Kolkata: East-West Metro to Offer Underwater Service Every 12 Minutes from December

Kolkata: East-West Metro to Offer Underwater Service Every 12 Minutes from December

Kolkata - Starting this December, the East-West Metro's under-river operations will run at 12-minute intervals," announced KMRC MD V K Srivastava. The East-West Metro corridor, managed by KMRC, is striving to meet a December 2023 deadline for the 4.8km Esplanade-Howrah Maidan route.

The complete 16km corridor is slated to commence operations in June 2024. This ambitious project has faced construction challenges, primarily in the subsidence-affected 2.4km Sealdah-Esplanade section, which has delayed the linear connection between Sealdah and Howrah Maidan. Srivastava revealed, "Train trials are currently underway in the under-river section.

We anticipate inviting the Commissioner of Railway Safety, responsible for approving new Metro lines, for an inspection by the end of November. Operations are expected to commence at the end of December, albeit with limited services due to challenges in the Sealdah-Esplanade section. Two trains will operate at 12-minute intervals." KMRC director (rolling stock) Asim Majumdar added that when operations commence, two train sets will undergo weekly maintenance at the Central Park depot to ensure the upkeep of the advanced BEML train sets. One challenge faced is the absence of a stabling yard at the Howrah Maidan end, which requires transporting the trial trains from Salt Lake's Central Park depot. These trains are pulled by a battery locomotive through the problematic Sealdah-Esplanade section, using temporary tracks within the unfinished gaps of the eastbound tunnel.

The completion of the east-bound tunnel with tracks is crucial for regular transportation of the trains to and from the Central Park depot. Srivastava noted that this tunnel should be ready by December, once it is linked with the ventilation shaft at the Wellington crossing. In a bid to address soil stability concerns, the project has engaged Norway-based GeoFrost to employ ground freezing techniques at Nirmal Chunder Street, freezing the ground and water table to facilitate micro-tunnelling. The project aims to commence this work before the Pujas, a significant festival in the region.

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