INDIAN prime minister, Mr Narendra Modi, inaugurated the first 17km section of the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) in the National Capital Region (NCR) around Delhi on October 20, ahead of the start of operation on October 21. Union minister, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, also announced the RRTS, also known as Rapidx, would be called Namo Bhara.

The first section of the 82km Delhi - Ghaziabad - Meerut corridor runs between Sahibabad and Duhai depot in Ghaziabad, with five stations. Passengers waited at the station from 04.30 for the inaugural service to depart at 06.00. Namo Bhara was expected to carry up to 10,000 passengers on the first day.

The Delhi - Ghaziabad - Meerut corridor is one of three priority RRTS corridors under construction, alongside the Delhi - Gurugram - Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror (SNB) - Alwar, and Delhi - Panipat corridors, which will converge at Sarai Kale Khan station in New Delhi, all with a design speed of 180km/h.

Alstom, which supplied the signalling and rolling stock for the line, said the inauguration marked the world debut of ETCS Level 3. The signalling system will be equipped with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) over Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the future to further increase in network performance and capacity. The line’s stations are equipped with platform screen doors.

The trains were designed at Alstom’s Hyderabad engineering centre, based on its Adessia commuter train system, and manufactured at Savli (Gujarat). The propulsion systems and electricals are manufactured at the company’s factory in Maneja (Gujarat).

“Rapidx will be a first-of-its-kind experience for Indian commuters for its speed, advanced technology and passenger experience,” says Alstom India managing director, Mr Olivier Loison. “This project also marks the world premiere of several new signalling technologies, which will set new benchmarks in the rail space globally. All of this is set to make sustainable mobility at scale real in India. These Made in India trains reflect our robust capabilities, and we are truly humbled to be contributing to India’s rail-based infrastructure growth.”

NCRTC last year selected German Rail (DB) subsidiary DB RRTS India for a 12-year operations and maintenance contract for the Delhi - Ghaziabad - Meerut corridor, which includes the track, signalling and electrical & mechanical (E&M) systems. The contract excludes maintenance of the rolling stock fleet, automated fare collection (AFC) equipment and structures.

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