RITES tasked to report on Kolkata Metro-Airport link

Kolkata (KOAA): While the route realignment between Sealdah and Mahakaran is awaiting the railway board’s nod, the state asked RITES, a government of India PSU, to study feasibility of its extending the arm till the Dum Dum airport. If the extension is carried out, a lot of airport-bound people from the suburbs will greatly benefit, with the East-West Metro touching upon both Howrah and Sealdah as well.

As of now, Sector V is the terminal station on the eastern end of the corridor. It is a dead-end since Sector V is not connected with any railway link. After acquiring the majority stake (74%) of the East-West Metro, the railways wanted to connect it with other networks. Ideally, a railway network should be linked with another railway for greater connectivity.

After a recent meeting with RITES, principal secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay asked the agency to prepare a feasibility report of such an extension.

The extension would save people the trouble of travelling from suburbs to catch airport-bound trains from Howrah or Sealdah. The ridership would increase because of the 6.5km extension, said a transport department officer.

In fact, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had earlier studied the airport alignment for the east-west corridor. Even Japanese consultants had submitted a report in favour of the alignment. But later, the extension plan was shelved owing to cost escalation.

The elevated stretch might run along the Bagjola canal, go underground from near the airport hotel and finally terminate below the integrated terminal building. Metro commuters will need to use escalators to reach the security-check zone on the surface.

However, the gauge difference between East-West Metro (standard gauge) and other Metros (broad gauge) would prevent convergence of the alignments.