Inside the highly secured, sprawling campus behind the Baiyappanahalli Metro station in Bengaluru, a learning session is underway. It is at this institute that trainees learn basics of operating Metro trains. Young men and women from across the country and abroad are in queue to gain from the expertise here.
Since its inception in 2011, Bangalore Metro Rail Training Institute, a body of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), has trained over 1,600 employees in south India. While those who were trained here also came from Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, a major chunk belongs to Bengaluru.
The commercial launch of the entire East-West Corridor from Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road on April 30 and the ferrying of an average of 1.3 lakh commuters per day have made Metro a major mode of public transport in Bengaluru. It goes without saying that the reputation of this institute, which has trained train operators, station controllers, junior engineers and section engineers, has been enhanced.
With highly experienced teaching staff and a sophisticated imported simulator, the institute creates an instant positive impression on representatives of any Metro coming here to assess the infrastructure before sending their recruits.
“The USP of the institute is the `11-crore simulator. Its spare parts were imported from Germany and assembled at BEML in Bengaluru,” says K L Mohan Rao, principal of the institute.
This reporter was allowed to feel the experience of driving a train using the simulator. The mammoth machine is housed inside a compact room that duplicates a driver’s cabin. All possible scenarios that could occur when a train is in motion like heavy rain, fog, a person suddenly trespassing onto tracks, animals walking around, and so on are replicated here. Every trainee is taught how to handle each situation until he or she masters it.
Hima S is one of the 13 women who have just completed their training and heading back to work. “I faced strong objections from family and friends for leaving my job in the Railways to join Metro. Riding a Metro train is far easier and I feel very comfortable after this training,” she says.
Vishnu Sridharan P, a trainee, says, “The practical training imparted here is very useful to us.” When asked about the uniqueness of the training programme, most of the trainees say, “Metro technology is something totally new for us and it is a big learning experience.”
Trainees also gain much exposure by frequenting the Operations Control Centre located nearby, the nerve centre of the Bangalore Metro operations.
The institute now holds the potential to emerge as a self-reliant one. “Representatives from the Kolkata and Nagpur Metro visited the institute recently and expressed the desire to send their men for training,” said Pradeep Singh Kharola, managing director, BMRCL. The institute is also exploring the potential of training Metro staff from Asian countries.
Developed countries too are knocking at its doors to get benefit from the expertise. “A consultant in Bengaluru has been making inquiries on behalf of companies based in the US and UK for training their Metro staff here,” Rao says.
Here, the training cost will be one-tenth than that in other countries. This training would also help the unemployed in several countries enter the rail workforce, he adds.