First underground stretch of Chennai Metro gears up for launch next year

NO GLITCHES:The trial conducted on Friday was smooth, say officials. —Photo: M. Vedhan  

For the first time, a Chennai Metro Rail train took a ride underground from Koyambedu to Nehru Park, a distance of 7.6 km, taking a step forward before the launch in March next year. When this stretch becomes operational to the public, it will be a direct ride for commuters from Nehru Park up to St. Thomas Mount and to travel to Chennai airport, with just one transit at Alandur Metro Rail station.

This stretch was energised early this week and the trials with trains that started on Thursday had some glitches and technical issues, sources said. But on Friday, the ride was rather smooth, with the train traversing through seven stations effortlessly.

Through a ramp, the elevated Koyambedu-Alandur stretch and Thirumangalam-Nehru Park stretch are connected at the junction between Thirumangalam and Koyambedu stations. Officials said nearly 90 per cent of the work was complete and the rest may be over in a few months. “Finishing works like installation of false ceiling and other ancillary works will be completed soon. After that, inspections will be held by various authorities like Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS),” an official says.

At Thirumangalam, the installation of platform screen doors — that are protective barriers between platform and track — are nearly complete and in progress in other stations.

The work on cross passage is complete; these passages are constructed every 250 metres of the tunnel so that in case of an emergency, commuters can leave the train, take the walkway running along the length of the tunnel and exit the station using cross passage.

Of the seven stations, the largest, Shenoy Nagar, has been provided with the cross over facility. “The length of this station runs to about 360 metres and we have provided a lot of space of property development. Of course, there will be some space in other stations as well but this one will have more,” an official says.

Also, when this stretch is open, the Thiru Vi Ka and Nehru palks too will be available for walkers.

“The restoration works in these parks have begun and will be over by the time the constructions work are complete,” he says. But the parks will not be available in its original area as a few ancilliary buildings have come up in the parks.