Construction of India’s first monorail system for public transportation use is to begin in early 2009, a hybrid method of transport that could evolve to be powered by hydrogen or solar cells in future.

Kolkata-based Andromeda Technologies Pvt Ltd, which is involved in monorail technologies, is to set up the monorail in Kolkata, with construction of the 20km stretch to commence in March 2009.

The project is expected to take two years to complete.

Upon completion, the four coaches will have the capacity to accommodate up to 150 passengers and will run from hybrid technology, using LPG and each coach equipped with an electric generator. In future however, it is hoped that hydrogen gas may be able to fuel the service, while the addition of solar cells to coach rooftops has also been suggested.

Andromeda Chairman, PC Sen, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Biz Bridge seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and said, “The West Bengal government has given us permission to start a monorail that will cover a stretch of 20kms from Budge Budge to Taratala.”

“The monorail, which will have four coaches, each with its own electric generator and the capacity to accommodate 150 passengers, will be of hybrid technology.”

According to a report by, Sen also added, “To start with, we are using LPG, but we would like it to run on hydrogen gas in the future. There are also plans to put solar cells on the rooftops, but let’s see what happens.”

Derap AG and Helbing Tecknik AG of Switzerland are the technical partners of Andromeda in the monorail venture, with it thought that the 20km stretch could be later extended up to 52kms.

The first six to 12 coaches of the monorail will reportedly come from Germany, where they will be manufactured, after which coaches will be made indigenously.

Monorail services currently run in Europe, Japan, China, Australia and America, among other places, while Andromeda has apparently already received enquiries to start monorails from Bangladesh and other parts of India, such as Delhi, Pune, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.