Gurgaon considers caterpillar train for improved connectivity
Civic authorities in the city have been directed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s office to look into the viability of a ‘Caterpillar Train’ as a mode of public transportation in Gurgaon, which would be the first such initiative in the world.Updated: Dec 28, 2016 12:46 IST
Civic authorities in the city have been directed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s office to look into the viability of a ‘Caterpillar Train’ as a mode of public transportation in Gurgaon, which would be the first such initiative in the world.
The directions came after a presentation was made earlier this month at New Delhi before Khattar by Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya, general manager, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), and Emil Jacob, a PhD scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The two had conceptualised the concept at a contest organised by MIT’s Centre for Collective Intelligence. It won the popular choice and judges’ choice categories in August from among 500 entries from across the world.
The ‘Caterpillar Train’ is a miniature form of a tram that requires only a five metre-wide road for installation, making it a suitable mode of public transport near residential areas. Its coaches have wheels below and on top, giving it a caterpillar-like appearance.
The train is envisaged to have lightweight cars that run on top of or suspended below elevated rails supported by steel poles. The weight, cost and size of the coaches, apart from usage of land, is very less in comparison to a metro train. “Unlike the metro, which relies on heavy pillars and corridors, a caterpillar train runs on poles joined together to form an arch,” Upadhyaya said.
“A single broad-gauge metro coach filled with 300 passengers weighs around 75 tonnes. In comparison, a single caterpillar train filled with 50 passengers (its carrying capacity) weighs less than 10 tonnes. The train will comprise a basic composite metallic frame and measure less than five-feet tall and four-feet wide. The capital cost of constructing a caterpillar train would be one-tenth that of an elevated metro line and one-twentieth of an underground metro line,” said Upadhyaya.
Since meeting Khattar, Upadhyaya has also met TL Satyaprakash, Gurgaon deputy commissioner, and Sandeep Khirwar, Gurgaon police commissioner, to discuss potential areas in the city where the project can be implemented.
“As there is no proof of the concept of such a project anywhere in the world, there are a lot of aspects that need to be considered prior to the project’s installation. The project has to be installed in areas where population density is high and modes of public transport are less,” Satyaprakash said.
Upadhyaya said stretches between Huda City Centre and Sushant Lok, Ambience Mall and Rajiv Chowk, and areas along Sohna road were recommended during the meetings.
“After analyzing the reports, I will submit an engineering and traffic feasibility report to the CMO. The decision will then rely on the state government and their selected experts after its feasibility is analysed,” he said.
He added that the model is likely to be built on a Public-Private-Partnership, with the government providing necessary clearances and land and a private firm bearing construction costs.