Indian Railways

Rapid Rail Transportation System reaching launch stage

The RRTS proposes to connect the national capital with Tier-2 cities in the NCR through high-frequency trains running on three different corridors at a speed of 180 kmph and an operational speed of 160 kmph

Rapid Rail Transportation System reaching launch stage

New Delhi: With the expected delivery this month of the third of the Alstom rakes (train), the Rapid Rail Transportation System (RRTS) - a mass transit rail system for the National Capital Region (NCR) - seems well on course towards meeting the March 2023 target of the launch of commercial operations on the 17 km long priority section connecting Sahibabad, Ghaziabad and Duhai depot. 

The RRTS proposes to connect the national capital with Tier-2 cities in the NCR through high-frequency trains running on three different corridors at a speed of 180 kmph and an operational speed of 160 kmph. 

Construction has been progressing on the 82 km long Delhi-Ghaziabad Meerut corridor and 95% of civil work on the priority section has been completed.

"Work on signalling and telecom system installation has also been progressing fast, as poles and cantilevers have already been installed and Overhead  Electrical Equipment (OHE) is being installed. We will be starting trial runs in October", said a senior official of the National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) - the project executing agency. 

The project significance also relates to the speed of execution activity. In March 2019, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor. In just over three years, piers have been laid in an approximately 40 km long section of the total elevated stretch of 70 km. 

Stations at all five stations on the 17 km priority section are at an advanced stage of construction, while track laying work has been completed. 

A game changer 

For justifiable reasons, the RRTS is being called a game-changer project. Trains on the network will be using several state-of-the-art systems. When ready, the RRTS, for example, will become the world's first network using Hybrid Level-3 technology of the European Train Control Systems (ETCS) over Long Term Evolution (LTE) radio network. 

The ETCS is a signalling system that takes control of the train if permissible speed limits are exceeded and halts the train in the event of an impending head-on collision. The ETCS - being deployed in collaboration with Alstom - will also facilitate "interoperability" of trains on the RRTS network - facilitating seamless commuter movement across corridors without the hassle of changing the trains. The NCRTC has decided to equip its Sarai Kale Khan hub with the ETCS for the Delhi-Meerut RRTS route. 

In another First, the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) has been adopted on the Hybrid Annuity Model, which provides for the separation of tasks of the System Integrator and the Financial Institution. This means that QR Come-based ticketing and Europay, Mastercard and Visa Card payments will become possible in adherence to the National Common Mobility Card standards. 

These aerodynamically designed trains with airline-like transverse seating arrangements will be fuel efficient with significantly lower carbon emissions, officials said. The NCRTC is also implementing an integrated real-time Enterprise Asset Management Systems (iDREAMS) which will enable the prediction, identification and rectification or removal of risks or shortcomings related to its wide range of assets. Incidentally, the NCRTC has awarded a 12-year Operations and Maintenance contract to Deutsche Bahn AG, the national railway company of Germany. 

The Socio-Economic Impact 

The bigger advantages of the RRTS are seen by way of the environmental and socio-economic impact in the region. The Functional Transport Plan 2032 had estimated in 2007 that approximately one million vehicles crossed Delhi each day - aggravating road congestion and environmental problems. 

With the launch of the first RRTS corridor itself, approximately one lakh vehicles are expected to go off roads - accounting for a reduction of approximately 2.5 lakh tons of carbon dioxide from vehicular emissions. 

The RRTS, meanwhile, will also boost urban development. The UP government recently approved Transit Development Development (TOD) policies to promote "sustainable urban growth centres" within 1.5 km of the RRTS corridor. 

For its part, the NCRTC has formulated separate development plans with aim of providing an impetus to local businesses. 

"Once operational, the RRTS  will unlock the economic development potential of the entire region, decongest the capital city and integrate the NCR in a true sense by providing transit connectivity to various urban and Suburban nodes", NCRTC Managing Director Vijay Kumar Singh said.