In most western cities, the bus system acts as a transit or a feeder service between busy commercial districts. The high density, long-distance commute is handled by rail networks, which form the backbone of a city's transportation corridor.

In this regard, the Metro rail network from Koyambedu to the Chennai Airport and the proposed integration of Metro stations with the suburban railway network is a welcome move.

The move would provide greater inter-connectivity and wider options, which at present is missing between different modes such as the MRTS, suburban and MTC bus service.

A senior official of the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said that initial talks have been completed with senior officials of Southern Railway to inter-link the railway stations with the Metro. He added that integration is likely at two points – St. Thomas Mount and Park railway stations. The stations would either be joint or next to each other. A walkalator arrangement has been proposed to inter-link all the stations.

R. Ramanathan, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction), Southern Railway, said, “Starting with the Central railway station, a pathway network has been proposed to link Park Town railway station of MRTS, Park railway station, Moore Market Complex and Central railway station with the two Metro corridors. The other railway stations which would be linked with Metro alignment are: Egmore, Guindy and St. Thomas Mount.”

Even as the Metro work is proceeding at a fast pace, there is a lot of expectation among Southern Railway officials regarding the MRTS extension to St. Thomas Mount which might ensure that the full potential of the facility gets exploited.

Mr. Ramanathan said that there was a big jump in commuter patronage after the MRTS extension up to Velachery, but only if the facility was extended to St. Thomas Mount, the suburban rail network would look completed. He said that the extension of the five-km stretch from Velachery to St. Thomas Mount costing Rs.495 crore would be completed by the end of 2012.

An official of CMRL said the Metro rail facility would be open by 2015.