Work to construct a depot-cum-yard for Metro Rail on nearly 70 acres in Koyambedu is expected to begin by January.

The facility will be at the heart of the Metro project – housing several critical amenities such as a test track, a stabling yard, depot workshop, an operational control room and an exclusive 110 KV sub-station. The work is expected to be completed by May 2013.

The tender evaluation for the project is complete. As the estimated cost is Rs. 250 crore to Rs.300 crore, it will be tabled before the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) board, chaired by the Secretary to the Union Ministry of Urban Development, for final clearance.

While some preliminary work has begun on the site, the actual construction of the facility would be taken up only on getting the clearance.

A senior CMRL official said that the imported Metro coaches would first be tested on the tracks inside the depot before operational use.

The operational control room at the depot would serve as the nerve centre of the Metro rail network. Critical sub-systems such as the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) and Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) would be used to monitor traffic along the entire network spanning 45 km.

The ATP would provide a high level of safety by adopting a minimum distance of separation between two trains at any given point of time. It could also automatically apply brakes and enforce speed limits along certain sections.

The automatic signalling and control system would enable more train trips to be operated along the network. While one train is expected to be operated every 15 minutes in 2013 when phase-I becomes functional, the frequency is expected to increase to one train every six minutes by 2016 on completion of the entire project.

According to the detailed project report for Chennai Metro Rail, a link line for transferring rakes from Corridor-I (Chennai Airport-Washermenpet) to Corridor-II (Chennai Central - St. Thomas Mount) would be provided at Alandur.

A secondary depot was also set to come up at Meenambakkam.

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