Delhi Metro Rail Corporation received its first standard gauge coach made by Bharat Earth Movers Limited. Karnataka chief minister symbolically handed the 80-tonne wagon to Delhi Metro chairman E Sreedharan.
The wagon has been developed by BEML in collaboration with the National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO). BEML has also bagged a contract to supply 150 coaches for the metro project in Bangalore for an order worth Rs1,672.5 crore.
For Delhi Metro, it will supply 196 standard gauge coaches for its phase II project. According to Sreedharan it may also get an extended order to deliver another 60 coaches.
Delhi Metro plans to upgrade its 4 coach tranins to 6-coach trains and has planced a trial order with BEML to develop eight such coaches. It may upgrade 70 of its trains if the trials are successful.
Indigenous coaches are not expensive and are built from local capabilities. Chinese manufacturers, supported by special incentives by the Chinese government, have also developed similar export quality coaches. According to BEML chairman and managing director V R S Natarajan, exemptions in VAT and customs duty could help it to compete with China.
BEML is also launching its new R&D centre for designing metro coaches at Bangalore soon.
With electrically oprated automatic doors, the metro coaches are built with aluminium with a stainless steel body, and can be used in the high-speed freight corridors currently under development. With a carrying capcity of about 1,500 passengers, the two-motor cars are air conditioned and meet global standards. The coaches are equipped with fired retardant GFRP panels on the inside.