• Bicycles and motorbikes, rickshaws, cars, buses and trucks: India's roads are packed with all kinds of vehicles. All the more reason to offer relief through rail solutions

Connected to the Delhi Metro: The new "Aqua Line" in Noida

The Delhi metropolitan region is growing rapidly. Public transport needs to be expanded: to carry passengers, reduce road congestion, cut air pollution and make the location more attractive. The new Noida-Greater-Noida-Line connects central Delhi to its commuter belt in the east.

From the very west of Delhi to the eastern edge of the metropolitan region with just one change? No problem: the success and efficiency of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) illustrate the boom in rail solutions for local and long-distance transport in India. Eight metro lines have been put into operation in Delhi since 2002, and the expansion will continue up to 2024. Each weekday, 2.7 million commuters use the Delhi Metro, with over 270 trains making 3,500 journeys. The Aqua Line was added to the network on 25 January 2019. It officially belongs to Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC), but is connected to the Delhi Metro.

“Mass transit within the megacities of Asia and the mainline links between them are attractive projects in which we see major opportunities for growth.”

Dr. Jürgen Wilder – Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division

From Noida to Greater Noida on the Aqua Line

The station “Section 51” is where passengers change from the Blue Line, coming from the center of Delhi, to the new Aqua Line. From here the Aqua Line train, with turquoise interiors to match its color on the map, hurtles almost 30 kilometers through the prosperous city of Noida towards the up-and-coming satellite city of Greater Noida, which is why it is also known as the “Nodia-Greater Noida Line”. Suffice to say, coming to a halt at each of the 21 metro stations is a pleasure thanks to the Knorr-Bremse braking systems. The trains are designed for a maximum speed of 80 km/h and run at an average speed of 37.5 km/h. Looking out of the railcar, passengers can observe a cross-section of India's social diversity: the train passes through street canyons, modern office and residential complexes, small farms, street markets and slums. The Aqua Line ends at “Depot” station in a real wasteland, where ox carts roll along dusty roads. This is where it becomes clear: the Aqua Line points to an urbanized future that is only in its infancy in Greater Noida.

Effective braking boosts capacity

With its innovative braking systems, Knorr-Bremse is helping to boost efficiency and safety on the Aqua Line through Noida. The trains built by Chinese manufacturer CRRC are equipped with brakes that were also manufactured in China – at Knorr-Bremse’s Suzhou site. The brakes ensure optimal adhesion between wheels and track. This is vitally important, because the contact patch between wheel and track is only roughly the size of a 1-euro coin or a US quarter. To deal with this, ingenious algorithms distribute the axle load across the rail vehicle in the best possible way. Because if the brake force is optimally transferred to the wheels, the braking distance is minimized. This has decisive benefits because it not only clears the way for higher train frequency, which boosts the transportation capacity of the network, but also ensures greater safety. Currently there is little demand for greater transportation capacity in Greater Noida, but the passenger volume is rising steadily.

Here, Delhi and its wider metropolitan region continue to converge: while the Blue Line of the Delhi Metro heads towards Noida Electronic City, the Aqua Line has been running to Greater Noida since January 2019.

No sign of urban hustle and bustle yet: the "Depot" metro terminus heralds an urbanized future for Greater Noida.

Expats do not appreciate the unclean air in Noida, which could hamper its economic growth. A metro line to relieve road traffic can help to improve the situation.

Urbanization and megacities: an opportunity for Knorr-Bremse

Today there are 33 cities across the globe that are home to more than ten million people. Just over ten years from now there will be 43 such megacities. As well as its three megacities (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata), India has around 50 cities with over a million inhabitants. Unfortunately, air pollution on the subcontinent is also setting new records: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world's 20 most polluted cities include 13 in India.4 Pollution does not come exclusively from traffic – yet it has been identified as a major problem. New mobility solutions and concepts to transport people and freight quickly, safely, cleanly and reliably are required throughout the country. Rail transport plays a central role here. For Knorr-Bremse, India is a key growth market alongside China: “Mass transit within the megacities of Asia and the mainline links between them are attractive projects in which we see major opportunities for growth,” says Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division.

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