Alstom Transport India Ltd commenced production of the driverless metro trainsets for the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) at its manufacturing facility in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. The first trainset is expected to be delivered to CMRL in August 2024.

The CMRL awarded the contract for the supply of 36 driverless (UTO – Unattended Train Operation) trainsets to Alstom Transport India Ltd at a total value of ₹1,216 crore. The trainsets will be in a 3-car formation each (108 cars) for the Chennai Metro’s phase-2 project.

The scope of the contract includes the supply of driverless trains, encompassing the design, manufacture, testing, and commissioning of standard gauge metro rolling stock. It also involves the training of personnel, supply of spare parts, and defect liability, says a release from Chennai Metro.

Following the completion of car body manufacturing, Alstom will proceed with fitting and final assembly. Subsequently, the first trainset will undergo the necessary testing and validation at the manufacturer’s premises before its delivery to CMRL’s Poonamallee Depot.

Following the train delivery, the rolling stock will undergo various static and dynamic trials in the phase-2 network, along with obtaining statutory approvals for the commencement of passenger revenue operations in the year 2025, says a CMRL release.

With a capacity of up to 1,000 passengers, these three-car trains are equipped with regenerative electric braking for energy efficiency, while advanced passenger announcement systems provide timely updates. Overall, these driverless trains set a new standard in urban transit, combining convenience, safety, and sustainability, the release said.

The exterior and interior shared by CMRL looks similar to the existing Chennai Metro trains.

A release from Alstom says that these new trains are designed for a safe speed of 90 kmph and an operational 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 Ltd and Alstom India. 

Alstom had also manufactured and delivered 208 metro cars for the 54 km of the first phase and the 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 km of corridors I & II for the Chennai Metro, the release said.

Chennai Metro is not the first in India today to have driverless trains. However the Phase 2 will be the first to have driverless trains from day one of passenger service. These trains are conceptualised and designed for driverless from day1 - GoA4 mode. Delhi Metro initially started with train operator (GoA2 mode) and later converted them to a driverless train (GoA4).

Alstom has delivered driverless metro trains in several parts of the world including, Singapore, Sydney, Dubai, Montreal and many more, said a company source.