Located close to Tamil Nadu, the facility initially will cater to Chennai Metro requirements

France-based transport major Alstom Transport, which has bagged a Rs.1,431-crore order for 42 train sets from Chennai Metro Rail Ltd., (CMRL) will open its metro car manufacturing facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh bordering Tamil Nadu in September this year.

With the work on Chennai metro progressing fast, Alstom has planned to source initial train sets from its manufacturing facility in Brazil for testing purposes even as the Sri City facility is expected to roll out the first train set in January 2014, according to Henri Poupart-Lafarge, President of Alstom Transport worldwide.

Mr. Henri told a team of visiting Indian journalists in Paris recently that Alstom would spend about 30 million euro to create the facility on 52 acres in Sri City. He said the facility, besides catering to the requirements of Chennai Metro, would cater to the fast-growing metro rail markets in India as well as Asia Pacific. He said the site design and construction was based on technology shared from Alstom’s global manufacturing facilities as well as its major transport hub in Lapa in Brazil from where the first few metro cars for Chennai Metro would be sourced.

Customer need

A consortium of Alstom Transport SA and Alstom India had bagged the order from CMRCL in August 2010 for supply of 42 standard-gauge metro train sets, each set comprising four cars, totalling 168 cars. Explaining the rationale behind setting up the facility in India, Mr. Henri said the move showed Alstom’s responsiveness to customers’ needs and requirements and to create products suited for Indian markets.

The new facility would also be a centre of excellence for metro trains in India, Mr. Henri said. Alstom has planned up to 80 per cent of localisation for sourcing inputs even as the company will source some inputs such as traction from its Coimbatore facility and signalling software from its Bangalore facility. Mr. Henri noted that the urban market was stronger than the mainline railway market in India which is why Alstom is having the factory near Chennai.

State-of-the-art design

The CMRL order to Alstom requires the latter to supply train sets with state-of-the-art car design, light weight, made of stainless steel with three-phase AC drive. The cars will feature automatic train protection and operation facilities. These cars will also have electronic route map, public address system, passenger emergency intercom, video surveillance and CCTV. The trains will run on 25 kV through an overhead catenary system.

Each train set will be provided with a first-class seating section in the coach near the train operator’s cab even as the four-car train set will be designed for future convertibility to a six-car rake. The maximum allowable operating speed of the train set will be 80 kmph with maximum speed of 90 kmph. A four-car train set can accommodate 1,276 passengers.

(The correspondent was in France at the invitation of Alstom Transport)

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