The people of the port and pepper town of Kochi have given a thumbs-up to the Kochi Metro rail, with the numbers setting a record for the country since operations began on June 19. As many as 5,30,713 people used the elevated urban transport system in its first week of operation — average daily ridership of 66,340 — translating into a revenue of Rs 1.7 crore for the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), the company that runs the network. The first stage of Kochi Metro’s Phase I, a 13-km stretch from Aluva to Palarivattom, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17. The Rs 5,180-crore rail project will cover a distance of 25 km from Aluva to Pettah once complete.
The rousing response to the Metro is expected to speed up work on the remaining sections of the Phase I project. A 5-km stretch between Palarivattom and Maharaja College is expected to be ready by August, 2017, KMRL sources said, while land acquisition is underway for the Maharaja College to Pettah section (6 km).
Significantly, the Phase II extension project, comprising an 11.17-km link to Kakanad, the IT hub of the state, was recently granted approval by the state government. KMRL Managing Director Elias George told FE the project would now be placed before the Public Investment Board for approval. The elevated line to Kakanad is estimated to cost Rs 2,577 crore.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC), the agency entrusted with the design, construction, and commissioning of the Phase I project, claims it has ventured successfully into two advanced technological fields with the Kochi Metro. “The first one is the CBTC (Communication Based Train Control system) and the other is the installation of 750v DC electrical traction with regenerative braking system for train operations. By obtaining ‘ISA’ certificate and EIG certificate, DMRC has implemented the two ventures,” Narayanan P, DGM, Corporate Communications, DMRC says.
KMRL is using 3-coach trains manufactured by Alstom for travel on the heavy duty ballast-less track, which has a maximum speed potential of 90 km per hour and maximum operational speed of 85 km per hour. E Sreedharan, Principal Adviser, DMRC told FE, “Kochi Metro has the distinction of commissioning the first section in less than 4 years, faster than any other Metro in the country. ” The completed Phase I line is proposed to cut average travel time from two hours to 40 minutes. Eventually, the city would have a single transportation network, including water transport, with seamless interchange, a single ticketing system and a unified transportation network management, command and control.