The last two crucial underground stretches of Chennai Metro’s phase I project — Washermanpet to Chennai Central and Chennai Central to AG-DMS — will start operations by the last week of January, according to the Chennai Metro Rail.
With this, all 45 km of phase I ill be up and running.
According to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials, earlier the plan was to inaugurate the two stretches in the last week of December, but it was delayed since the signalling software could only be installed in the first week of January.
“The Germany-based company has agreed to hand over the signalling software in the first week of January. Once that is done, the final inspection by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) will be carried out and we are likely to have the inauguration by the end of January,” an official said.
The safety approval by CMRS is essential, failing which the two stretches will not be opened for operations. The stretch from Chennai Central to AG-DMS is 4.1-km-long — comprising stations like Thousand Lights, LIC and Government Estate — while the stretch from Washermanpet to Chennai Central runs for 3.4 km, with stations including Mannady and High Court.
However, sources said it would be a challenge to complete the construction of stations along Anna Salai within the given time. “Even if they manage to open the stations, only basic facilities will be available,” he added.
CMRL has planned to extend train services up to 11 p.m. on November 2 and 3 to facilitate commuters doing Deepavali purchases.
Chennai Metro has also planned to operate more trains on the two days, based on the crowd in the evenings.