India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) has begun operations in the state of Uttar Pradesh after a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first RAPIDX train began operations on Friday, 20 October, on the 17km Sahibabad-to-Duhai section of the $4bn RRTS project, which was first approved in February 2019 and will eventually run from the nation’s capital Delhi to Ghaziabad and Meerut, two major cities in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi said the train, named Namo Bharat, was defining the journey and resolutions of a new India by representing the “commitment of modernising urban transportation” through the transformation of Indian railways by the end of the decade.
Additionally, Modi, who was joined by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to flag off the train on its first journey, highlighted the all-female staff of the first train service.
The RRTS network, which is operated by Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB International Operations (DBIO) and built by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), will eventually cover 82km and 25 stations with high-speed intercity trains every 15 minutes when it is fully commissioned in 2025.
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DBIO has been granted a 12-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the trains, which are expected to carry approximately 800,000 passengers a day at full capacity and will travel at speeds up to 160km/h.
NCRTC managing director Vinay Kumar Singh described the beginning of operations as a “much-awaited moment” for the country, saying: “Team NCRTC has been working persistently for the past four years to make this transformative system a reality.
“The inauguration of this flagship project by the Prime Minister of India will begin a new chapter for the rail-based transportation system in our country.”
Rolling stock and signalling for the new line have been provided by Alstom India following its acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, which was granted the contract in May 2020 and marked the first global showcase of the company’s Level 3 European Train Control System signalling technology.
The company manufactured the trains at its factory in Savli, Gujarat, as part of the Indian Government’s “Make-in-India” programme and delivered the first one to operators in May 2022.
Alstom India managing director Olivier Loison said: “It is a moment of pride for us at Alstom to yet again be a part of India’s Rail Revolution. RAPIDX will be a first-of-its-kind experience for Indian commuters for its speed, advanced technology and passenger experience.
“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.”