Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Rail Makers Prepare to Battle It Out for Mumbai Metro Contracts

  • Global manufacturers vie for $7.5 billion urban railway orders
  • India’s commercial capital revamping its transport network

Some of the world’s largest manufacturers of urban railway systems are gearing up to battle for a share of orders worth as much as 480 billion rupees ($7.5 billion) for coaches and signaling equipment from India’s richest city.

Mumbai, home to more than 18 million people, plans to invest as much as 800 billion rupees on a major overhaul of its transport system by setting up a high-speed urban rail network to ease the burden on its conventional suburban railways.

The local units of rail transport systems makers like Alstom SA, Bombardier Inc. and Siemens AG are set to bid for contracts to supply rail coaches, signaling and electrical systems as well as other non-civil works. Chinese and Indian companies have also shown interest in the project, which includes a 33.5-kilometer, mostly underground railway along with six elevated lines, adding up to 190 kilometers to be built over six years, said U.P.S. Madan, the chief of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

“The Mumbai numbers are attractive enough for a number of manufacturers,” Tilak Raj Seth, head of mobility at Siemens, said in an interview. “We are interested in all electrical and mechanical systems in the entire metro project. Apart from civil and track, we are interested in everything.”

To read more on Alstom, Bombardier’s India plans, click here

Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens are keen to supply rail coaches, rolling stock, signaling and other electrical components which, according to Madan, make up about 60 percent of the total cost of the Mumbai metro project.

India and the overall Asia-Pacific region, “reflect a very vibrant part of the total pie because of the sheer pressure on urbanization that is happening here,” said Bharat Salhotra, managing director at Alstom India & South Asia.

The size of orders anticipated from MMRDA and the spread of such urban rail projects to other cities will boost investments in India, Harsh Dhingra, the chief country representative of Bombardier in India, said. Given the MMRDA’s efforts, the projects will probably be awarded and the new lines will be operational in the next three to four years, he said.

The current rail network’s capacity to carry 7 million commuters daily will be doubled by the new lines, according to MMRDA’s Madan. That compares with the 5.7 million riders that used the New York city subway system on an average weekday in 2015.

“We are doubling the railways transporting capacity in the city,” Madan said. “It is going in areas which are hitherto not connected to public transport.”

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.