Most of the coaches of Nagpur Metro have reached Nagpur from Dalian plant of Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) and the rest too would have been here but for the lockdown. MahaMetro has received 19 trains (57 coaches) out of the total 23 trains (69 coaches) ordered.
“All the coaches would have been here but the process has been delayed due to coronavirus lockdown in China. We are unable to predict when the remaining would arrive because the lockdown has destroyed the schedule of loading and unloading at ports and road transport,” said a spokesperson.
The first set of trains was received from CRRC on January 15, 2019. Before that, MahaMetro was using coaches leased from Hyderabad Metro. Before the lockdown, Metro was using eight trains (24 coaches), four on each of the two reaches. All the 69 coaches would be used when all the four reaches become operational and frequency of trains increases.
The 23 trains will cost MahaMetro Rs 718 crore, which is over Rs 200 crore less than provision for buying coaches made in the detailed project report (DPR) of Nagpur Metro. The state government had asked CRRC to set up a coach manufacturing plant in Mihan. The company had agreed to invest Rs 1,500 crore. The factory would have generated employment for 5,000 people.
According to MahaMetro sources, CRRC asked the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to assure it would get the orders for coaches of Mumbai and Pune Metros. When Fadnavis told the officials such an assurance could not be given and there would be global tenders for the same, the company scrapped its plans.
Meanwhile, MahaMetro officials and staffers are maintaining the idle system since the lockdown began. As of now they have no plans to resume Metro services. The spokesperson said, “The entire system was maintained during lockdown. For this, the trains were operated twice every day on both the tracks. This operation and testing of trains also ensured other supporting systems like overhead electrical equipment(OHE), track, power supply, signalling were also checked regularly.
“Other establishments like stations, depot, and receiving substation (RSS) were manned regularly by operations and maintenance (O&M) staff. Preventive maintenance and pre-monsoon works were undertaken in the same period at these establishments.”
The construction of remaining portion of Nagpur Metro has picked up pace with easing of labour shortage. The deadline for completing the project was December 2020 but now has been advanced.