Alstom recently completed the manufacture of the 500th metro train car from its facility in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. To boost output, Alstom has doubled its production plans in India to 480 metro train cars per annum, said Alain Spohr, managing director, India & South Asia. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about your Indian journey?
Our manufacturing journey in India started with the Chennai Metro order in 2010. This led to the setting up of a state-of-the-art rolling stock manufacturing facility in Sri City in November 2013. Since its inception, Alstom has been catering not just to the domestic [market], but also international projects such as metro rail for Sydney and Montreal.
As of 2019, Alstom had successfully delivered 420 metro train sets to some of India’s major cities such as Chennai, Lucknow and Kochi. The company employs 600 people at Sri City.
Are you back to pre-COVID levels in terms of production?
Yes, I’m happy to share that we are back to the pre-COVID levels of production across all our manufacturing facilities. With Unlock 1.0, our teams persevered to restart with an undeterred spirit, following all necessary permissions and keeping safety as a priority by adhering to government protocols.
Having reached the pre-COVID levels, what are your production plans ?
Our Sri City facility is a ‘factory of the future’, fuelling our metro journey. It can build at least four variants of metro train sets simultaneously. With the growing demand, we have doubled the capacity of this factory to manufacture 40 cars per month or 480 cars per annum, making it one of the largest in the country for metro train manufacturing.
Additionally, our expansion plans are also progressing as per schedule. For example, we have commenced work on building a new site for components manufacturing in Coimbatore. The current site operations will be moved into the new premises which is expected to be operational in the first quarter of next year.
Your export strategy?
India is a very credible market for engineering and manufacturing. Alstom, in India, not only caters to domestic needs but also delivers engineering, components and fully built train sets for various countries across the globe.
Our Coimbatore facility for rolling stock components, which specialises in designing, manufacturing and testing traction and electrical components, also exports to many countries including France, Belgium, Italy and Poland.
What is the order book position?
Alstom has established a strong presence in India and is proud to be part of Indian Railway’s modernisation efforts. This year, Alstom has started deliveries of the 12,000 HP WAG-12 electric locomotives to Indian Railways. As per plan, we will deliver 75 units in FY 20/21. Starting next fiscal, we will deliver 100 units annually.
Other than the ambitious electric locomotive project, we are also executing electrification, signalling and telecommunications systems for over 343 km along the Eastern phase of the ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor.
In line with the Centre’s Make-in-India initiative, we have been investing heavily in the country to produce rolling stock and components and delivering engineering services to various global sites.
The ongoing projects are: rolling stocks for Mumbai Metro Line 3; infrastructure projects for Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Jaipur; and signalling projects for Mumbai, Pune and Jaipur.
What was the feedback from Sydney Metro about the Indian-made cars?
Sydney Metro’s Northwest line was our first export order for rolling stock manufactured at Sri City and a follow-up order from Sydney for their new lines is a testimony to the confidence that global customers have in Alstom’s India manufacturing capabilities.
Having clocked more than 5.7 million kilometres until October 2020, Sydney Metro has been successfully running without any major breakdowns.