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Alstom starts production of driverless trains for metro network in India

Alstom, a French multinational train manufacturer, has started the production of its driverless Metropolis trainsets for the Chennai Metro Phase II from its manufacturing facility in Sricity.

This order aims to deliver 36 metro trainsets, each comprising of three cars, and capable of operating at a top speed of 80 kmph. These trains are designed to run on the 26 km corridor, a segment of Phase II linking Poonamallee Bypass to Light House via 28 stations (18 elevated and 10 underground).

The production was commenced at a commemorative ceremony led by leaders from Chennai Metro Rail, and Alstom India.

The project is valued at 124 million euros, which also includes training of the personnel to Chennai Metro for operation and maintenance. With 25 KV power supply for optimal energy efficiency, Alstom’s Metropolis metros will ensure safe and reliable passenger transport for over 11 million citizens of the city.

Additionally, the overall project will significantly contribute towards the socio-economic development by connecting key zones.

Mr M.A. Siddique, managing director of CMRL said, “Chennai Metro has established itself as a cornerstone of efficient and reliable transportation for our citizens. It not only boosts the economy by improving connectivity but also champions sustainable mobility by reducing emissions and de-congesting roads.

“CMRL will be introducing driverless trains in Phase II. These modern trains prioritize safety and passenger comfort, further elevating the commuting experience. We are happy that out first set of driverless trains will be manufactured near Chennai by Alstom.

“We look forward to operating these technologically advanced trains on the Phase II network by end of 2025, marking a significant milestone for the city’s transportation infrastructure.”

Olivier Loison, managing director, Alstom India says: “We have a long-standing association with Chennai Metro, for over a decade. The rolling stock order for Chennai Metro Phase I marked the beginning of our manufacturing journey in India.

“As we begin production for the second phase, we are thrilled to be bringing more innovation to Chennai Metro that promises to redefine the commuting experience for the residents of Chennai.”

Rolling stock highlights of the trains for Chennai Metro Phase II

The metro system boasts impressive features, including three-car trains accommodating up to 1000 passengers, ensuring a seamless boarding experience with wide internal gangways. The air-conditioned environment prioritizes comfort, with dedicated spaces for women and differently abled individuals.

Dedicated to creating a women-friendly travel experience, the new metro introduces special features catering to the comfort and safety of female passengers. One entire car reserve 2/3rd of its space as a designated ladies’ section.

Recognizing the importance of accessibility, distinct colours mark grab handles within this area, and their installation at a lower height ensures easy access.

Perch seats will offer support for standing passengers, complemented by enhanced security through CCTV cameras. Safety remains paramount with emergency evacuation doors and strategically placed fire extinguishers.

The system is equipped with obstacle and detrainment detectors for swift issue resolution, and it emphasizes sustainability with regenerative electric braking for enhanced energy efficiency.

These driverless trains are equipped with advanced passenger announcement systems, ensuring timely updates and information dissemination throughout the journey. The new metro is set to redefine urban transportation with a focus on comfort, safety, and environmental responsibility.

Design highlights of the trains for Chennai Metro Phase II

Inspired by the graceful “Mudras” of the Indian classical dance form, Bharatnatyam, the exterior front mask forms a unique and culturally rich design. The saloon draught screen (the glass support against every corner seat in the metro) pattern pays homage to Tamil Nadu’s traditional decorative art form, known as “Kolam”.

These trains will be the first in India to introduce Perch seats, enhancing passenger experience and comfort. The colour palette is based on the region’s landscape, architecture, state heritage, vibrant communities, rich traditions, diverse art, and cultural expressions.

These metro train sets are engineered and designed to operate driverless with Unattended Train Operations (UTO). The metro coaches are equipped with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and Automatic Train Protection (ATP), along with a regenerative braking system, ensuring substantial energy conservation.

Featuring GOA 4 driverless features, these trains will offer an environmentally friendly and comfortable metro solution for passengers of Chennai.

Alstom had also manufactured and delivered 208 metro cars for the 54km of first phase and Extension of Corridor-I from Airport to Wimco Nagar and Corridor-II from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount.

In addition to this, the company has also successfully designed, tested, and commissioned the track-works covering 45 kms of corridors I & II for the Chennai Metro.

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