From Concept to Reality: The Journey of Meerut Metro Unveiled

A stroll into Meerut’s dream of world-class urban mobility coupled with its major constituents of the economic and social sphere. 

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Introduction 

The city of Meerut, falling in the state of Uttar Pradesh, finds its space in the tapestry of the Indian subcontinent not only through the epics of Ramayana and the ruins of Mahabharata but also through the spirit of our Independence Struggle in the nineties. The land of Meerut remains the eyewitness of India’s first leap into the independence struggle in 1857 further making it a highly charged political ground for the politicians today. Its historical, geographical & economic layers entail deep intricacies that make it a highly attractive and productive piece of land for India. 

Its historical intricacies entail not only the components of Mahabharata, Ramayana & Buddhism but also the ruins of the ancient Harappan Civilisation which has been inscribed in the books of History as “Alamgirpur”. The excavations held so far have witnessed the Remains of Buddhist Architecture at, major locations in the city. It doesn’t end there. It comes to the formulation of the Constitution-making committee by the Indian National Congress in 1946 at Victoria Park in Meerut, keeping the throbbing of the blood named rebel & revolution alive. 

The city is situated roughly 60 miles to the northeast of the National Capital- Delhi. It is the largest city in NCR after Delhi, holding the title of “Sports City of India”. Besides all this, Meerut is one of the fastest-growing urban centers in India. Meerut isn’t just experiencing rapid growth–it’s a powerhouse of production and commerce. This fast-developing city boasts the title of India’s largest sports goods manufacturer, and its reach extends far beyond the playing field. From gleaming gold markets, one of the largest in Asia, to the intricate craftsmanship of scissors and musical instruments, Meerut’s industries hum with activity.

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As India’s top producer of refined sugar, the city’s influence extends to the national palate. With major infrastructure projects like the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and expressways connecting it to Delhi, Meerut is poised to become a leading logistics hub in western Uttar Pradesh. In short, Meerut is a city where tradition meets innovation, creating a dynamic environment for business and industry. Other than this, it is among the cities accounting for a transition into the first-world countries that India is pursuing at a rapid pace. 

Having a booming economy and heavy business presence along with multi-fold projects in the pipeline set to transform the city into an urban center underlines India’s commitment to growth and aspirations. Meerut Metro is an ideal epitomisation of the city’s aspirations & possibilities transforming the paradigm of Connectivity in Meerut. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this transformation. 

Approval & DPR 

The traces for the conceptualization of the Meerut metro project can be found in the early 2010s with the Governments of India and Uttar Pradesh proposing the same for the city and also proposing to integrate it with the transport systems of NCR. Later Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) completed the feasibility study for the same in 2015 and also submitted the reports further in 2016. Further, UPMRC was given the responsibility of bringing all the stakeholders into one place and further operationalizing it once completed. 

The project officially commenced following the laying of the foundation stone by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 March 2019, concurrent with the Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS). Construction for both initiatives commenced in June of the same year. The slated completion date for the project is June 2025.

Proposal            ->            DPR Submission       ->           Foundation Stone          ->       Operationalization     2010                                  2016                                     2019                                         2025 

Metro Lines 

  1. Line-1: Meerut South– Modipuram

Length: 23.6 km

Owner: National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC)

Status: Under Construction

Type: Elevated 14.8 km & Underground 8.8 km

Depot: Modipuram Depot

Number of Stations: 13

Station Names: Meerut South, Partapur, Rithani, Shatabdi Nagar, Brahmapuri, Meerut Central, Bhaisali, Begum Pul, MES Colony, Daurli, Meerut North and Modipuram.

Note: This line’s construction will be integrated with the construction of the 82 km Delhi–Meerut Smart Line (RRTS). The stations highlighted in bold will be incorporated into the RRTS system, while local metro trains will serve the others.

Latest Update: 

As of the latest update, Alstom has successfully delivered the first trainsets to be used on the line for Commercial Operations on 16th Feb 2024. It is one of the fastest metros and the first with an aerodynamic front in India. 

While the Meerut South station was slated for inauguration in the series of inaugurating RRTS stretch from Duhai to Meerut South Station, only the stretch from Duhai to Modinagar was inaugurated leaving the Meerut South station owing to some work pending on the stretch. 

  1. Line-2: Shradhapuri Phase II – Jagriti Vihar

Length: 15 km

Owner: Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Limited (UPMRCL

Status: Proposed

Type: Elevated (10.7 km) and Underground (4.3 km)

Number of Stations: 13

Station Names: Sharadhapuri Phase 2, Kanker Khera, Meerut Cantt. Railway Station, Rajban Bazar, Begumpul, Baccha Park, Shahpeer Gate, Hapur Adda Chauraha, Gandhi Ashram, Mangal Pandey Nagar, Tej Grahi, Medical College, Jagruti Extension

Latest Update: 

As of the latest update, “the project is on hold pending approval of the new DPR tender.”

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Latest Development 

One of the notable developments that the Meerut metro has witnessed in the past few months is the delivery of its rolling stock by Alstom after it (formerly Bombardier- as Alstom acquired it) was awarded the contract in 2020 by NCRTC. It took the designated company more than 3 years to produce and deliver the train sets for the Meerut metro which has got some amazing features. Some of these are: 

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  1. The train has 10 sets, each with 3 cars, for a total of 30 cars.
  2. These resemble the appearance of conformist metro trains. 
  3. These have been designed for a maximum speed of 135 km/h (84 mph) and an operational speed of 120 km/h (75 mph)- making them the fastest metro in India. 
  4. Offer designated parking for wheelchairs and a dedicated space for emergency medical transfers
  5. The Meerut Metro trains will have selective door openings via Push buttons. 

The rolling stock is being manufactured by Alstom at an average cost of Rs. 2577 crore by NCRTC. French railway giant Alstom is manufacturing and delivering the metro trains from its Savli facility in Vadodara, Gujarat.

Notable Features of the Metro 

This section will get you a stroll into the notable features of the Meerut Metro ranging from its platforms to integration with the RRTS and being the fastest metro of India. 

  1. Integration with RRTS System:  The metro will be the first rapid transit system in India to be directly integrated and merged with a regional transit system on one single corridor. This means it Will run parallel along the RRTS on a single corridor. As a matter of operations & execution, 4 Stations will be integrated with the RRTS, while the rest will be serviced by local metro trains. This will increase the accessibility & interoperability of the Metro and also make it a first choice among commuters because of integration. This would also benefit the commuters of the Entire NCR as the RRTS further connects with the Delhi Metro’s Blue & Pink Line. 

The step aims to benefit the RRTS towards reaching an effective operational threshold by connecting to the major locations in Meerut. This would increase the attractiveness of the entire RRTS system and also its ridership & revenue figures. 

  1. The Fastest Metro: The metro would be the fastest metro to run in India. It would run at an operational speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). This aims to align the metro system to be logically integrated with the RRTS system using its speed. While it doesn’t equalize the speed of RRTS but reaches the maximum that a metro can in India owing to its limitations of distance between the stations and also the clearances. 

Reaching Speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) in operation and designed for a maximum of 135 km/h (84 mph), these trains become India’s second-fastest rapid transit system, trailing only the Delhi-Meerut RRTS’ Namo Bharat trains with their top speed of 180 km/h (110 mph).

  1. Unique Rolling Stock: The Meerut Metro trains are designed with both comfort and innovation in mind. Borrowing design elements from the Namo Bharat trains, they boast a sleek, aerodynamic structure and comfortable seating – a first for India in terms of metro train design. Accessibility is a priority, with dedicated seating and onboard wheelchairs catering to passengers with physical challenges. 

Passenger safety and awareness are ensured through CCTV cameras, informative displays, fire alarms, and window blinders. Spacious interiors with enhanced passage space contribute to a comfortable and less crowded travel experience. The rolling stock, built upon Alstom’s globally renowned Adessia commuter train family, incorporates advanced technology. To further enhance passenger flow and efficiency, the trains feature selective door operation activated by push buttons.

Challenges & Considerations 

The Meerut Metro project presents several exciting features but also some potential operational challenges to consider, which are: 

1. Coordination Between NCRTC and UPMRC: The project is built by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) but will be operated by the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Limited (UPMRC). This division of responsibility between two separate entities could lead to challenges in:

a. Standardization of Procedures: Ensuring smooth operations requires consistent protocols for maintenance, ticketing, and customer service across both NCRTC and UPMRC systems.

b. Information Sharing: Effective communication between NCRTC (owner) and UPMRC (operator) is crucial for efficient decision-making and addressing operational issues.

Conflict Resolution: Any disagreements between NCRTC and UPMRC regarding operations or maintenance could lead to delays or disruptions.

2. Integration with RRTS: Meerut Metro’s integration with the Delhi-Meerut RRTS is a unique feature, but it could also pose challenges:

a. Scheduling Coordination: Aligning train schedules for both Metro and RRTS to ensure seamless transfers and avoid delays requires careful planning.

b. Ticketing Integration: Establishing a unified ticketing system for passengers transferring between Metro and RRTS would enhance convenience.

c. Differing Passenger Needs: The RRTS is designed for longer distances and higher speeds, while the Metro caters to intra-city travel. Balancing the needs of both sets of passengers within a single corridor might be complex.

3.  Line 2 Approval and Development: While Line 1 is under construction, Line 2 is still in the proposed stage and awaits a new DPR tender approval. This delay in Line 2 development could:

a. Limit Overall Network Impact: Without Line 2, the Metro’s reach and ability to serve a wider population in Meerut might be restricted.

b. Disrupt Future Expansion Plans: Delays in Line 2 could potentially impact the timeline and feasibility of further Metro network expansion in Meerut.

4.  Unique Rolling Stock: The Meerut Metro trains boast several innovative features, but these might also present operational challenges:

a. Maintenance Expertise: Ensuring proper maintenance of these trains with their advanced technology and features might require specialized training and expertise for UPMRC staff. 

b. Spare Parts Availability: Maintaining a readily available stock of spare parts specific to these trains could be crucial to minimize downtime in case of repairs or replacements.

These are just some potential operational challenges the Meerut Metro might face. Careful planning, strong communication, and a focus on operational efficiency will be key to ensuring the success of this ambitious project.

The Way Forward 

To ensure the Meerut Metro’s success, we urge you to join us in prioritizing the following:

  1. Streamlining the Handover Process:  Let’s work together to establish clear communication channels and procedures to facilitate a smooth transition from construction to operation. 
  2. Optimizing RRTS Integration: Close collaboration with RRTS is vital for creating a seamless passenger experience. This includes developing a unified ticketing system, well-coordinated schedules, and efficient interchange facilities. 
  3. Expediting Line 2 Development:  By prioritizing the approval of Line 2’s DPR tender, we can maximize the Metro’s reach and connectivity benefits for a wider population in Meerut.
  4. Investing in Staff Training and Spare Parts Management: Equipping UPMRC staff with the necessary expertise to maintain the advanced rolling stock is crucial.  Let’s establish a robust system for procuring and maintaining readily available spare parts to minimize downtime.

Conclusion 

As decision-makers for the Meerut Metro project, we stand at a pivotal juncture. The project holds immense promise to revolutionize Meerut’s urban landscape, fostering economic development, alleviating traffic congestion, and enhancing the quality of life for its citizens.  The Meerut Metro project is a testament to our collective vision for a thriving Meerut. It has the potential to promote economic growth, decongest roads, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents.  We are confident that the Meerut Metro will be a resounding success story, serving as a model for future urban transportation projects across India.

This document has outlined the project’s significant milestones, including the groundbreaking integration with RRTS, the introduction of India’s fastest metro trains, and a focus on passenger comfort and accessibility. We have also acknowledged the potential challenges that lie ahead, emphasizing the importance of a collaborative approach between NCRTC and UPMRC. The Meerut Metro project is more than just a transportation system; it is a catalyst for positive change. Through your unwavering support and commitment to these key action points, we can transform this vision into reality. Together, let’s make the Meerut Metro a shining example of collaborative urban development, not just for Meerut, but for the entire nation. 

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