Only two contenders in the fray for bagging contract to supply coaches

With only two bidders in the fray for a global tender floated in July by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to design, manufacture, supply, test, commission and train drivers of 75 standard gauge metro coaches, the possibility of a single firm bagging the contract is high.

However, that will not be at the cost of quality and a reasonable price tag, sources associated with the Kochi Metro project have said.

Of the two bidders, Hyundai Rotem supplies coaches for Delhi and Hyderabad metros. China CNR Corporation is the newcomer in the fray as bids were opened on Tuesday.

“Even if there is only a sole bidder for supplying coaches, we will ensure that they do not exceed our estimated price for coaches. Steps will also be taken to ensure that coaches abide by quality and safety norms,” sources said.

Only two firms responded to the tender despite coach width being relaxed from the earlier 2.9 metres — opposed to by firms manufacturing coaches with differing width — to ‘up to 2.9 metre width’, a provision that was inserted to ensure global competition.

Stipulations like track width and platform specification remained the same.

The coaches are expected to arrive by December 31, 2015 as per the target set by the DMRC to commence trial runs in the metro alignment. They must be able to attain speed of up to 90 km per hour. The average speed will be 35 to 40 km per hour as stations are located at a distance of roughly a kilometre from each other.

To a question on when the bid would be finalised, sources said the tender committee would take a decision after looking into technical and other parameters. The shortlisted firm will most likely bag the order for metro’s subsequent phases to Kakkanad and international airport since similar coaches will have to be operated in those reaches. Both the DMRC and the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) are keen to have coaches that can negotiate curves along the metro alignment at steady speed. All trains will be able to move without a driver at a later stage, after a few systems are upgraded.

The expected per-head fare is a minimum of Rs. 15 and a maximum of Rs. 30. An automatic fare collection system using a combination of smart cards and computerised tickets is being planned. The Aluva-M.G. Road-Pettah journey is expected to be covered in 45 minutes.  

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