Chennai Metro on fast track

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Updated: Mar 5 2014, 09:10am hrs
Chennais dream of riding the metro rail is inching closer to reality. If everything falls in place, by this year-end, Chennai will witness the first metro rolling stock chugging through its freshly laid tracks that run through elevated pillars and underground.

French major Alstom has delivered to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) the first two trains sets, first from Alstoms new rolling-stock facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. They are part of a euro 243-million order representing 42 Metropolis train sets to be delivered by 2015.

The last trial run having conducted on January 30, the tentative plan is like thus: The first 10-km stretch between Koyambedu and Alandur will be ready by 2014 end, while the line between St. Thomas Mount and Airport will be ready by 2015. The rest of Phase-I will be completed before December 2016. CMRL claims this will be first Metro project in the country that will integrate other public transportation systems.

R Ramanathan, director, projects, CMRL, said when the project was initiated in 2007 the estimated cost of the 45-km project was around R14,600 crore. Now, with the anticipated 5% increase, as of today, the project cost comes to R20,000 crore. For example, earlier the land cost was estimated to be around R1,000 crore, but has touched R2,500 crore now.

Chennai Metro, Tamil Nadu's largest infrastructure project has been funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (59 %), Union government (20%) and the state government (21%). The Metro Rail project would reduce commute time by 75% from one end of the city to another.

Anticipating phase I completion close to the schedule, CMRL has drawn Phase II of the project.

We have made a presentation to the government for phase-II, which will run for around 60 km, with three co-corridors. The estimated project cost is around R36,000 crore . The entire stretch in Phase-II would be underground, Ramanathan said.

According to CMRL officials, the frequency of one train would be for every 2.3 minutes once footfalls reach six lakh passengers a day. CMRL projects passenger trips per day would reach 7.74 lakh in 2016 and 12.85 lakh in 2026.

CMRL will receive electrical power from Tamil Nadu Electricity Board for a maximum demand of 60 MVA from three 110 kV sub-stations being set up by the Electricity Board at Koyambedu, Alandur and Chennai Central. Three traction sub-stations will be set up under this contract to step down the voltage from 110 kV to 25 kV AC single phase for use for the traction purposes.

The approximately 45-km mass rapid transit system is expected to reduce traffic congestion and traffic pollution and meet the rising demand for transportation in the southern metropolis.