Chennai Metro To Secure 28 Trains With NITI Aayog Nod For Phase 1 Project

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 14, 2024, 11:36 AM | Updated 11:36 AM IST

Chennai Metro Rail (L&T)
Chennai Metro Rail (L&T)

In a major step forward for urban transportation, NITI Aayog has approved the procurement of 28 additional trains for the Chennai Metro Rail's Phase I project. This decision marks a significant milestone in enhancing the capacity and efficiency of the city's metro network.

Officials from Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) confirmed that the approval allows them to purchase more trains to service the 54-kilometre Phase I network. “Next, the project proposal will be forwarded to the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Finance. If they recommend it, then we can seek loan assistance from international banks,” an official stated.

The Phase I of Chennai Metro Rail project covers a length consisting of two Corridors i.e., Corridor-1 from Washermenpet to Airport and Corridor-2 from Chennai Central to St. Thomas Mount.

The Chennai Metro Rail system currently serves approximately 270,000 passengers daily. However, increasing congestion during peak hours has prompted commuters to demand better frequency. Except for the stretch between Alandur and Washermanpet, where trains run every three minutes, other segments experience frequencies between 6 and 12 minutes. To improve this, CMRL officials emphasised the necessity of additional trains.

To address these concerns, CMRL engaged a consultant who conducted a comprehensive study and recommended the acquisition of 28 six-coach trains for Phase I, considering the rising passenger numbers. Along with the new trains, station facilities will also require upgrades, bringing the total project cost to Rs 2,820 crore.

Last year, the project proposal was submitted to the state government and received approval in August.

As per The Hindu report, an international bank has already shown interest in funding the project. “With NITI Aayog’s clearance, we are hopeful that the Department of Finance and the Department of Economic Affairs will give their approval next month. Following that, we will proceed with securing funding. It may take about two years to manufacture and receive the trains in the city for operations,” the official added.

About 55 per cent of the corridors in Phase 1 are underground and the remaining are elevated. Out of 32 stations, 13 are elevated and the remaining 19 are underground stations.

Chennai Metro Phase I was inaugurated stage-wise from 2015 onwards and the last stretch was inaugurated on 10 February 2019.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended the entire loan of the Phase I project to the tune of Rs 8,646 crore (47 per cent of total cost).

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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