France-based Keolis has won a contract from L&T Metro Rail (LTMRL), a special purpose vehicle of Indian civil engineering firm Larsen & Toubro, to operate and maintain the new Metro in Hyderabad in India for eight years.

The contract includes three years of consultancy and pre operation phase, and also has an option to extend for another three years.

Under the deal, Keolis will be responsible for maintaining trains, stations, delivering the service and providing high-quality customer service.

During the construction phase Keolis will advise L&T, which is building the new network, and assist them in reviewing the system’s design and give its perspective on vendor solutions for efficient operation.

Keolis CEO Bernard Tabary said that the company has been working on this project for a long time to fully understand the local market’s needs.

"This is an important step for Keolis, as it opens a new window of opportunities in Asia and strengthens our expertise across all modes of transport," Tabary said.

Construction work for the entire network will be completed in phases over five years and is expected to carry about 1.5 million passengers a day.

The first section of the network is scheduled to open between late 2014 and early 2015 and, upon completion, the three-line network will be served by 57 trains, covering a distance of 71km and featuring 66 stations.

The metro will be fully automatic as it is being equipped with communications-based train controls system.

Earlier this month, LTMRL said it will confirm vendors for various components in the next two to three months for the metro rail project.

For the rolling stocks the company has shortlisted four vendors, including Bombardier, a Spanish firm, and China CSR Corporation and BEML-Rotem consortium.