Kochi Metro | Alstom offers Driverless Trains to Kochi Metro

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Kochi: With the first lot of Kochi Metro coaches expected to arrive by mid-December, Alstom has offered two crucial value additions that together cost Rs.55 crore.

A pioneering initiative to regenerate 99 per cent of braking energy of each train would increase the project cost by Rs.15 crore, from Rs.633 crore to Rs.648 crore. The proposal has been submitted to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL).

Another first

Another first-time-in-India initiative is Unmanned Train Operation (UTO) that could escalate procurement cost of 75 coaches by another Rs.40 crore to Rs.688 crore. A proposal on this is expected to be submitted to the KMRL shortly.

“The total increase of Rs.55 crore is marginal since its pay-back (break even) period will be less than four years. We are awaiting response from the KMRL since the first few coaches must be delivered in two months,” said Bharat Salhotra, MD (Transport – India and South Asia) of Alstom. The firm is trying to hard-sell its regenerative braking technology branded Hesop to the KMRL.

“Using this, 99 per cent of braking energy of each train can be fed back into grid or can be used by the train that follows. This will result in phenomenal savings to the KMRL, while ushering in a revolutionary green technology in Kerala,” said Mr. Salhotra.

Safer journey ensured

The manned trains can be transformed into unmanned ones by making slight structural and engineering alterations. This will ensure safer journey since the remote probability of human error can be ruled out.

The UTO technology will also ensure more comfortable journey since trains will operate as per standardised norms – no sudden acceleration and braking by unskilled drivers, while enabling structured time gap between trains. All these contribute to lessening wear and tear of trains, thus lessening life-cycle cost, sources associated with the metro coaches said.

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