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Metro-rail spurring business opportunities for the support industry

April 2019
With metro-rail systems growing, the scope of business and opportunities for various components like lifts, escalators, elevators, tunnel ventilation systems (TVS) and environment control systems (ECS) is also expanding. 

Bhide shares the example of Mumbai’s Metro Line 3 project, which comprises 33.5 km. “This line will have 26 underground stations, attracting a great opportunity for the providers of TVS and ECS,” she says. “This project has a total of 162 lifts and 381 escalators of different lengths. So, automatically, there is a huge demand for such component providers and support industries. A lot of equipment, including tunnel boring machines (TBM), excavators, road headers, hydras, cranes, gantries, piling rigs, batching plants, transit mixers and boom placers, is being used.”

Drawing attention to the large project development opportunities for contracting and component players across various metro packages (civil, signal and telecom, station infrastructure, etc), Keshav Mishra, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, says, “Metro stations, whether elevated, at grade or underground, are equipped with lift, travellators and escalators, and other BMS-controlled systems. Accordingly, the opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers during project execution and for operation and maintenance of installed systems exist.”

“The increase in the number of kilometres in the metro network will necessitate more stations,” says Nalin Gupta, Managing Director, J Kumar Infraprojects. “More stations will require more ticket counters and ticket vending machines. And the need for security and safety will require more CCTVs and related accessories.”

Arbind Kumar Rai, Senior Vice-President, CEC-ITD Cem-TPL JV, says, “In Mumbai, the ground is mostly rocky. Therefore, for Metro Line 3 underground works, the top-down method of station construction using D-walls was ruled out and the bottom-up method with secant piles was preferred. For the same reason, we constructed circular shafts for TBM lowering. We have also used concrete walers in place of steel to support excavation and our stations are also concrete-decked.” After studying the geology of the area, the company opted for EPB TBM’s from Herrenknecht, one of the safest equipment in such an urban environment.

Meanwhile, Sunil Mathur, Director (Rolling Stock & Systems), Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation, says, Although most metro coaches run on electric mode, energy-efficient technologies like solar panels on-site/off-site installations, regenerative braking in rolling stock and regular energy monitoring in stations make the metro system more eco-friendly. Apart from operations, last-mile connectivity through feeder buses or non-motorised transport also provides a reliable transport solution. And integration of metro stations with shopping malls and restaurants increases FSI.” He sees a bright future for foreign companies to manufacture in the country as part of Make in India. 

“Implementation of a metro system includes installation of innumerable equipment along the stations, trackside, and off-site areas,” Mathur continues. “There is a huge demand for telecom, machinery, air-conditioning systems, intelligent CCTV cameras, sensors and detection systems, which make the metro even smarter.” According to him, major equipment used in the construction of metro projects are customised as per the requirement of individual metro systems, like road-cum-rail vehicles, man-lifting cranes for installation of overhead conductors, truck-mounted cranes or hydras for installation of lifts, escalators and heavy ventilation equipment like chillers and air-handling units (AHUs). 

SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN