Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mumbai Metro; Mumbai Metro One Private Limited; Mumbai Metro Plans and Updates

Greater Mumbai is the financial capital of India and the heart of its commercial and trade activities. Mumbai has the advantage of a high modal share of the public (88%) in favour of a public mass transport system. The existing Mumbai Suburban Railway is carries over 6.94 million passengers every day, and is supplemented by the BEST bus system, which provides feeder services to station-going passengers to allow them to complete their journeys. However, due to the city’s geographical constraints and rapid population growth, road and rail infrastructure development has not been able to keep pace with growing demand over the past several decades. Thus the overstretched rail and road networks compelled the authorities to look for alternate mode of rapid mass transport system. 

Though extensive, the Mumbai Suburban Railway is not built to rapid transit specifications. In May 2003, the original Mumbai rapid-transit plan was updated to include an elevated 10-kilometre LRT system, to be built between Andheri and Ghatkopar via Asapha, Marol, Chakala and Saki Naka. In January 2004, a master transit plan was unveiled by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The plan integrated a 146-kilometer-long metro system, of which 32 km is underground. In June 2004, government approval was given for a 13-station elevated light rail line between Ghatkopar and Versova. The foundation-stone-laying ceremony was held on 21 June 2006. Work on the 11-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, a part of Phase I, began on 8 February 2008. Construction of the route is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, but construction issues may delay its completion until 2012.

The project

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) planned the Mumbai Metro to be a 146.5km rail-based mass rapid transit system.

The project's master plan execution has been planned in three phases. Phase I covers a total length of 62.68km. It includes the 11.07km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar route, the 38.24km Colaba-Bandra-Charkop route and the 13.37km Bandra-Kurla-Mankhurd route.

Phase II has been planned to cover the 7.5km Charkop-Dahisar route and the 12.4km Ghatkopar-Mulund route. Phase II will be executed in 2011-2016. 

Phase III will include the development of the 19.5km BKC-Kanjur Marg via Airport route, the 18km Andheri East-Dahisar East route, the 21.8km Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar route and the 3.5km Sewri–Prabhadevi route. Phase III will be executed in 2016–2021.

In June 2006, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh laid the first stone for the first phase of of the Mumbai Metro, which comprises a three line high-capacity metro system spanning 63km.
When it opens, the new system will slash journey times on the 11km east-west corridor from 90 minutes to just 21, crossing densely populated areas and major industrial locations.

Phase I of the metro project will be implemented on a Build – Operate – Transfer (BOT) for a 35-year period. The phase includes construction of three metro lines. A consortium led by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Reliance Energy Ltd (REL) along with Veolia Transport Co. and with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) secured the contract for the Rs 2,356 crore (US $ 525.39 million) Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor. Work has already begun on this line, which should be completed by 2012, with Simplex Infrastructures Ltd carrying out construction. The other corridors in the first phase include the 38-km Colaba-Mahim-Charkop route and the 14-km Bandra-Kurla-Mankhurd route. The cost of the project will be shared by the central and state governments.

The Andheri-Kurla Road is one of the busiest roads in the country - the Metro will thus be a relief for millions of commuters, especially during the monsoon season, when driving can become highly difficult. There is as yet little clarity regarding plans determining the actual system to be put in place for traffic management, management of passenger inflow/outflow at each station, and vehicle pile-up at each station. This is a critical issue, since the Andheri-Kurla road is often heavily congested, and an addition of people and vehicles without a dedicated management plan would lead to severe traffic jams.

A special purpose vehicle, Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, was created by RIIL for implementing Phase I.

Phase II, which will connect Charkop, Bandra and Mankhurd, has been awarded to the consortium made up of RIIL, SNC Lavolin Inc, Canada and Reliance Communication. The contract, in which the consortium was the only bidder, was awarded in August 2009, at a fee of INR110bn (approximately $2.3bn). RIIL expects the Phase II route to be operational by 2015, although the execution plan indicates project completion for 2016.

The third metro line (Phase III) is still underway and consists of two elevated and 14 underground stations.

In February 2009, plans were made to construct shopping complexes, and the MMRDA called for investment for these plans.


The first 11km route of the Mumbai metro will run east-west through the city between Versova and Ghatkoper, with 12 stations, and entirely on an elevated formation. With such freedom and the capacity to handle 60,000 passengers per hour, it will cut journey times through the densely populated areas.

Construction of Line 1 was due to start in late 2006, but financial issues surrounding the granting of viability gap funding delayed the progress from November 2006. Construction finally began in February 2008. In June 2009, a construction control room was set up for the VAG corridor.

RIIL aims to complete the construction in three years, and expects to open the line in 2011. However, the first route is far from the end of the plans. A second phase will aim for two further lines reaching a total of 63km, but the ultimate plan is for a network spanning 146.5km. This could cost Rs195bn, and include 114km of elevated running plus 32.5km of underground operation.

In line with the Railway Ministry's standards, the Mumbai Metro will be built using the standard broad gauge of Indian Railways – 1,676mm gauge – throughout.
The system will have a major effect on the prosperity of Mumbai. Even though major ground works have not commenced yet, there is already speculation that property prices along the metro routes will rise significantly over the coming years.

Rolling stock

RIIL consulted major rolling stock builders to provide the new train fleet for Mumbai Metro. CSR Nanjing China was chosen as the supplier of rolling stock. Kawasaki (Japan), Alstom (France), Siemens (Germany) and Bombardier were all on the list of potential train builders, having produced vehicles for metro systems around the world.
For passenger comfort, the trains will feature air-conditioning, and the aim is to develop trains capable of carrying up to 1,500 passengers in a four-car unit.

With the input of the Delhi Metro Corporation and Hong Kong MRT, the new trains are likely to follow similar standards to those already in operation in those cities.

A fleet of 18 locomotives from CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock will be delivered in 2010. The trains will be supplied as part of a $100m contract signed by CSR in May 2008. These will be the first domestically produced Chinese trains delivered to India.

Signalling and communications

Mumbai Metro will feature the latest signalling technology, including automatic train protection (ATP) and automated signalling to control the high-volume of train movements on the 11km route.

A four-minute interval service is anticipated on the route.

Siemens will supply the signalling systems required for the project, while Thales will supply the required communication systems.


The project is focusing on the development of an environmentally friendly system to become Asia's first Green Metro right from the construction stage.

A detailed environmental impact assessment and feasibility study to certify the project for LEED have been undertaken.

The future

Even though work is only just starting on the first line of the Mumbai Metro, ambitious plans are in place to establish the system into a nine-line network by 2021. Three phases of development are expected, with the first line opening in 2011, further routes in 2016, and completion coming five years later.