The Kolkata Metro is one of the oldest underground rail systems in the city. Started in the 80s, it has been the lifeline of the city–a transportation network that is now expanding and modernising itself, according to a report from The Times of India.
The Kolkata Metro is all set to bear a futuristic avatar. The East-West metro line is getting technologically-advanced coaches from Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). The Bengaluru-based body will supply 14 six-coach rakes to the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC).
As per BEML, these coaches are similar to bullet train coaches. The only difference is that the Kolkata metro coaches will be made of aluminium instead of steel.
DK Hota, Chairman and Managing Director, BEML, told the publication that the National High-Speed Rail Corporation is looking at Hitachi, Kawasaki and Mitsubishi for around 240 coaches by 2022-23. BEML has tied up with Hitachi, and BHEL is collaborating with Kawasaki.
BEML has an illustrious past, building railway coaches, and according to DK Hota, the public-sector undertaking is the oldest coach manufacturer in India with nearly 45% of all metro coaches in the country made by BEML. The Chairman was proud that despite facing international competition, the BEML coaches are at par with any other in the world.
Riding in a BEML coach is an experience in itself, according to another official, who added that positive feedback has come for the coaches from all locations, and Kolkata will soon get to experience the new coach.
The process has already begun with three of the coaches already reaching the city, and undergoing trials. The fourth coach will arrive this month. By January 2019, the KMRC plans to start commercial runs between Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium.
Earlier too, the Kolkata Metro had commissioned coaches from BEML. These were six coaches automated with latest features like push-button start and stop, advanced automation, track-synced safe signalling, and a remote operation hub that operates like an airport’s ATC tower. Read about those rakes here.
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The step of introducing modern rakes on the East-West metro is one among many measures that the Kolkata metro has been taking to improve the passenger experience. In 2017, the metro authorities launched an app that would allow mobile-based ticketing, thus cutting down on passenger queues.
Well, given that the Metro covers a considerable part of the city and is a daily commute for many, such measures could ensure a smoother experience for the people.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)