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High-speed revolution


For more than half a century, Mumbai was the only city with a functional – and hugely overloaded – mass transit system. Then a few years ago came the Delhi Metro, which became India’s urban-transport trendsetter, sparking modern metro rail construction in at least 10 other Indian cities. It’s generally believed that urban transport systems will soon become the lifeline for commuters across numerous cities soon.
In this light, ITP Publishing India organised the 4th Annual Metro Rail India Summit on February 20, 2015, at Shangri-La in New Delhi. One of the reasons the event has seen large participation is because it’s the only platform where delegates to the event can actively interact with industry peers, not to forget that it is the only platform of its kind that addresses several problems that metros across the country face.
In his welcome note, Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Publishing India, said that since the last few decades numerous state governments have taken an initiative to build metro rail in their cities.“In the next five years, the Indian railway market will be the third largest, accounting for 10% of the global market and Metro Rail is going to be 70% of the railway market in India,” he added.
Sandeep Khurana, associate VP, Havells, the presenting partner for the event, praised the participants who contribute directly or indirectly to the Indian economy. Khurana said that Havells as a $1.3 billion dollar multinational company accrues 60% of its turnover globally through lighting. Stressing on the Make in India concept, he said that about 90% of what the company markets and sell globally are made in-house. “As a company, we are keen to fraternise with a group of people who believe in providing and executing solutions as far as metro projects go.”
Metro Rail expert and ex-secretary, ministry of urban development, government of India, Dr Sudhir Krishna spoke on how the government and authorities can make metro rail work. “Urban transport is a state subject and the system is subject to numerous permissions. Some initial impediments faced are at the DPR stage and financing. Authorities should take up metro rail projects only if it’s viable. Otherwise at the project execution stage, one finds issues like land acquisition, traffic diversion, alignments, etc.”
A criterion that authorities executing metro rails must keep in mind is how it can enhance the beauty of the city. While having debris around is unavoidable, but when the final work is completed it should add to the city’s magnificence.
In his presentation, Narinder Mehta, sr. manager, Havells, said, that the Make in India concept is working strongly at Havells. “And this idea comes from the founder chairman of Havells who believes that if the mind can conceive an idea, and the heart can believe it then one can achieve anything.”
For Havells, besides stressing on the technology factor, manufacturing right is important. The company acquired Sylvania, the fourth largest electrical company globally, in 2007. It garners 45% of its business from wires and cables. Lighting is a forte for the company. Mehta expounded on the thermal management of luminaires, the quality of LEDs, using quality components, among other things. It has designed an exclusive range of lighting for metro rail alone.
AK Basu, director, sales, GERB, spoke about how his company has specialised in low-frequency mass spring systems to mitigate the vibrations transmited to buildings close to the metro stations. Mass spring systems are placed discretely at calculated spaces thus making it a floating slab so that when the rolling stock rolls over the tracks it reduces vibrations. “Some of these vibrations are ground borne, some structure borne, and some air borne. Of this, structure borne can be heard over long distances. Another major application that we deal with is the damping of structures like bridges, buildings and stadiums with Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD),” he added. GERB provides design, engineering, R&D, hardware and installation as part of its activities.
Saumen Bhaumik, GM, specifier management & lighting applications, Philips India explained how the company has been associated with metro projects since the first one was set up at Kolkata some 35 years ago. The company has created lighting marvels. With rapid urbanisation, it is predicted that 75% of the global population will be living in cities in a few decades. So public transportation needs to be enhanced. “Lighting plays an important role for metro projects. Besides being sustainable, it also needs to be visually appealing,” he said.

The first panel discussion, Project Management, saw a fair exchange of ideas from panellists on project management expertise and ways to minimise project costs and understand the preliminary activities to be taken up before a large infrastructure project can be started.
Panellists for the session were: Daljit Singh, director, works & infra, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation; MP Naidu, director, projects, L&T Metro (Hyderabad) Limited; and Sunil Darade, chief engineer, special projects, Cidco, Navi Mumbai Metro. The discussion was moderated by Pradeep Menon, deputy GM, Havells.
Menon asked the panellists on how companies can work towards effective project management. Daljit Singh said that with the number of metros coming up, there is a dearth of people to attend to contract management. “An efficient project management team will help avoid land acquisition hurdles and legal issues. The project management team should be involved from the planning stage.”
MP Naidu said that metro projects by nature are complex. In terms of civil engineering and technology, there is much to keep abreast of. Citing an example of the Hyderabad Metro, he said that using the right signalling technology was something the team debated on for long.
Sunil Darade explained that any project has to fulfil three criteria: In time, within the budget and as per the stipulated quality. “Execution is tough. As far as Cidco is concerned, we do not have a separate corporation like other metro projects have. For us, getting the DPR was crucial. Since we had the land parcel under control, working on its alignment was up to us. Autonomy to developers is also a must. This helps them to take care of the business model.” A takeaway from the Navi Mumbai metro is that the company combined all the contracts into one turnkey contract thus enabling them to look at one single company for interfaces and integration.
During the Q&A round, Bharat Indu Singal, DG, Institute of Urban Transport, who had worked on the Hong Kong metro project said that their mantra was the three As – Approach, Anticipation and Attitude. The approach to a metro project must be correct. Anticipate problems and don’t wait for them to crop up.
Naidu said that since most of the metros run through the main cities, identifying issues such as pipelines, electrical works and bypassing them is a concern. Even after acquiring the concession for the viaduct the next problem is getting reliable power and integration of systems.
Often, timelines are not adhered to because of interference from political hurdles and technical glitches. Decision makers ought to be part of every decision at every stage. This will keep costs appropriate.
Neeraj Jain, former project head of Mumbai Metro Line 2, from the audience, said that a clause that should be inserted in a PPP project is that any added cost, other than taxes that are upfront, should be borne by the government. Most of the times cost go high when you seek approvals. There should be a simple mechanism that will allow the government to foresee this extra cost and bear it too. That will simplify the project execution a great deal.
Darade added that with around 40 to 50 metros in the pipeline, it would not be feasible for all states to set up metro corporations or a complete separate organisation. A certain degree of responsibility sharing by the operator or contractor will have to be worked out.
Giving his presentation as a partner, Sanjay Risbood, CEO & resident director, Getzner India, said that making a right choice of a system that will reduce vibration is important. There are more than 300 fastening systems the world over constructed by Getzner. “We all stay in the city and the metro is not for commuters. It’s for the city and its citizens. The challenge for metro developers and operators is finding a way to protect citizens from undesirable noise and vibrations. There are rail-wheel interactions, traction motors and that noise travels directly through air. The other noise is structure borne noise and that noise travels through ground or viaduct and reaches homes. The elements in the house will start rumbling. These noises affect people,” said Risbood.
These noises need to be taken off. There are undesired consequences of ground borne noises. Low frequencies will create problems for man-made structures and high frequencies for sensitive instruments. It is better to control the vibration at source. One can reduce this by introducing a designed elasticity into a track superstructure. This can come from elastic pads or helical springs. So when planning the system, the metro developer needs to know what kind of vibration mitigation system he wants to install. It has to be done before the track is constructed.
John Goodrich, global sales manager, mass communication systems, Harman International India, spoke passionately about the company. With $5.9 billion in sales, and a leading manufacturer of audio systems, Harman has three divisions: the infotainment, lifestyle and the professional division. The professional division takes care of transport and mass transit. Considering that most of the data acquired for PA systems is gathered from the tracks, Harman has devices that provide for the announcements. Going forward, one is likely to see intelligible requirements and it will be important that announcements are heard by all passengers. Considering that announcements form an important part at mass transit systems, they need to be functional. Interfacing and pushing information out to the web is executed by quite a lot of people. Making sure that you have the interfaces is what Harman does.
Dinesh Pardasani, partner, Link Legal India Law Services, stressed on the difference between EPC and PPP projects and offered hope for PPP projects. Although five projects are already being executed under PPP, the government has been stressing on EPC for some time. He admitted that generally about 80% of projects globally are EPC projects.
There are challenges for PPP projects bidders: legal framework, regulatory environment, and lack of reliable information, financial viability, lack of scope for contract renegotiation that will allow a project to continue for 30 years. “PPP should not be completely ignored. It should be case-based. An underground metro will obviously cost more than a viaduct one.”
“While the construction can be completed by the government, operations could be handed out to a private player. The government could have a stake in O&M. A regulator is a must. Lenders should be involved from inception. They need to endorse that this project is viable for next 30 years. Revenue is a most important thing for the developer. Another point to note is fixing the tariff early on,” said Pardasani.

In the second panel discussion, Role of System Integrators in Metro Rail Projects in India, panellists elaborated on how system integrators can play a vital role. The panel was moderated by Bharat Salhotra, MD, transport, Alstom. Panel members included Preetam Ganguly, customer director, transportation, Alstom; Harsh Dhingra, chief country representative & whole time director, transport, Bombardier Transportation; and Apurba Dhar, director, business development, RATP Dev Transdev India.
Salhotra spoke about how urbanisation will create a strong push for a
growing population to cities. And one way to decongest the cities is through urban transport.
Dhar said, “The role of integrator has increased because of the demands from citizens. So they seek better PA systems, escalators, safety systems, operational ease, etc and need to be integrated. So developers must look for a sound integrator who can take up this job efficiently.”
Building a metro line comes with its own risk. There’s the risk of design, and the risk of interfaces, and the risk of ultimate performance and delivery. Dhingra said, “Consider the Delhi Metro phases. They lacked the expertise in the late nineties. But over time they have gathered more than enough. The kind of responsibilities they have taken on includes ensuring that every system has an interface with the other systems. The rolling stock has an interface with signalling and communication, and electrification.”
Ganguly said, “The success of any project is delivering the project to cost and on time and by use of efficient subsystems. We have three types of models: Design and build, then there is only the design model, and finally the turnkey model where you have the entire system integration by the turnkey contractor. In the early years, you need a public authority to handle the risks associated with system integration. However, when you look at tier II and III cities, one needs to look at these things differently. Here they are talking about a light rail and these cities don’t need a full-fledged metro.”
Dhar said, “In the Navi Mumbai metro project, all the systems were packaged and the integration part is being taken care of by the lead partner. So Cidco has done a marvellous job in offloading the work to the contractor.”
In his presentation, Arbind Dubey, GM, REBS Lubrication India, spoke about the importance of wheel flange lubrication for rail vehicles. Lubrication is important since trains don’t travel in one direction only. They also move in curves. To avoid the friction that occurs, the wheels need to be lubricated. Otherwise it leads to friction and stresses the wheel thus increasing power consumption. The friction at the contact area between the wheel flanges of railway vehicles and the rails determine wheel and rail wear. Vehicle and track maintenance intervals are strongly determined by this wear process and dramatically influence the life-cycle cost of the total vehicle and the track. The lubricant that REBS recommend is a special type rapidly bio-degradable grease with 20-25% solid lubricant content in it. The lubricant, sprayed on the wheel flanges of the first axle in the direction of travel, is transferred to the rail face, thus lubricating the following wheel flanges.
The third panel discussion was a CXO power panel touching on Planning, Infrastructure, Design and trends in Metro Rail Projects in India. Panellists spoke on trends in construction, build, design perspective and global learnings. Siddharth Jashnani, country partner, Extreme Networks, moderated the session. Panellists were Abhay Mishra, CEO, Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd; VB Gadgill, chief executive and MD, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd; Bharat Salhotra, MD, transport, Alstom; and Sunil Darade, chief engineer, special projects, Cidco, Navi Mumbai Metro.
Jashnani threw his first question at Gadgil asking about how the metro can build green and environmentally friendly projects. Gadgil said that the metro by itself helps green the city. “One advantage of having the MRTS is to reduce vehicular movement. Some technologies that can be used in the metros is using the large roofing areas that we have at depots and stations and using solar energy. Trains also generate their own power when they decelerate and that can be diverted to create energy.”
Mishra said, “Metro construction is one of the most complex projects. So here the role of PMC is very important. Our experience is that if one should consider the skillsets available and conduct a proper analysis before awarding the PMC contract.”
Darade said, “The PMC role is the same across any model. When we build the metros in India, we have to bring in best practices from abroad. The consultant we hire for the job must do the checking, the design, as well as the PMC.”
Salhotra said, “If you look at the way we are constructing the metros, we need to find a way to reduce the capex and opex. The focus needs to shift from inputs to output. A question to also address is whether we are overdesigning.”
During his presentation, Priyanshu Singh, country manager, Honeywell Building Solutions, said that Honeywell in India goes back a long way when it started selling building solutions in the 1930s in the oil refining space. With an R&D centre in Bengaluru and India alone contributing $1 billion to Honeywell globally, its value proposition is installation, which includes integrated building management solutions. Alongside, the company has an energy business that looks at providing green solutions and energy performance contracting. “We have smart integrated solution for metros too such as CCTV, ECS, access control, PA with signalling, and video surveillance,” he said.
Technology is core to the company. With over 75 years of engineering expertise across a broad range of applications, sensing and control helps organisations address their design and delivery needs such as specification conformance, value added assembly, ground-up component and sub-assembly development, delivery schedule adherence, and lifecycle cost.
M Anand, principal counsellor, IGBC – CII, said the vision of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) which is part of CII, is to enable sustainable build environment for all. “Metro rail is not only for commuters, it is for the whole city. How are we going to sustain the lives of the citizens? We want India to become sustainable by 2025 by involving stakeholders, the government and the manufacturers. India today has more than 3,000 projects amounting to 2.6 billion sq-ft,” he said.
IGBC’s rating programme revolves around a holistic approach: what kind of a site you choose, how do you treat the site, water conservation, energy efficiency, material and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The rating programmes are aligned with international codes. The international airports in India have adopted our rating programmes. So also the metros. We engaged all the stakeholders to launch this programme.
Prashant Waghmare, quality manager, Bonatrans, said as the largest European wheel set manufacturing company, Bonatrans is opening its second plant in Aurangabad this year. A major manufacturer of railway wheelsets in Europe, Bonatrans has share of about 35% share in European market and has already been supplying wheelsets to Indian Railways since many years. The company has its own research and design department. New product designs are developed through mathematic modelling of the actual loading of wheels and axles (finite element method, modal analysis, etc.). However, mathematic models would be useless without knowing the properties of material that is being simulated. Models used in development by Bonatrans are based on a valuable information database.
The last panel discussion focussed on Operations & Maintenance. It was moderated by Alpna Khera, advisor, growth markets, Keolis International. Panel members included Ramesh Kumar, executive director, rolling stock, Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation; L Narasim Prasad, director, systems & operations, Chennai Metro Rail; Jean Pierre Deghaye, director, business development, Keolis International; Parveen Kumar, director, operations, Rapid Metrorail Gurgaon Ltd, IL&FS Rail Limited; and Ashutosh Singh, GM, rolling stock & electricals, Kochi Metro Rail.
Khera began the session with explaining why O&M should play an important role especially in the case of metros. Kumar said that Jaipur Metro Rail is going for an in-house maintenance. He believes that O&M should be taken up from the beginning. Prasad added that Chennai Metro is a little unique in the sense that it has more underground than elevated in its 45km stretch. It had the unique distinction among the public sector metro to plan for O&M through an outsourcing model. It engaged the World Bank along with other companies.
Deghaye said that he was happy to have been selected by L&T Hyderabad as their operator. Ensuring that design, operating cost and security was optimal was a main criteria. Keolis has been able to help the concessionaire to optimise costs too.
Kumar said that O&M thought should arise at the concept stage itself. The planning of the terminal layouts, the facilities, fleet size, etc helps in reducing capex. Since service trials are conducted early on, O&M could be made aware of the requirements. Singh said that Kochi Metro operations are expected to start in June 2016. They are looking for a mixed type of O&M activity, which will include outsourcing and executing a part in-house.
In his closing speech, Bibhor Srivastava thanked the delegates, the participants and the team for organising the event. The evening ended with felicitating the metro operators and with cocktails and dinner.

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