The first line of Chennai Metro Rail is expected to commence operations by February, 2015, after a delay of almost an year from the original target. The second stretch of metro rail, a major share of which is designed to be under the ground, is expected to start operations by the end of 2015.
The first line in the project, a stretch from Koyambedu to Alandur covering over 11 kilometer, has almost completed the works and it is expected to commence operations by the end of January or in February, next year, said R Ramanathan, director (projects), Chennai Metro Rail Limited. It may be noted that the Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu has earlier said that the metro rail would be launched in March, 2015.
The second stretch of railway line, from Koyambedu to Egmore, a major share of which is located under ground, would see completion of tunneling by June, 2015, after which the trial runs are expected to start. The stretch is expected to be ready to commence operations by end of 2015, he said.
Of the five packages assigned to various consortiums for executing the total project to build 45 kilometers of metro rail, the fifth package handled by Transtonnelstroy-Afcons joint venture was completed with a breakthrough of the second tunnel connecting Shenoy Nagar to Tirumangalam, which comes as part of the second corridor from Chennai Central to Saint Thomas Mount connecting Kilpauk- Thirumangalam- Koyambedu and SIDCO.
The tunnel boring machine, on Saturday grinded the last wall in the stretch, completing the package five in the project. The stretch has compartively less hazards to face and could make 16-18 meters of tunnel a day, said officials who were enganged in the project.
It has completed a stretch of 3.5 kilometer between Shenoy Nagar and tirumangalam, of which 2.4 kilometer is tunnel. The tunnel and stations are situated almost 16-18 meters under the ground. It has various back up facilities including walkthroughs between the two tunnels for the commuter to access another train in case a train in one line has some problem. The platforms would be seperated from the tracks with a skin wall, which has doors where the train doors will align once the train is stopped in the station.
The tunnel lines would not require rigourous trial runs since the first line between Koyambedu-Alandur is being tested for almost an year and the trial in the undergoround line would be to check it is in tune with the underline system ,s aid Ramanathan.
Officials also said that in order to commence the operations in the first line, the CMRL officials have approached the State government seeking a time in February to fix the launch function.
The 45 kilometer phase of the Chennai Metro Rail project was expected complete with an estimated cost of Rs 14000 crore, of which the Central and State Governments together are expected to contribute about 41%. The balance is being met by a loan granted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). However, over a period of time the cost has increased and currently it stands at Rs 20,000 crore, said the authority officials.