First Chennai Metro line to be commissioned by mid-2014

CHENNAI: Empty rakes of metro rail trains will operate several times over the elevated Koyambedu-St Thomas Mount line for six months during trials before the project is commissioned in mid-2014.

With construction progressing rapidly along the stretch, the government has announced a deadline for the commissioning. “Chennai metro rail project is likely to be commissioned in three stages from mid-2014 and will be completed by 2015-end, finance minister O Panneerselvam told the state assembly on Wednesday.

“About 75% of construction relating to elevated viaducts and stations, 55% of the Koyambedu depot and 35% of underground stations and associated tunnels has been completed till March last,” he said. CMRL plans to ensure integration with bus, suburban rail, MRTS and monorail services to help passengers move from one mode of transport to another seamlessly.

A senior metro rail official said “Extensive trials will be conducted along the elevated line before services are opened to traffic. The trains will keep running along the line after construction is completed in December. People will be able to see the trains.”

The trials will act as a showpiece. The service will be a fillip to commuters, linking MRTS and suburban trains at St Thomas Mount and mofussil buses at CMBT. The Little Mount-Airport line is expected to be commissioned by end-2014.

As the deadline nears, metro rail has begun discussions with different agencies to fix fares for the services.

With the city’s rapid growth taking a toll on road infrastructure, the state government decided to introduce metro rail as a new rail-based rapid transport system. It is aimed at providing a fast, reliable, convenient and economical mode of public transport, strategically integrated with other existing forms of public and private transport services as well as with future systems, including monorail transport.

Under the CMRL, two corridors have been taken up for implementation, based on the detailed project report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited. The corridors – from Washermenpet to Chennai Airport and form Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount via Koyambedu – will cover 23.1km and 22km respectively.

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