Chennai Monorail

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Chennai Monorail
Native nameசென்னை மோனோரெயில்
LocaleChennai, Tamil Nadu
Transit typestraddle-beam Monorail
Number of lines3 (Phase I)
Operation will start2018 (Estd.)
Train length4 coaches
Headway3 minutes
System length57 km (Phase I)
Electrification750 V DC
Average speed65 km/h (40 mph)
Top speed80 km/h (50 mph)

Chennai Monorail is a rail-based transit system for the Indian city of Chennai. It is proposed in the Long-term Urban Transportation Scheme of Second Master Plan by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). The state government has announced plans to introduce monorail across the city to reduce traffic congestion and to increase the share of public transport in the urban transport network. The aim is to increase the share of public transport in Chennai from 27% to 46% by 2026.[1]

The project has been moving in fits and starts right from the time it was proposed in 2006. Since the first tender in 2011, conditions have been watered down several times and tenders have lapsed thrice failing to attract bidders. As of January 2015, only two bidders remain after the Request For Qualification process of the ongoing bidding attempt.[2]

The tender process to choose the contractor has been stuck in second gear for more than three years now as the project is as expensive as metro rail but does not have the same passenger capacity as the metro. While metro rail has the capacity to carry 45,000 passengers per direction, monorail can manage just about 10,000.[3]


The Tamil Nadu Government invited bids for the ambitious 'Elevated Monorail Mass Rapid Transit System' (EMMRTS) monorail project covering over 300 km to be implemented at a single phase.[4] Soon after a public interest litigation was filed in High Court, Chennai against awarding of the contract and the court ordered the government not to award the final contract without its prior permission. Since chances of the metro rail getting approval by central government which consisted of archrival DMK, were remote, the less expensive mono rail was preferred. A total of 18 corridors had been proposed.[5] Had the project been executed, it would have been the biggest monorail project in the planet dwarfing any other monorail in the world. However, soon she was voted out of power and the monorail project was shelved. Again, when the new AIADMK government came to power in 2011, the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, through the Governor Surjit Singh Barnala's address to the assembly, stated that the Chennai Monorail project of around 300 km will be revived and would supplement the existing metro rail systems that were implemented with assistance from Japanese loans and central government funding.[citation needed]

Proposed corridors in 2006[edit]

The following 18 corridors were proposed to be completely built within 18 months.[citation needed]

Origin Destination Length (km) Common Length (km)
Parrys Guduvanchery 42
Parrys Poonamalle 22.4 2
Parrys Porur 17.2 8
Parrys Avadi 25.2 2
Parrys Red Hills 19
Parrys Parrys 42.3 7
Parrys Manali New Town 23.3 4
Parrys Kelambakkam 39.2
Halda Medavakkam 12.3
Anna Statue Adyar O.T. 8.5 2
Virugambakkam Santhome 12 0.2
Egmore MFL Junction 19.2 0.5
Saidapet Anna Nagar Roundtana 10.5 0.5
Salaima Nagar Kannadasan Nagar 2.7
Ayanavaram Anna Square 10.2 1.5
Aminjikarai Ambattur Estate 6.4 3
Gandhi Statue Nathamuni 13.2 2
F.S. Estate Nungambakkam 11 0.2

Total Route Length – 333.1 km
Common Length – 32.9 km
Track Length – 300.2 km

Corridors proposed in second master plan[edit]

Two corridors have been proposed in the Second Master Plan by CMDA.[6][7] These corridors have been proposed as a feeder service for Chennai MRTS, Chennai Metro, Chennai Suburban Railway and Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

Corridor 1: Dams Road Junction - Royapettah - Thiruvanmayur - Adyar - Guindy (Halda Junction)
Corridor 2: Lighthouse MRTS Station - Anna flyover - Kilpauk - Perambur

Planned corridors (Phase I)[edit]

The Four corridors have been identified based on a feasibility study prepared by the Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services Ltd. A crisscrossing network of monorail corridors, running to a total length of 111 km with four corridors, is being planned by the State government and plans to complete the first phase of the monorail project within two years.[8] The network includes a 54-km link between Vandalur and Puzhal, which when completed would be the longest anywhere in the world. The developer will be responsible to (DBFOT) design, construct, finance, own, maintain and transfer the project after a period of 30 years. Monorail stations would be aesthetically designed, with minimal use of concrete. Initially, a four-car monorail train is expected to run along an elevated narrow guide way that would come up on the road median. The capacity of one train would be about 560 passengers, which translates to a capacity of about 10,000 passengers per hour per direction.[9]

Origin Destination Length (km) Via

Via Mudichur

Puzhal 54 Perungalathur, Tambaram, MEPZ, Pallavaram, Pammal, Kundrathur, Mangadu,Kumananchavadi, Karayanchavadi, Paruthipattu, Goverthanagiri, Avadi, Thirumullaivoyal, Ambattur O.T, Pudur, Surapet, Puzhal
Vandalur Velachery 23 Perungalathur, Irumbuliyur, Tambaram East, Selaiyur camp road, Sembakkam, Gowriwakkam, Medavakkam, Pallikaranai, Narayanapuram, Velachery.
Poonamallee Kathipara 16 Poonamallee, Kumananchavadi, Karayanchavadi, Kattupakkam, Iyyappanthangal, SRMC Hospital, Porur, Ramapuram, Nandambakkam, Butt Road, Kathipara Junction
Poonamallee Vadapalani 18 Poonamallee, Karayanchavadi, Kumananchavadi, Velappanchavadi, Vanagaram, Maduravoyal, Alapakkam, Porur, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Vadapalani Junction

Revised corridors (Phase I)[edit]

The State government has decided to drop one of the four monorail lines that were supposed to be built in the city. While originally an ambitious 111-km long Phase-I network was proposed to be constructed the revised target means the monorail grid would be only 57-km. The corridor from Vandalur to Puzhal via Avadi (54 km) has been axed because it runs through "undeveloped areas with no pre-existing traffic in the alignment", making it "financially unviable". If it had been built, it would have been the longest monorail corridor in the world.[10]

The revised 57-km long Phase-I of Chennai Monorail is estimated to cost 80,500 million. It is proposed to constitute a network of three elevated corridors –Vandalur to Velachery via Tambaram East (23 km); Poonamallee to Kathipara via Porur (16 km); and Poonamallee to Vadapalani via Valasarawakkam (18 km). The fourth line may be considered in the subsequent phases of the project. He said several monorail manufacturers had expressed the non-viability of building a 54-km monorail line (Vandalur to Puzhal) using existing technologies even during the previous tendering process. In the second phase, Asia’s longest monorail corridor from Vandalur to Puzhal would be taken up.

Origin Destination Length (km) Stations Via
Vandalur Velachery 23 14 Perungalathur, Irumbuliyur, Tambaram East, Selaiyur camp road, Sembakkam, Gowriwakkam, Medavakkam, Pallikaranai, Narayanapuram, Velachery.
Poonamallee Kathipara 16 11 Poonamallee, Karayanchavadi, Kumananchavadi, Kattupakkam, Iyyappanthangal, SRMC Hospital, Porur, Ramapuram, Nandambakkam, Butt Road, Kathipara Junction
Poonamallee Vadapalani 18 12 Poonamallee, Karayanchavadi, Kumananchavadi, Velappanchavadi, Vanagaram, Maduravoyal, Alapakkam, Porur, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Vadapalani Junction

The much-anticipated monorail is expected to have nearly three dozen stations in Chennai and its suburbs. The stations will come up at places that are good crowd generation points. The locations under consideration will have sufficient space for accommodating a station. The accessibility to these stations is also taken into consideration. An expert team was formed to scout for monorail stations sites. The team, comprising personnel from MTC, PTCS and a private consultancy firm, were given a time period of ten days to study and come up with sites where monorail stations can come up.[11] Poonamallee and Vadapalani stations are expected to get monorail depots, where the monorails could be berthed and maintained. The Kathipara station will boast of the multi-modal transport system with the monorail integrating with MRTS, Metro Rail, and EMU service.

Revised corridors (2014)[edit]

The government's realigned monorail route will connect Poonamallee in the northwest of Chennai and Vandalur in the far south through two corridors that will meet near the Kathipara intersection.

corridor-1 (Poonamallee - Porur - Vadapalani/Kathipara) Work on the first corridor is expected to begin in August-2014, with the government having issued tenders for the project. When completed, the 21 km first corridor will link Poonamallee and Kathipara, via Kumaranchavadi, Porur and Nandambakkam, with a wishbone line forking off to Vadapalani

corridor-2 (Vandalur - Medavakkam - Velacheri - Kathipara) The government is expected to soon announce the alignment for the second corridor between Vandalur and Kathipara, via Perungalathur, Irumbuliyur, Tambaram East, Sembakkam, Medavakkam and Velacherry.[12]

Revised plan cost and funding model In 2011, the State Government issued a request for qualification (RFQ) for 111-km phase I network cost ₹166.50 billion or ₹1.50 billion for each km. However, in the (2014) revised plan, the Government will start with the 20.68 km monorail at ₹1564.3 million per km. The revised route plan comes at a slightly higher cost per km than earlier planned, but, will be offered to private companies under the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis. This means there will not be any financial commitment for the State Government. As per the new plan, Corridor-1 - 20.68-km from Poonamallee to Kathipara with a link from Porur to Vadaplani - is expected to cost ₹32.35 billion.[13] The Vandalur-Velachery corridor (more than 23-km) is expected to cost at least ₹40 billion for which the State government has decided to seek assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).[14] JICA has clarified that as long as the proposal is to undertake the work under the PPP model, it is not eligible for funding. JICA funding would be made available only under wholly public funded model.[15]

Origin Destination Length (km) Stations Via
Poonamallee Kathipara 21 11 Poonamallee, Karayanchavadi, Kumananchavadi, Kattupakkam, Iyyappanthangal, SRMC Hospital, Porur, Ramapuram, Nandambakkam, Butt Road, Kathipara Junction
Porur Vadapalani 21 4 Porur, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Vadapalani Junction
Vandalur Kathipara 23+ 15 Vandalur, Perungalathur, Irumbuliyur, Tambaram East, Selaiyur, Sembakkam, Gowriwakkam, Medavakkam, Pallikaranai, Narayanapuram, Velachery, Phoenix Market City, Maduvinkarai, Kathipara Junction.

Stations (to be updated pending announcement for updated corridor-2 alignment)[edit]

A total of 37 stations on paper, in reality it will be 34 as the monorails running between Poonamallee and Kathipara and Poonamallee to Vadapalani stretches will be halting at two common stations (Karayanchavadi and Kumananchavadi besides the source station Poonamallee). The first Corridor – Vandalur to Velachery (23 km) — will have 14 stations, 12 stations will come up along the Poonamallee - Vadapalani Corridor (18 km) and 11 along the third corridor – Poonamallee to Kathipara junction (16 km).[16]

Tender process[edit]

  • 15 August 2011:The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), the nodal agency for implementing the project has called for Submission of Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the proposed Chennai Monorail Mass Rapid Transit System on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) Basis.[17] The role of Tamil Nadu state government will be limited to fixing fares based on a concessionaire agreement.
  • 8 September 2011:Pre-bid conference for monorail project held. It was an opportunity for prospective bidders to seek clarifications about the scope of the project and the tendering process.[18] Over 10 entities attended the pre-bid meeting, only three – L&T-Hitachi and firms from Malaysia and the United Kingdom – cleared the technical criteria set by the government. The pre-qualification stage of the bidding process initiated by the State government would come to a close on 28 September.
  • 1 December 2011:The State government took a decision to re-float the tender for the construction of a 111-km-long monorail network in the city. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa expressed unhappiness over the pace at which the monorail project was progressing at a review meeting. There was a suggestion to re-float the tender to see if there would be more participation, but a final decision took shape early this week.[19] A Mumbai-based firm, Fortress Financial Service, has been nominated as the official consultant for the project.
  • 25 January 2012:Pre-application conference was held at the Metropolitan Transport Corporation headquarters, Chennai. This is the first step of the fresh global competitive bidding process which was initiated on 1 December after the previous tender was annulled because of limited participation. All applicants would have to submit their proposal by 20 February, following which the government's Empowered Monorail Committee would pre-qualify and shortlist suitable applicants. The 'qualified' applicants would enter a round of financial bidding. A two-month period is likely to be given to prepare a Detailed Project Report for the implementation of a monorail system along four elevated corridors, totaling 111-km.[20]
  • 22 February 2012: Hyderabad-based Capital Fortunes Private Limited (CFPL) will assist the monorail cell in identifying the implementing agency for the monorail project. The implementing agency will also soon be finalized as the officials are all set to open the financial bid documents on 19 March.[21] This apart, officials denied reports that one of the four proposed lines Vandalur to Puzhal would be axed. "Though it has been decided to go with three corridors, the Vandalur to Puzhal stretch is still in the reckoning. The bids will be floated for the corridor separately. The alignment will be broken into two portions."
  • 19 March 2012:The government opened the financial bids received for the much-awaited, 80,500 million monorail project. Received financial bids from eight reputed developers across the world which would be scrutinised by the Hyderabad-based consultancy firm. It is learnt that it would take at least two weeks to finalise the developer. The empowered monorail committee, headed by the chief secretary is authorized to take a final call. Some participants are Malaysian firm Scomi international, players from Spain (Kafe India), Japan (Hitachi) and China have participated in the tendering process.[22]
  • 5 June 2012:The government finalising five project developers for the second and final stage, while rejecting three firms' bids at the opening phase, after a high-level discussion "Of the eight consortia of firms that had participated in the initial stage of bidding process (request for qualification), three firms, including Met-rail, M-rail, have been disqualified, while five other firms, including Scomi International private limited, Hitachi and Bombardier, L&T, and Gammon and IL&FS have qualified for the final stage - request for proposals,". The project promoters for the next stage were finalised after a meeting of the empowered committee headed by chief secretary and secretaries of a few other departments.[23][24]
  • 3 Feb 2014:A state government undertaking has issued request for qualification (RFQ) from interested parties to develop the proposed $522-million (about Rs 32.35 billion - for corridor 1) project. The estimated length of the line is 20.68 km. The project will be taken up through public-private partnership (PPP) on a design, build, finance operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.[25]
  • 25 Aug 2014 The state government has relaxed certain norms in response to the queries by applicants and as per the revised schedule, RFQ documents are to be submitted before 9 September 2014. The government plans to award the contract by 10 November 2014.[26]
  • 17 Aug 2015 The two bidders remaining in the fray have been raising unrealistic queries which makes the seriousness of their bids suspect in the view of transport officials.[27]

Project cost[edit]

The 111-km long, first phase of the Chennai Monorail project is proposed at a cost of 166.50 billion.[28] The per-kilometre cost of the Chennai monorail will be around 1.50 billion. The revised 54-km-long, phase-I of the monorail is estimated to cost 80.50 billion.

Inter modal transit facilities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Monorail to speed up ride from the suburbs". The Times of India. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Chennai's monorail stuck at bidding process".
  3. ^ "Govt readies fifth proposal, but monorail refuses to move".
  4. ^ "Chennai Monorail in Controversies". Financial Express. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Monorail project: To cover 300 km in 18 corridors". The Hindu Business Line. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^ M Gunasekaran, TNN (3 September 2008). "Multi-crore infrastructure plan - Chennai - City - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Four monorail lines in Phase-I". The Hindu. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Chennai Monorail (சென்னை மோனோரெயில்)". 13 October 2018.
  10. ^ "One of the four monorail lines axed". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Nearly three dozen stations in city and suburbs for monorail". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Monorail to connect Vandalur, Poonamallee via Kathipara". The Times of India. Chennai, India. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  13. ^ "New monorail plan for Chennai; to cost more". Chennai, India: BusinessLine. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  14. ^ More clarity on Mono Rail project within a month
  15. ^ "JICA says it can't finance PPP monorail".
  16. ^ "Monorail on a fast track". deccan chronicle. Chennai, India. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Global bidding process begins for Chennai Monorail". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  18. ^ "Pre-bid conference for monorail project held". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Tender again for monorail". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Pre-application meet of monorail project". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  21. ^ "TN picks monorail advisory consultant". Deccan Chronicle. Chennai, India. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Eight firms bid for city monorail project". Deccan Chronicle. Chennai, India. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Mono rail project: Panel zeroes in on prospective promoters". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Green signal to 5 monorail bidders". Deccan Chronicle. Chennai, India. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  25. ^ "After Mumbai dream run, monorail mania catches Chennai's fancy". Business Standard. Chennai, India. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  26. ^ "State relaxes norms for Monorail tech providers".
  27. ^ "Is it the end of Monorail?".
  28. ^ "TN kickstarts Rs 16,650-cr Monorail project". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.