Operations & Maintenance in modern rail projects: Analysing the potential

The operation and management (O&M) of projects in the rail sector has undergone significant transformation and increased emphasis on O&M specialists over the years. Rail operators have embraced technological advancements to enhance efficiency, safety and passenger experience in new projects and optimise viability of the projects.

Some examples of O&M in the rail & metro sector in different countries: 

Table 1:  

Project NameDescription
London Overground trainLondon Overground Rail corporation Ltd. (LOROL) is a joint venture between MTR corporation and Arriva UK trains. It was awarded the contract to operate and maintain the London overground network in the United Kingdom.
Hyderabad MetroHyderabad metro is operated by Keolis, who are a global public transport operator headquartered in France. They have been involved in various O&M contracts worldwide, including L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad in India where Keolis SA was selected for the operation and maintenance of the metro system.
Hong Kong MTRThe MTR Corporation in Hong Kong has gained international recognition for its expertise in railway operation and management. They have also ventured into O&M contracts globally, such as the Crossrail (Elizabeth line) project in London, United Kingdom.
Sydney TrainsSydney trains are a subsidiary of Transport for NSW in Australia and it operates and manages the suburban rail network in Sydney. They have been responsible for O&M of the rail services, ensuring the smooth running of the system.
Shanghai MetroShanghai Shentong Metro Group operates and manages the extensive metro system in Shanghai, China. They oversee the operation, maintenance, and development of the metro network, ensuring efficient and reliable services.

These examples illustrate the involvement of various companies in the operation and management of railway and metro systems worldwide. Each company brings its expertise and experience to ensure the efficient and safe functioning of the rail networks they operate.

What is the rail management system market size globally?

The global rail management system market has experienced significant expansion in recent years. According to the industry reports, the market size is valued at more than USD 10 billion and is projected to increase 3 times to over USD 30 billion in the next 10 years.

Operations & Management of projects in India:

1. Mumbai Metro Line 3: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) recently secured the position of lowest bidder for the operation and maintenance of Line 3 of Mumbai Metro. This 33.5 kilometre long corridor stretches from Aarey to Cuffe Parade, encompassing 27 stations and spanning across the western metropolis. The contract, which is set to last for a period of 10 years, will see DMRC taking on crucial responsibility such as metro rail operation and safety management, revenue collection, asset maintenance, and contract management. 

Currently, Mumbai Metro Line 3 is in the construction phase under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), with partial operationalization expected by the end of this year. DMRC’s success in securing the contract reflects its growing presence as the consultant in the international project arena. Besides ongoing projects in Mumbai and Patna, DMRC is actively bidding for metro projects in Tel Aviv, Alexandria, Bahrain, Mauritius, and Ho Chi Minh City, further expanding its consultancy portfolio. 

2. RAPIDX: The Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (Delhi–Meerut RRTS) is an 82.15 km long semi-high speed rail corridor currently under construction which will connect Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Meerut. It is one of the three rapid rail corridors planned under Phase I of the RapidX project managed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC). They have entered into an agreement with DB India, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, the national railway company of Germany. 

By adopting a long-term private participation model for the operation and maintenance activities, NCRTC is fulfilling the objectives set forth in the Metro Rail Policy of 2017, which emphasises private sector involvement in rail projects. The partnership with DB India is expected to bring in expertise, advanced technology, and managerial efficiencies, ensuring the safety and comfort of commuters. Furthermore, the adoption of international best practices and the employment of local engineers will enhance skill sets and boost domestic capacities. The comprehensive O&M model developed by NCRTC will provide a world-class customer experience and contribute to the reduction of pollution and energy use in the region. This leapfrog initiative will also revolutionise the Indian metro and rail O&M industry while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the RRTS project.

3. Hyderabad Metro: Since taking charge in 2017, Keolis has elevated the commuter experience by providing safe, sufficient, and sustainable transportation solutions. With modern infrastructure, punctual schedule and state-of-the-art amenities, Keolis’s approach centres on customers- centricity, continuously striving to improve service quality based on passenger needs and preferences. Real-time travel information, mobile ticketing options, and well maintained stations enhance the passenger experience. 

Further, innovations solutions, including driven insights and predictive maintenance, have optimised operation and reduced costs. Keolis impact extends beyond transportation, contributing to the city’s growth and development, enabling efficient commutes, thriving business and seamless exploration of Hyderabad. 

Conclusion: The O&M in the rail and metro sector has undergone significant transformation globally. Various global companies like Keolis, Hong Kong MTR, Deutsche Bahn AG ETC. been involved in the O&M of rail and metro systems, bringing expertise and experience to ensure efficient and safe functioning.  

The future of operation and management sector holds a tremendous potential for transformation. As the country rapidly urbanises and embraces technological advancement, the need for efficient, reliable and sustainable transportation systems becomes paramount. 

By embracing collaborating with O&M specialists, India can create a smart and connected urban hub with world-class transportation services. O&M further will play a crucial role as it constitutes a significant portion of overall expenses and the expertise and experience brought by operators can lead to improved efficiency, reduced operational costs, and enhanced customer experiences.

Source: Press Releases | Image Credit (representational): Unsplash