BMRCL Invites Bids for 150 Coaches to Double Train Capacity

Looking at the ever-increasing current & projected ridership of the Bangalore Metro, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation on October 1 invited bids to integrate and convert its existing 3-coach 50 train fleet into 6-coach formations to provide more capacity & convenience to commuters. The notice was published after the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) approved its funding and bidding parameters.

All stations on the Phase 1 network are 135m long and were designed keeping this conversion in mind. Of the existing 50 3-coach trains supplied by the BRMM consortium led by BEML, roughly 30 are currently being utilized for operations on the 2 operational lines which total 30.3 km. The remaining trains will be pushed into service once the rest 12 km of the Green Line in Phase 1, from Sampige Road to Yelachenahalli (erst. Puttenahalli), opens in 2017-end (estd.)

Bangalore Metro train – Photo Source: Churumuri



Technical Specifications

As per the instructions to the bidders:

• Current train composition: DMC-TC-DMC
• Future train composition: DMC-TC-MC + MC-TC-DMC

For reference, DMC = Driving Motor Car ; MC = Motor Car ; TC = Trailer Car

Of the 150 new coaches, 63 will be supplied to the Purple Line (Kengeri-Whitefield) for converting 21 3-coach trains into 6-coach trains while 87 will be supplied to the Green line (BIEC-Anjanapura) for converting 29 3-coach trains into 6 coach trains.

The bid documents consider one unit to comprise of 2MC & 1TC(─MC + MC ─TC─) coaches and stipulate that only one unit can be manufactured in an off-shore facility outside of India and the remaining must be manufactured in the country. For those interested in the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and how it compares to the previous contract, this stipulation is better than the RS1 contract where the first 15 coaches (5 units) were built at Hyundai Rotem’s plant in South Korea while the rest 135 (45 units) were built at BEML’s facility in Krishnappa Garden, Bangalore.

Timing & Cost

Bids must be submitted to BMRCL’s office by 3pm on 30th November 2016 following which they will be opened and evaluated on general evaluation and technical parameters. Once that phase is complete, then the financial packages of the qualified bidders is expected to be opened sometime in early-mid 2017.

Although the bidding notice doesn’t specify the contract’s duration, the first unit of 3 new coaches is expected to be manufactured in 12-15 months after which it will be put through testing – first at the manufacturer’s facility, then at one of BMRCL’s depots’ test tracks followed by testing on the actual line during non-revenue hours. As such, I’m expecting the first 6-coach train to be inducted into service no sooner than 2019. Delivery for the entire 150 coaches is dependent on the schedule laid down by the BMRCL but is also influenced by the supplier’s production line and can take up to 3-5 years to complete. For reference, the BRMM consortium won Bangalore’s contract in February 2009, delivered its first train in October 2010 and the last train in May 2014. Looking at this and other orders around the country, I’m expecting all 50 trains to be converted into 6-coach trains sometime in 2021.

As for cost, BMRCL’s MD has stated the BMRCL & AFD have budgeted Rs 1,350 crore for this project assuming each coach will cost Rs 9 crore. Even though no Driver Motor Cars are being ordered, this figure seems a little on the low side, and I expect the final order to be around the Rs 1,600 crore figure.

Final thoughts – The ‘crush load’ capacity of 3-coach trains specified for all Indian metros is 975 (inhumane in my opinion) and will double up once the conversion is complete. Ridership is on the rise (roughly 1.5 lakh/day utilize the service with highs of 1.9 lakh/day) and will significantly rise once the entire Phase 1 is complete in 2017-end (estd.) with some estimates suggesting an initial ridership of 5 lakh/day. With Phase 1 expected to open in about a year’s time, I do not believe the BMRCL will be equipped to handle passenger loads once it goes live. As witnessed in Delhi, this is bound to put off a fraction of passengers from using its packed services and return to other public & private modes.

As seen in Delhi where multiple intermediate orders have been given to convert coaches into 8 and 6 coaches (eg RS-9, RS-13), there is likely to be only one bidder for this contract (BRMM-BEML) as the coaches are required to seamlessly integrate with the existing stock. So you might ask – why is the bidding required in the first place? Without in-built provisions to order additional items in the future, all items sought by metro organizations must go through a competitive bidding process to maintain transparency as required by the loan agency. This is not just limited to high value items, but also includes office rentals, insurance policy, retail licenses and everyday items like stationary & photocopying services – see the BMRCL’s tender page for all items/services currently sought.

For more updates, check out the Bangalore section of The Metro Rail Guy!


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

11 Responses to "BMRCL Invites Bids for 150 Coaches to Double Train Capacity"

  1. Amish says:

    ” once the entire Phase 1 is complete in 2017-end ‘(estd.)’ ” Estimated? How BMRCL has made everyone cynical.

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, the estimate is based on my experience of witnessing construction around the world including Delhi & Chennai and from the BMRCL’s track record of opening the Purple Line’s underground section. The completion of tunneling is a big milestone, but the BMRCL in its latest milestone has trivialized the scope, duration & effort required for the pending tasks which will take at least another year to be completed.

      • Ashwin says:

        Do you expect the Sampige Rd to Majestic stretch to be made operational earlier than end-2017?

        • TMRG says:

          The latest plan is to conduct trial runs and operationalize the pending sections in one go. BMRCL’s CPRO has indicated they are quite content with running shuttles.

  2. kghanta says:

    When is phase one set to be completed?

  3. KRISHNAN says:

    Can Bangalore metro trains go beyond 6 coaches or already we are reaching the limit. I understand that train engine should be powerful enough to pull the extra load and also the platforms should long enough.

    In my opinion , the actual traffic after phase one will be much higher than any one can imagine (even higher than 5 lakh/day ). Delhi metro with broad gauge and 8 coaches has much higher capacity but still they are struggling with huge rush in peak time. Bangalore metro with standard gauge and only 6 coaches may not be enough in future years for sure.BMRCL should explore the possibility for the existing lines and keep this in mind for the future lines like ORR.

    • B S C Rao says:

      The stations are designed for 6 coach trains only (max). So technically (and physically) the stations cannot be lengthened to accommodate longer trains. What BMRCL can do is to increase number of trains per hour (frequency) by. reducing the headway (time between trains) up to the theoretical limit of 90 seconds (which the system can be upgraded to handle) or 40 trains/hour. This would increase system capacity to 78,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) (max).

      B S C Rao,
      Former Executive Director, Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd. (the precursor organisation to BMRCL)

  4. Sham says:

    BSC Rao, agreed. However, they can possibly run 8-coach trains without increasing station lengths – by parking with one coach out at both end ends.

    Loading /unloading of passengers can be done through vestibules, can’t they?

  5. Jinto says:

    Why not ask BEML to manufacture these coaches? I understand BMRCL wants to cut some cost but can’t they get faster deliveries from BEML since they already are familiar with trequirments?

  6. Muthu says:

    Hi TMRG,

    Do we know if the contract has been awarded for the 6-coach trains? Looks like the delay in procurement of 6-coach trains would be a great deterrent for people to use the metro once the green line becomes fully operational. As it is, the purple line is running full with 4 min headway in peak hours. With 21 existing trains on the green line, and the end-to-end journey time being (36*2)+3min*2 for turn over, the headway can’t be reduced any further (at most 78min/21 which is a tad lower than 4min headway). What are your thoughts on the maximum ridership that can be achieved once the green line becomes operational?

    And regarding your comment on 975 being train capacity in ‘crush load’, do all calculations of fare, revenue, etc. assuming this number? This is ridiculously high for a 3-coach train and I don’t think even in peak hour, any train will carry such a large number. There needs to be comfortable standing space even if it is fully crowded and my estimate says this number will not be greater than 750-800.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *