Around 25% of the trains that will run on three corridors of phase-2 will be hired by metro rail to save time and cost on procurement, operation and maintenance. This will be the first time a metro rail system will be trying out the model in the country. Construction of tunnels along the 52km priority corridor is expected to begin later this year and the line is likely to be ready in five years.
A Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) official said they will follow a wet-lease model, where the company that leases out the trains will also operate and maintain them. The train will come with crew and maintenance staff. "Once we finish floating tenders for civil work, we will start calling tenders for systems which include trains," an official said. "It will be similar to government departments hiring cars from an agency and letting them operate and maintain them."
CMRL will procure trains from Japan for the corridor from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur and Madhavaram to CMBT, as per conditions laid out by JICA, which is partly funding construction of the stretch. Trains for the remaining stretches could be hired and operated from private companies.
A metro rail official said a few international companies with help from financial firms are involved in procuring trains from manufacturers and leasing them out to metro rail and subways networks abroad. "We will have three types of rolling stock -- trains from Japan, trains through international competitive bidding and through wet-lease model," a metro rail official said. "None of the metro rail networks in the country have hired trains, but Niti Aayog is now making it mandatory for future metro rail projects to follow the wet-lease model," the official said.
Operating trains on lease means CMRL will only monitor them. "We do not know if we will save any money by taking trains on lease, but we do not have to worry about operations and maintenance. If there is a breakdown or any other emergency the contractor will handle it," an official said. According to the detailed project report for phase-2, it will initially require 138 trains to cater to an estimated daily ridership of 19.2 lakh.
Wet lease is popular among airlines and is handy when more flights need to be operated to meet sudden demands. The company that supplies the plane also provides the crew. There are also significant savings when it comes to manpower training and aircraft maintenance. Metro rail is planning to emulate this model, where all they have to do is to ensure operational tracks and routes.
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