It’s clear that by the time Metro tracks are up, there won’t be any coaches ready for trial run.
Re-tendering contract to supply 75 Kochi Metro Rail coaches will delay the project by four months. But the metro stakeholders are keen to abide by deadlines for civil works, track-laying and allied systems.
“The delay will impact integrated trial of coaches in Aluva-Palarivattom route, initially scheduled from August 2015. With retendering process on, the proposed integration of coaches with tracks, third traction (sourcing power from third rail) and signal systems can be done only by 2015-end or early 2016,” metro sources said.
Aimed at ensuring arrival of the first lot of coaches for trial run in the Aluva-Palarivattom stretch in August 2015, DMRC had fixed February as the deadline for shortlisting a firm to supply coaches within 83 weeks. Fifty per cent of the works at Muttom coach maintenance depot too were scheduled to be over by year-end keeping this in mind.
In January, the Principal Advisor to DMRC, E. Sreedharan, stated that 75 per cent of pillars and 50 per cent metro stations would be ready this year, following which track-linking works would commence by year-end.
KMRL sought a re-tender for supply of coaches after a couple of firms complained that they were unable to participate in the bidding due to the ‘rigid’ technical specifications of DMRC (like specifying the coach width as 2.90 metres). Only Hyundai Rotem was in the fray after a Chinese firm that participated in bidding did not qualify.
“The decision to re-tender was taken to encourage more bidders to participate. Apart from Koreans, we hope to have bidders from Japan and the West too. Care will be taken to ensure that the bidder shortlisted will supply coaches that have a ‘crush load’ capacity of 300 people in ‘extreme’ situations, even if coaches supplied by them are not as wide as 2.9 metres.