Chennai Metro

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Chennai Metro
சென்னை மெட்ரோ
Chennai Metro Logo.jpg
Chennai Metro Rail at Koyambedu.JPG
Chennai Metro Rail arriving at Koyambedu Station.
Native name சென்னை மெட்ரோ ரயில்
Owner Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL)[1][2]
Locale Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Transit type Rapid Transit
Number of lines 1 (operational)
2 (Phase I)
Number of stations 7 (operational)[3]
42 (Phase I)
Began operation 29 June 2015; 12 months ago (2015-06-29)
Operator(s) CMRL
Number of vehicles 42 (Phase I)
Train length 86.5 m (284 ft)
System length 10 km (6.2 mi) (operational)[3]
45.1 km (28.0 mi) (Phase I)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV, 50 Hz AC through overhead catenary
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)
System map

Schematic diagram of Chennai Metro

The Chennai Metro, officially Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), is a rapid transit system serving the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The system commenced revenue service in 2015 after partially opening during the first phase of the project, which consists of lines along two corridors covering a length of 45.1 kilometres (28.0 mi).[4] The Government of India approved the plan for 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) extension in 2016.[5]

Upon completion, the Chennai Metro will be the first metro project in India that will integrate other public transportation systems and the project is expected to reduce the commuting time by 75% from one end of the city to the other. The system would also takeover the existing Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System, which would be upgraded to operate using the rolling stock of the Chennai Metro.[6] CMRL was recognised by the International Association of Public Transport in 2011.[7]

The construction began in June 2009 and the first stretch covering the seven stations from Koyambedu to Alandur over a distance of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), began operation on 29 June 2015.[3][8][9]



Chennai had an established Chennai Suburban Railway network, which dates back to 1931 operating on a metre-gauge line from Beach to Tambaram. Two more suburban networks, Chennai CentralArakkonam and Chennai Central–Gummidipoondi began operations in 1985. The first phase of Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System between Chennai Beach and Thirumyilai opened in 1997 with extension to Velachery in 2007.[10] Modeled after the Delhi Metro, a similar metro rail system was planned for Chennai by Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan, at the request of Government of Tamil Nadu.


In 2007-08, 50 crore (US$7.4 million) was sanctioned for preliminary works which included a Detailed Project Report to be prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.[11] The project was approved by the state cabinet on 7 November 2007 and was be executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). Seven lines were planned by the DMRC for the Chennai Metro network.[12] Planning commission gave in-principle approval for the project on 16 April 2008.[13] On 21 November 2009, a deal was signed with Japan Banking Corporation for loan.[14]


In February 2009, Hyderabad-based Soma Enterprise was awarded a 199.2 crore (US$30 million) contract for the construction of a 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) long viaduct along the Inner Ring Road.[15] In March 2009, a five-member consortium led by Egis Rail SA, France was awarded US$ 30 million contract for general consultancy contract.[16] On May 20, CMRL started to evaluate the integration of Metro corridor with the planned grade separator at the junction of Arcot Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road.[17] The construction started on 10 June 2009 with the piling work for the elevated viaduct between Koyambedu and Ashok Nagar stretch. In July 2009, tenders were invited for supplying rolling stock and construction of elevated viaducts for Phase I of the metro.[18][19]

In January 2011, Larsen and Toubro was awarded the contract for elevated viaducts for 314.43 crore (US$47 million).[20] In March 2011, Chennai Metro reached an agreement with Government of Japan for a loan of 2,932.6 crore (US$440 million) for the second phase.[21][22] In June, tenders for the elevated stations of the first phase was awarded to Consolidated Construction Consortium Limited.[23][24] In August 2010, the contract for supplying rolling stock was awarded to Alstom at a cost of 1,471.3 crore (US$220 million).[25][26] It was announced that the first phase will be extended by 8.9 kilometres (5.5 mi) and Larsen and Toubro was awarded a contract to construct a depot at Koyambedu.[27][28] In December 2010, DMRC submitted a report for extending Corridor-I from Washemenpet to Wimco Nagar, a distance of 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) at an estimated cost of 2,240 crore (US$330 million).[29]

In January 2011, a 449.22 crore (US$67 million) contract for design and construction of track works was awarded to a joint venture of L&T and Alstom and a 198 crore (US$29 million) contract for supply of lifts and escalators was awarded to a joint venture of Johnson Lifts and SJEC Corporation.[30][31] In February 2011, contracts were awarded for the construction of underground sections of the first phase.[32][33] The contract for power supply and overhead electrification was awarded to Siemens for 305 crore (US$45 million).[34] Contracts for Automatic Fare Collection (AFC), tunnel ventilation and air conditioning were awarded to Nippon Signal, Emirates Trading Agency and Voltas for 109.88 crore (US$16 million), 241.83 crore (US$36 million) and 196.2 crore (US$29 million).[35]

On 7 April 2012, the Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage challenging the demolition of a building on Anna Salai.[36] In July 2012, the first tunnel boring machine was launched and by October 2012, eleven machines were commissioned to bore tunnels along the underground stretch by three consortiums, namely Afcons-Transtonnelstroy, L&T and SUCG, Gammon India and Mosmetrostroy involved in the construction.[37] On 6 November 2013, the test run along a stretch of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) track was conducted.[38] On 14 February 2014, the maiden trial run for the metro was conducted between the Koyambedu and Ashok Nagar stations.[39][40][41] In August 2014, the metro received the statutory speed certification clearance from the Research Design and Standards Organisation.[42][43] In January 2015, a report was ssubmitted to the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety for approval.[44] In April 2015, the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety inspected the rolling stock and submitted a report to the Railway Board.[45][46][47][48] On 29 June 2015, commercial operations started between Alandur and Koyambedu stations.[49]


Current routes[edit]

Line Terminal Opening Length
     Blue Line Washermanpet Chennai International Airport 2016 23.1 14.3 11 6 Suburban, MRTS
     Blue Line Extension Washermanpet Wimco Nagar 2019 9 2.3 2 6 Suburban
     Green Line Chennai Central St Thomas Mount 29 June 2015 (partial) 22 9.7 9 8 Suburban, MRTS
Chennai Metro Phase I

Line 1: Wimco Nagar — Chennai Airport [32.1 km]
Line 2: Chennai Central — St Thomas Mount [22 km]

Wimco Nagar
Gowri Ashram
Basin Bridge
High Court
Chennai Central
Chennai Fort
Chennai Central
Chennai Central
Nehru Park
Chennai Park
Kilpauk Medical College
Park Town
TN Legislative Assembly
Pachaiyappa's College
Shenoy Nagar
Anna Nagar East
Anna Nagar Tower
Thousand Lights
Koyambedu Depot
Chamiers Road
Ashok Nagar
Little Mount
Nanganallur Road
St. Thomas Mount
Chennai International Airport

The Blue Line intends to cover the Anna Salai stretch and Green Line covers the Poonamallee High Road and Inner Ring Road with the Blue Line being extended from Washermanpet to Tiruvottiyur.[50][51]

Future expansion[edit]

Rail network in Chennai

Three lines covering a distance of 63 kilometres (39 mi) were proposed for the second phase of the network.[52][53] In 2012, the prior plans were scrapped and a fresh study was commissioned.[54][55] The State government set aside 36,000 crore (US$5.3 billion) for the second phase which is estimated to be completed by 2024.[56][57] Surveys are set to begin, by September-2015, for a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on, the proposed, three new lines - and they are expected to complete in six to eight months.[58] The initial plan was later modified to cover 88 kilometres (55 mi).[59] In November-2015, the CMRL was looking into possibility of extending the 3 lines by additional 35 kilometres (22 mi).[60]

Line Terminal Length
Line 3 Madhavaram Siruseri 41 kilometres (25 mi)[61]
Line 4 Koyambedu Lighthouse 14 kilometres (8.7 mi)[62]
Line 5 Madhavaram Perumbakkam 32 kilometres (20 mi)

Several studies and proposals have been made to identify new lines to augment the two lines under construction. Two lines have been proposed in the comprehensive transportation study submitted by Wilbur Smith Associates from Medavakkam to St Thomas Mount and Pattinambakkam to Lighthouse.[63] A metro line from Thiruvanmiyur to Kottivakkam was proposed by CMRL in the steering committee meeting of the Department of Highways and Minor Ports as an alternate for the East Coast Elevated Expressway[64] A project study was conducted to establish links between Moolakadai, Thirumangalam, Thiruvanmiyur and Iyyappanthangal.[65]

Takeover of MRTS[edit]

The MRTS, operated by Southern Railway, is proposed to be taken over by the CMRL thereby bringing all the elevated tracks and underground tracks inside the city under one organisation.[66][67]


When the project was initiated in 2007, the estimated cost of the first phase was 14,600 crore (US$2.2 billion) with a forecasted 5% increase.[68] As of 2014, the cost for the first phase escalated to 20,000 crore (US$3.0 billion).[69] The cost for the second phase was estimated at 36,000 crore (US$5.3 billion) with the project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA has sanctioned concessional loan amounts of 8,877 crore (US$1.3 billion) for the project.[70]


Chennai Metro runs in standard gauge measuring 1,435 millimetres (56.5 in) and the lines are double-tracked.[71] The rail tracks were manufactured in Brazil and the raw material was supplied by Tata Steel. The average speed of operation is 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph) and maximum speed is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).[72] Chennai Metro operates trains from 5:00 am to 12:00 am with a frequency of one train every 4.5 minutes in peak hours and every 15 minutes in lean hours.[73] CMRL plans to increase the frequency to one train every 2.5 minutes once footfalls reach 600,000 passengers a day.[74]


The minimum fare is 10 and the maximum fare is 40.[75] The first car in each train will be first class with tickets costing twice as much as the second class tickets.[76][77]

Administration and maintenance[edit]

The Chennai metro has a depot at Koyambedu with ballast-less tracks of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). The depot houses maintenance workshops, stabling lines, a test track and a washing plant for the trains.[78] It also houses the Operational Control Centre (OCC) where the movement of trains and real-time CCTV footages obtained from the stations and on-board cameras is monitored.[79] The company plans to build a headquarters building near the facility.[80]


Rolling Stock[edit]

Alstom was awarded the contract to supply 168 coaches to Chennai Metro at a cost of 1,470 crore (US$220 million).[81] Alstom will supply 42 train-sets composed of four coaches each with each car measuring 22.5 metres (74 ft) in length and can accommodate 319 passengers.[82] The trains will have a first-class compartment and a women's section with 14 seats in the first-class car and 44 seats in the normal car. The first nine trains will be imported from Brazil and the remaining will be manufactured at a new facility set up Tada about 75 kilometres (47 mi) from Chennai.[83][84] The trains are air-conditioned with electrically operated automatic sliding doors and a regenerative braking system. The cars will operate on 25 KV AC through an overhead catenary system with a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).[85]


The trains are connected to the grid via overhead electric cables and are equipped with regenerative braking with a capacity to recover 30–35% of the energy during braking.[86] The metro will require an average of 70 MW of power daily and the electricity will be supplied by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.[87] Chennai Metro is also planning to use solar power for five of its stations on the elevated corridor, with a production capacity of 200 KW.[88]


A total of 32 stations have been planned along the two lines of the first phase with 20 underground stations. In the underground sections, a walkway runs along the length with cross passages every 250 metres (820 ft) for the maintenance and emergency evacuation.[89] The underground stations will have an average width of 220 metres (720 ft) to 390 metres (1,280 ft) and will go up to 50 feet (15 m) deep from the ground level.[90] The elevated stations will have three levels, namely, street, concourse and platform with the concourse level at an average height of 5.65 metres (18.5 ft) and platforms for boarding at 12.6 metres (41 ft) above the street level.[91] Underground stations will have two levels and will be air-conditioned. The metro stations are disabled and elderly friendly equipped with automatic fare collection system, announcement system, electronic display boards, escalators and lifts. The stations are equipped with non-slippery flooring with grip-rails, audio announcements and Braille facilities to help visually challenged passengers.[92] Parking facilities will be available only in select stations.[93] None of the stations will be provided with toilets, with the idea of not having passengers inside the station for long hours.[94]


The metro system will provide connections with various other transportation modes in the city.[95][96][97]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • In August 2012, a construction worker was killed and six others were seriously injured due to a crane boom failure near Pachaiyappa's College.[98]
  • On 10 January 2013, a 22-year-old construction worker was killed and three others were injured at a Metro Rail site on Railway Station Road between Alandur and St Thomas Mount at around 3:45 am.[98]
  • On 11 January 2014, an accident involving a crane had occurred. The crane had toppled over, killing a 20-year-old construction worker and seriously injuring one other worker. The accident took place at 6:45 am at the construction site of the Saidapet station.[99]
  • On 17 June 2015, a 30-year-old Software Engineer, L Giridharan was killed on the spot when an iron rod fell on him at an under construction Metro Rail station near Officers Training Academy at St Thomas Mount around 9 am. The iron rod also hit motorcyclist U Mansoor, who escaped with minor injuries.[100]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]