The government has decided to shift to solar power the first urban railway system Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) in Lahore in a bid to save the soaring more than Rs 1.9 billion annual electricity bills being spent on the entire operationalization of Metro Train.
According to the sources, Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMAT) is engaged with OLMT after the train was handed over to it by the Chinese contractor CR-NORINCO.
CR-NORINCO is a joint venture between China State Railway Group (CR) and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) in 2020.
General Manager (operation) of PMAT, Ozair Shah, while talking to the media, said that electrifying OLMT with a solar system is inevitable as the per unit cost of electricity varies between Rs 18 to Rs 21, adding that it is not feasible to run the entire function of OLMT for a longer time.
Many conceptual plans are in progress to materialize the solar system for Metro Train considering their merits and demerits, Ozair Shah said.
“One of the plans is to build up a solar plant with the capacity of 50 MG or 70 MG. The solar plant will activate a mechanism of input to output through WeLink to power up Orange Line Metro Train instead of using traditional electricity apparatus,” he said.
After being operational, the total ridership of OLMT has exceeded 20 million. It has also achieved advanced operating international standards that have 90,000 train trips, moving on a total distance of 12 million kilometers, and having trip efficiency of 99.9% with a punctuality rate of 99.9%. OLMT has 26 stations and tracks spanning over 27 kilometers long.
Moreover, the travel efficiency of the people was improved greatly, as the time of the entire route was reduced from 2.5 hours to only 45 minutes.
With the launch of the orange line, a considerable decrease is seen in using the old cars within the city, thus resulting in reducing the emission of gases, improving environmental pollution, as well as promoting the green and sustainable development of the city.
Orange Line is driven by all electric energy to ensure zero pollution and zero emission. It is expected that the annual fuel emission of gases will be decreased by 30,000 tons.
It is to be mentioned that OLMT is one of the main projects under CPEC. The agreement for this project was made in April 2015, marking its great importance for both China and Pakistan.