Work on metro rail will now start only in 2010, that too if the bidding process goes as planned by the government. The ‘dream' of metro rail as was shown to denizens over the last couple of years included swank trains and world-class stations at a distance of one kilometre each offering air-conditioned connectivity on three different routes connecting the city's opposite ends. Meant to be operational by 2012, it now would be a longer wait for commuters to zip on the metro.

The fresh bids announced by the government with Reliance Energy at the forefront has officials giving an optimistic timeline for project execution as year-end. However, industry experts said that it could take much longer for the 71-km,three-corridor project to take off or even get completed. Going by the original plan of the Hyderabad Metro Rail,it would connect Miyapur with LB Nagar, touching 27 stations in 45 minutes, Secunderabad with Falaknuma, touching 16 stations in 22 minutes and Habsiguda with Shilparamam, touching 20 stations within 36 minutes. The maximum demand for this service is from the L B Nagar-Miyapur corridor, since this track would not only be the longest but also cover high density stations. Each train, as per the original plan, is meant to have six coaches with a capacity to carry 2,068 passengers per trip. The trains are meant to operate at a frequency of three to five minutes. A detailed project report done by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for Hyderabad metro had projected 16 lakh passengers per day, within one year of the metro rail becoming operational in the city. The projected traffic after ten years is 24 lakh. However, industry experts particularly those representing the other consortium who are not interested in the bidding process this time, have said on various occasions that the traffic estimate could be an impractical expectation. They said that the project needed a more realistic traffic estimate to understand its viability.

As per "manual of specifications" of the Hyderabad metro, it is meant to have features such as CCTV cameras, energy saving measures and automatic train operation where only a driver can start the train and operate its doors. Going by the original plan, Hyderabad would have the internationally accepted ‘standard gauge' for its metro rail. Detailed technical specifications such as track structure, curvatures and gradients, coach design, seating, interiors, airconditioning, noise limits and other specifications were finalised last year itself.

Reliance Energy, the front runner in the bidding process, is also developing Mumbai's metro rail along with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.Among the other bidders of last year, Reliance Energy is the only one going aggressive on this deal. It is learnt, that Reliance Energy has even sought some changes in the conditions laid out in the metro rail agreement by the state government here. Reliance had asked for a grant of Rs 2,811 crore in its bid last year to develop the project.