Urban Railways

CBTC Technology to facilitate more frequent metro trains on Nagawara and E-City lines

Yellow and Red Lines of Namma Metro’s Phase II project will be capable of operating trains at a frequency of two and half minutes, thanks to the adoption of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system. As the remaining four lines of Phase II and the existing 42-km network (Phase I) are built with a different signalling solution, trains will only be able to run at a frequency of not less than four and half minutes.

Last Saturday (25th April 2020), BMRCL opened the bids to provide CBTC system on the 19-km RV Road – Bommasandra (Yellow) line that runs along the IT corridor via Central Silk Board and Electronic City. Three global companies with Indian subsidiaries i.e. Alstom Transport, Siemens Mobility and Hitachi Group, participated in the tenders for the Yellow line. Among them, German-based Siemens emerged the lowest bidder but the contract is expected to be awarded only after evaluating the bids.

BMRCL Managing Director Ajay Seth confirmed the opening of tenders. “When the CBTC technology was introduced about seven years back, four of the six lines of Phase II were already planned. We can still upgrade the Metro lines that are running with a different signalling system whenever the passenger load increases. For all the future lines including Outer Ring Road and Airport, we will be using the CBTC system,” Seth said.

The managing director, however, said the signalling system alone is not enough to run trains at a frequency of 90 seconds, as operated in other parts of the world. “We may not be able to run trains at a frequency of less than two and half minutes on the underground (Red) or elevated (Yellow) lines where the CBTC system is going to be adopted due to the civil infrastructure design. This is decided keeping in mind the emergency situations such as mishap or the breakdown of the train,” Seth explained.

The CBTC technology also has a provision for operating trains without drivers or the locos but the BMRCL has no immediate plan to run driverless trains. “We have made provision for running trains without drivers. Such a system is already implemented in many parts of the world including in New Delhi,” a senior official said.

Currently, the 42-km Phase I Metro network is being operated based on the distance-to-go (DTG) signalling system with trains being run at a frequency of 4 and half minutes in the peak hours and 10 minutes in the non-peak hours. Similar technology was also planned for the four lines between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield, Mysore road – Kengeri, Yelachenahalli – Anjanapura Township and Nagasandra – Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre, as these lines were proposed much before the Yellow and Red Lines were added into the Phase II network.