With more projects being implemented across various cities, the metro rail sector is picking up speed in India. This has thrown open new opportunities as well as challenges for construction companies, metro operators and vendors. Each metro project offers its own set of challenges which demand better technologies and latest machines. As a number of metro projects are coming up in India, Construction Week looks at various solutions adopted by construction companies and operators. For example, rakes of the Hyderabad metro rail project which are being built by L&T will use regenerative electric braking that converts momentum into electrical energy and feeds it back to the power supply system while braking. As a contribution towards the Clean Development Mechanism, this will reduce the energy requirement from the grid.
The Hyderabad Metro will also be using advanced signalling and train control technology, communication based train control (CBTC) to control the rakes. It would be the first in India to claim train control by CBTC technology. VB Gadgil, chief executive and managing director, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, said, “The Hyderabad metro rail project is using track master – a unique instrument to check the parameters of the track and to enhance the quality of track installation. This has been procured from Trimble USA. This instrument is being used in India for the second time after Chennai; L&T is the first to introduce this technology in India, both in Chennai and Hyderabad.”
He further said that the Hyderabad metro rail project has adopted a simulation study-based track design. “This type of track design is being adopted for the first time in the country. In this process, prior to the track design, the probable speed of the train at a particular stretch is determined by carrying out a simulation study. Based on this data, the track is accordingly designed only for that particular speed on that particular stretch. This avoids designing the track for much higher speeds than required,” he added.
For the Mumbai metro which is being constructed by the Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium, it was a different kind of challenge. It had to build two bridges which was the first-of-its-kind in India. One is a 1,284-metre steel bridge modelled on the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata and crosses the Western suburban railway line at Andheri. The bride was earlier planned to be made of concrete but later it was decided to be built of steel. One of the major challenges the project faced was to build a pillar in the middle of the tracks without restricting train traffic even for a day. The pre-fabricated steel bridge was built in a record 288 days.
Another innovative thing the Mumbai metro project did is a 175-metre long cable-stayed bridge over the on the Western Express Highway. The bridge is said to be the first and highest cable-stayed bridge for a metro in Asia. And it is also Mumbai’s second cable-stayed bridge after the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. It was a very challenging task to build the bridge above 21 metres above the ground over one of the busiest junctions in the city.
The steel cables which hold and support the bridge are anchored to two Y-shaped pylons that weigh over 1,000 tonnes.
The construction companies’ quest to build smart metro projects would not have been fulfilled without the existence of an innovative solution. Honeywell Building Solutions, for example, was tasked with providing a solution to Delhi Metro that can monitor and control all electrical, (station lighting, hydraulic systems, DG sets, UPS etc), ventilation and air-conditioning systems under both normal and emergency conditions in all stations.
From an operational perspective, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation specification requirements were that the products installed must be robust and reliable, and that after project completion a reliable commissioning programme should be implemented to ensure the system functioned properly without any breakdown.
Honeywell says that it has, through various EPC contractors, delivered a number of tunnel ventilation systems (TVS), environmental control systems (ECS) — building management systems.
Honeywell Building Solutions provided a customised GUI and central group control (Mode) command to tackle various emergency and normal operation scenarios.
When it comes to public spaces like metro stations, the elevators and escalators that are required to be installed are different from what are used in residences and commercial spaces. Otis Elevator Company (India) says it offers solutions that are specially designed and adapted for use in public spaces considering the heavy traffic it caters to throughout the day. These systems are designed to be robust, reliable, offer enhanced longevity and better resistance to wear and tear.
Otis was recently awarded the elevators and escalators contract for Hyderabad Metro Rail Project by L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd (LTMRHL). Otis will supply and install a total of 670 elevators and escalators for the project.
“The solutions that Otis offers metros today are a combination of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
In our recently won metro projects we will employ the Otis’ Gen2 Premier elevator system that will offer a combination of energy efficiency, reliability and enhanced passenger safety and comfort,” says Sebi Joseph, managing director, Otis India.
He says that the Gen2 Premier elevator system is equipped with the innovative Gen2 flat belt system that replaces conventional steel ropes. The elevator’s compact size eliminates the need for a machine room. “Gen2 elevators equipped with the energy-conserving technology of Otis’ ReGen drives are capable of reducing energy usage by up to 75% when compared to conventional systems with non-regenerative drives.
ReGen drives reduce energy usage by capturing energy normally dissipated as heat during braking and then feeds this energy back into the buildings’ internal electricals for use by other building systems such as adjacent elevators and lighting,” Joseph adds.
In addition to the Hyderabad Metro, Otis India has been contracted to supply and install 222 units of escalators (520NPE-L model) for phase III of the Delhi Metro project. Metro projects that include not only coaches, tracks and signalling but also a gamut of other things such as stations, roofing, ticketing and display systems, create huge opportunities for allied industries and suppliers. These suppliers and vendors have a major role to play in the success of metro projects. For example, Jindal ARC, which has been associated with the major metro projects such as Delhi and Jaipur Metro besides others, offers a comprehensive range of engineered and fabricated products such as battery box, cold-rolled for roof and floor and architectural products such as grab poles that metro projects use for strength and safety.
“India will see humongous opportunities in this space over the coming years. There are several projects that are underway and quite a few on the drawing board which would be rolled out soon. Today, India is a hub of activities in this sector wherein several world-class organisations from various parts of the world are on standby to grab a share of business,” Rajiv Upadhyay, chief operating officer, Jindal ARC.
Jindal ARC has evolved in its journey of excellence by continuously launching new products and solutions. “We have been able to provide our customers with unique solutions as an alternate to the existing products thereby increasing the lifecycle value,” he adds.
Urbanisation is a key driver that will boost the need for living space and infrastructure.
According to some estimates, Indian cities are expected to house a 59 crore population or 40% of the population by 2030. As the need for infrastructure grows with urbanisation, the market for metro rail equipment will grow just as rapidly.