Chasing deadlines to meet the delivery order before the commencement of the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, Bombardier will soon dispatch 32 more cars for the Delhi Metro. Seventy four additional cars have also been tendered for, to be integrated with the existing fleet of four car trains to make them six-car trains to meet the growing passenger rush.
With an initial demand for 424 cars for the second phase of the Delhi Metro, Bombardier has already delivered 168 cars. For global transport manufacturer Bombardier that can count its presence in over 35 countries across the world, India’s Delhi Metro project has proved to be a test of mettle. Rapid expansion of the Metro system in a very limited span of time has meant extra work for Bombardier.
And as the second phase of the Delhi Metro nears completion, the company says it is not just happy to have accepted the challenge, but also proud of what it has accomplished.
President of its Passengers Division Stéphane Rambaud-Measson said the company is in sync with the Delhi Metro’s pace of delivery with a keen interest in being part of the action in other upcoming projects.
“We are pretty proud of what we have achieved; in India we have a 96.5 per cent availability, as against 95 per cent in other countries. Availability means the total number of cars that are running on tracks. A metro system with no on-going works and with the full fleet in operation normally offers an average availability of 96 per cent. Since we have already consumed our initial contract, we are now confident of meeting our deadline,” he said at the company’s facility in Hennigsdorf in Berlin that recently completed 100 years.
As the number of Indian cities that will soon have a Metro system modelled on the Delhi Metro project multiplies so do the opportunities for global players like Bombardier. “We expect to supply over 2,000 cars to India in the next five years. Our production facility in India already has a capacity to generate a car a day, but we can go up to 40 cars a month,” said Mr. Measson.
Referring to the company’s operations in India, he said: “Movia (the vehicle used for the Delhi Metro) is now becoming an Indian train. We are using a lot of locally procured material for the train’s manufacturing in Gujarat apart from its assembly there.”
Mr. Measson dismissed concerns about the efficiency of the trains as initial hiccups. Initial complaints about power failure inside the coaches and problems with the opening and closing of doors had raised doubts about the efficiency of the coaches. “These were initial problems. It is common in a project of this size and complexity; there were issues of interface interpretation that have now been resolved.”
He said the vehicles are performing well with reliability and availability levels already approaching targets even as only 40 per cent of the fleet is in service. Working around a challenging schedule, the company official said being part of the Delhi Metro “since its infancy” has given them an edge too. The first car delivered for the Delhi Metro was at the end of 19 months, “a great achievement as industry standards average is 24 months.”
“The complexity of the project is tremendous; DMRC has undertaken an incredible task. Many other cities would have taken 3 to 5 times more time to implement the system, while pulling off perfectly together: civil works, vehicles, signalling system, telecommunications etc.,” said Mr. Measson.
He said the company too has pulled out all stops to ensure that the demand for cars for the crucial second phase is met. According to the company over 150 Bombardier engineers from 18 nationalities around the world are involved in the project.