was convinced that the only major impediment to starting services in early 2024 is the availability of rolling stocks and the Train Control Management System (TCMS) software. I also had my own doubts about the February 2024 deadline to resolve these issues and operationalize the yellow line, as suggested by BMRCL officials. I held a video conference with various stakeholders, including CRRC, Titagarh Rail Systems, and BMRCL, to address both of these issues.”

Switching to another significant development, the BMRCL has agreed to a condition set by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to run three-coach metro trains on the proposed Magadi Road corridor for Phase 3, instead of the originally planned six-coach trains. This change was made as a prerequisite for Phase 3 project approvals.

The Karnataka government had given its approval for two Metro Phase 3 corridors in November 2022. These corridors are the Hosahalli-Kadabagere corridor along Magadi Road, measuring 12.5 km, and the JP Nagar 4th Phase-Kempapura corridor along Outer Ring Road-West spanning 32.1 km. However, the MoHUA is yet to grant its approval for the project.

The Magadi Road section of Phase 3 will include nine stations, including Hosahalli, KHB Colony, Kamakshipalya, Sumanahalli Cross, Sunkadakatte, Herohalli, Byadarahalli, Kamath Layout, and Kadabagere.

In other metro-related news, the BMRCL is scheduled to conduct maintenance works on Sundays between Swami Vivekananda Road and Indiranagar metro stations on the purple line. To facilitate this maintenance, metro train services on the purple line between MG Road and Baiyappanahalli metro stations will commence at 9 am instead of the usual 7 am start time, as announced in a press release.

These developments mark significant progress and adjustments in the Bengaluru Metro system as it continues to expand its network and enhance its services to cater to the growing urban population’s transportation needs.

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