The abrupt stopping of Metro trains due to power fluctuations will soon be a thing of the past when Phase 1 of Bangalore Metro is fully operational in June. This is because the linking of the East-West stretch with the North-South will ensure that trains and stations will have additional backup power supply from four substations instead of the present two.
At present, Mysuru Road, Baiyappanahalli, Peenya and Yelachenahalli Metro stations have a substation each. But due to the lack of interconnectivity between the two stretches, the Purple Line is able to use power only from two stations (Mysuru Road and Baiyappanahalli) while the operational portion of Green Line from Mantri Square Sampige Road to Nagasandra is only able to use power from Peenya.
Bangalore Metro Rail Coporation Limted Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said, “When the entire Phase 1 is fully commissioned, the substations from Peenya (Northern Line) and Yelachenahalli (Southern Line) will provide backup thereby ensuring that all 41 stations have backup from all the available substations.
Running Metro trains for an hour involves consumption of 1,000 units of electricity, which costs power bills of `6,500 per hour. “BMRCL presently pays nearly `2.2 crore a month as electricity consumption charges,” Kharola said.
Specifying a few technical details, the MD said that 66KV substations provide the required power supply to all stations for traction. “There is a traction substation which feeds direct current to the 750 volts third rail, which runs parallel to the tracks,” he said. The auxillary substation feeds 440 volts alternating current to the station to operate lights, escalators and lifts at Metro stations.
Metro was also looking at buying solar energy from solar farms across the state to reduce its energy cost, the MD said. “This could come to just 60 per cent or 70 per cent of the power charges,” he added.
Energy cost of Metro is just one-third of BMTC
Though the infrastructure cost of Bangalore Metro was a costly affair, the energy consumption of Metro trains per person for one kilometre is far more cheaper and eco-friendly than BMTC. Statistics from BMRCL office reveal that it costs only 13 paise to transport a passenger on a Metro train for 1km while it costs 46 paise per person for the same distance on a BMTC bus.
“A total of B120 is the energy cost involved for one kilometre of Metro travel. When calculated for an average train ridership of 900, it works out to just 13 paise per person for a kilometre,” said a source. “With 2.5km covered on a bus utilising one litre of diesel, the energy cost per kilometre works out to B28. When calculated for an average ridership of 60 per bus, the cost per passenger works out to 46 paise per person,” he said. With trains running on electricity and not using any fuel, it makes Metro an environment-friendly option.