Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was established by the Government of India and the Government of Delhi in March 1995 for building a new metro system in the capital. The project was carried out in phases including phase one (65.11km) and phase two (124.9km).

Increasing road traffic congestion in Delhi, which has a population of approximately 20 million, can cause overcrowding and pollution, making it an economic liability.

The Delhi Metro project became the first railway project in the world to be certified for carbon credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the United Nations in 2011. DMRC saved 112,500MW of power by using regenerative brakes in the trains, and reduced carbon emissions by 630,000t yearly.

Delhi Metro project details

After more than 40 years of studies into a rail-based mass transit system, DMRC began construction on 1 October 1998.

Funding principally came from a Japanese loan and Indian public funds, the latter in the form of equity. Phase one and phase two were fully operational by January 2013.

Delhi Metro consists of eight lines at a total length of 373km with 271 stations.

Delhi Metro was designed to be integrated with other public transport and DMRC signed an agreement with bus operator Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to integrate management and through-ticketing.

However, limited take-up has led DMRC itself to supply around 200 buses of a quality consistent with Metro operations to work feeder routes to stations. Selected private bus operators will pay back DMRC over five years.

There are 18 designated parking sites at Metro stations to further encourage use of the system.

In March 2010, DMRC partnered with Google India (through Google Transit) to provide train schedule and route information to mobile devices with Google Maps. This free service allows commuters to get the latest service information and plan their journeys.

Lines and routes of Delhi Metro

Line 1 (Red Line) runs between Dilshad Garden and Rithala. It covers 25.1km, serves 21 stations and has a rolling stock of 26 trains. The first section of Line 1, from Shahdara to Tis-Hazari, opened in December 2002. A phase two extension from Inderlok to Rithala opened in March 2004 and the Shahdara-Dilshad Garden section became fully operational in June 2008.

Line 2 (Yellow Line) runs between Jahangirpuri and HUDA city centre. It covers 44.65km, serves 34 stations and has a rolling stock of 60 trains. The first section, running between Vishwa-vidyalaya and Kashmere Gate, opened in December 2004. Extensions opened between Kashmere Gate and Central Secretariat in July 2005, and between Vishwa-vidyalaya and Jahangirpuri in February 2009.

The 14.47km Qutab Minar to Gurgaon line extension and the HUDA City Centre to Qutub Minar extension of Line 2 were opened to public in June 2010. The 12.53km line extension from Central Secretariat to Qutab Minar opened in September 2010.

“Lines 2 and 3 pass through the city centre and business district at Connaught Place, served by Rajiv Chowk station.”

Line 3 (Blue Line) runs between Dwarka Sector 9 and Noida City Centre. It covers 49.93km, serves 44 stations and has a rolling stock of 70 trains. The first section of the line opened in December 2005 and ran from Barakhamba to Dwarka.

Subsequent sections opened between Dwarka and Dwarka Subcity in March 2006; Barakhamba and Indraprastha in November 2006; Indraprastha and Yamuna Bank in May 2009; and Yamuna Bank and Noida City Centre in November 2009.

The 2.76km section from Dwarka Sector 9 to 21 was opened on 30 October 2010. Operations on the 2.5km extension from Anand Vihar ISBT to Vaishali and Ghaziabad began in July 2011.

Lines 2 and 3 pass through the city centre and business district at Connaught Place, served by Rajiv Chowk station.

Line 4 (Blue Line), which opened in January 2010, runs between Yamuna Bank and Anand Vihar. It covers 8.74km and serves seven stations.

Line 5 (Green Line) runs between Inderlok and Mundka, and is the first standard gauge railway line in India. It covers 15.15km, serves 13 stations and has a rolling stock of 15 trains. The line opened in April 2010, and benefits 100,000 commuters residing in west Delhi. The 3.32km Kirti Nagar to Ashok Park extension opened in June 2011.

The section has two stations: Kirti Nagar (at grade) and Satguru Ram Singh Marg (elevated).

Line 6 (Violet Line) runs between Central Secretariat and Badarpur. It covers 20.16km, serves 15 stations and has a rolling stock of 30 trains. The section between Central Secretariat and Sarita Vihar was opened in October 2010. The Sarita Vihar to Badarpur extension was opened in January 2011.

Line 7 (Pink Line) runs between Majlis Park to Mayur Vihar Pocket I covering 39.72km with 23 stations and Trilokpuri Sanjay lake to Shiv Vihar covering 17.86km distance with 15 stations.

Line 8 (Magenta Line) runs between Botanical Garden to Janakpuri West covering a distance of 37.46km and serving 25 stations.

The 22.7km-long Airport Express Line (Orange Line) was opened in February 2011. It runs between New Delhi railway station and Dwarka Sector 21 linking Indira Gandhi International Airport with six stations.


Line 2 runs underground for its entire 11km length. All-but-one of its 15 stations have been built nearly 13m below ground using by cut-and-cover methods; Chawri Bazar, which lies some 20m down, needed tunnelling to be built.

All stations have escalators, elevators and tactile tiles to guide the visually impaired from station entrances to trains. Many of the stations are equipped for rainwater collection as part of their environmental policy.

The Mandi House station on Line 3 is located under a busy thoroughfare, with much of the station built top-down and the diaphragm wall panels built from ground level to form the permanent walls of the station.

DMRC also provides subway facilities in all the underground metro stations as part of phase two. Bicycle rental is also available at the Vishwa-vidyalaya, Pragati Maidan, Patel Chowk and Indraprastha metro stations.

Rolling stock for Delhi Metro

The first wave of rolling stock was manufactured by a consortium comprising Hyundai Rotem, Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Initial sets were built by ROTEM in South Korea, with later examples completed in India by public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). BEML is also responsible for the manufacturing coaches under technology transfer agreement.

The air-conditioned trains consist of four 3.2m-wide, stainless steel, lightweight carriages, although eight is possible. The trains have automatic doors, secondary air suspension and brakes controlled by microprocessor.

Delhi Metro has a fleet of 280 coaches, which DMRC runs as 210 trains every day. Each train can accommodate 2,290 people, 240 seated. Maximum speed is 80km/h (50mph), with a 20-second dwell time at stations. Train depots are located at Khyber Pass, Najafgarh, Shastri Park and Yamuna Bank.

BEML received a contract worth Rs9.2bn ($205m) from DMRC in May 2011, to supply 136 intermediate metro cars.

Bombardier Transportation announced an €87m ($137m) contract in March 2008 for 84 MOVIA metro cars, a follow-on to an order for 340 placed in July 2007. The new vehicles were deployed as part of the phase two expansion.

Bombardier received a $120m order for 76 additional MOVIA metro cars in September 2011. This was a follow-on contract to an order placed for 114 vehicles in the middle of 2010. Deliveries under the new order were completed in 2012.

DMRC received the first MOVIA metro car from Germany in February 2009. The first 36 vehicles were manufactured in Goerlitz, Germany, and the remaining 388 cars were built at Bombardier’s Indian manufacturing facility in Savli, South Gujarat.

Bombardier delivered the 600th MOVIA metro car to the DMRC in October 2012.

Signalling and communications

The trains use centralised automatic train control (CATC) comprising automatic train operation (ATO), automatic train protection (ATP) and automatic train signalling (ATS) systems.

Intercoms are provided for emergency communication between passengers and the driver in each coach, and on-train announcements are in Hindi and English. There are also route maps and LCD display systems in every coach.

Fare collection is through contactless, stored-value smartcards. The metro has its own police force, and a training school at Shastri Park is run in association with Hong Kong MTR for operational and maintenance staff. Security is supported by about 5,200 CCTV cameras at stations.

In October 2007, DMRC awarded Bombardier Transportation a $43m contract for the design, manufacture, supply, installation and testing of signalling equipment. The CITYFLO 350 system was installed on 37km of two of the new line’s sections of the phase two expansion.

The electronic interlocking, operation and automation control systems for the third line were supplied by Siemens Transportation Systems.


The capital investment for the first and second phases was $2.7bn. Out of the total investment, 30% was funded by Government of India (GoI) and Government of Delhi, while another 60% was financed through a loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). DMRC paid back $100m to JICA by August 2010.

Future expansion

Although the system operated at below projected passenger levels in 2007, partly ascribed to train capacity proving lower than anticipated, it has achieved an operating profit.

About 2.2 million people daily used the Metro in 2012. It carries 5% of the city’s commuters, and the project is not only meeting its aims in terms of attracting former road users and reducing road casualties, but it is stimulating economic development near to stations.

Low-cost cycle hire and a secure parking trial were launched to further reduce road use.

Phase three and four extensions, which will expand the network to 413.8km, are scheduled to open in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

Phase three was approved in August 2011. It involves construction of 159.5km line with 92 stations and 17 interchange points. It will carry around four million passengers and cost about Rs77.01bn ($1.4bn).

“Phase III and IV extensions will expand the network to 413.8km.”

In addition to the expansions planned in these four phases, a new line is constructed to link Noida Sector 62 and Greater Noida, which crosses the Indraprastha-Noida Sector 32 line.

The Ghaziabad Development Authority also has plans for a fifth phase, which could extend the Vaishali line (Blue Line) to Mehrauli via Indirapuram (Ghaziabad).

The first construction contracts, covering 7.5km of line, were awarded to Alpine-Samsung-HCC and Afcons in October 2007.