Kolkata Metro to implement CBTC signalling system in all the corridors

The Kolkata Metro is set to undergo a significant technological upgrade with the installation of the Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system across all its corridors. Once fully implemented, this advanced system will enable automated train operations, eliminating the need for motormen.

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Metro Railway (Kolkata) is the Lifeline of Kolkata city, starting its journey in 1984 Kolkata Metro has expanded many fold in almost 40 years and has touched million lives. In this four-decade long journey the first Metro of the country has given topmost priority to passenger safety. In order to ensure passenger safety different modern technologies have been adopted. Special emphasis has been given to modernization of the signalling system. 

Like many other Metro systems in developed countries like Spain, Denmark etc. Kolkata Metro is also opting for Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) Signalling System. At present this system is being installed o­n Joka to Esplanade and Kavi Subhash to Biman Bandar Metro Corridors at a cost of Rs. 800 crores. This state-of-the-art signalling system is very safe and gives flexibility to train operations.

Why CBTC Signalling System is Important:

  • In this context, it is required to mention that with the help of this CBTC Signalling System, in Spain, Demark and many other countries in the world Metro is run without Motorman. Delhi Metro has also started Motorman-less Metro services.
  • In the ATO (Automatic Train Operations) mode of CBTC Signalling System in Kolkata Metro, Motormen don’t have any role to run the train.
  • They o­nly press the button to close the doors and start the Metro from the stations. In other Metros in India, those who do this job are called Train Operators.
  • Apart from the new Corridors, this CBTC signalling system is also being installed in the 40 years old North – South Metro Corridor, country’s first Metro system. Rs. 500 crores have been allocated for executing this job.
  • International Organization having experience in changing old Signalling System with CBTC Signalling System has been roped in to execute this job.
  • Within the next five years, the entire network of Kolkata Metro will be covered with the ATO mode of CBTC Signalling System.
  • O­nce that is done, it would be a new experience for the commuters altogether. That would give extra flexibility to increase the frequency as well if the situation demands.

Once this CBTC Signalling System is fully implemented, skilled staff like Motormen will no longer be required. At that time, 99.99 percent of work related to train operations will be done through ATO mode. In order to run the system smoothly, Kolkata Metro will appoint train operators then. Metro Authorities will take all necessary steps as per the requirement of the situation. Metro staff attached with regular maintenance work will be able to do the job of train operators very easily.

Why do Kolkata Metro need this Initiative:

  • In Kolkata Metro, Motormen of passenger trains of other Railways having qualifying certificates are appointed to run the Metro o­n deputation. Eastern and South Eastern Railway, as per the requirements of Metro Railway, send their Motormen o­n deputation.
  • At present, 31 Motormen are undergoing training for six months in Kolkata Metro. 16 more Motormen of Howrah Division of Eastern Railway are coming to Metro Railway for running the trains.
  • Apart from that 10 more Motormen from Bilaspur Division will also be inducted to Metro Railway very soon. It is to be noted that, in Indian Railways, Motormen after working for 8-10 years in different levels are assigned with the job of passenger train operations.

  • New appointees after working as the assistant of loco drivers for some years are elevated to the post of shunter (who takes empty rake from depot to the station).
  • After gaining experience, he is appointed as a Goods Driver. Then o­nly, under the tutelage of the trainer (initially) he gets the responsibility to run the passenger train.
  • Apart from Motormen coming o­n deputation, Metro takes aptitude tests and other tests of its staff associated with maintenance work of Metro rakes to promote them to the post of shunters. For this, work experience, result of the qualifying examination and medical fit certificate are the basis of this promotion.


The CBTC signalling system’s implementation will modernise Kolkata Metro, enhancing safety, efficiency, and reliability. This transition to automated, driverless operations sets a new standard for urban transit in India, providing passengers with a seamless and convenient commuting experience.

Source: Kolkata Metro – Press Release | Images Credit: (representational) Kolkata Metro

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