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India's First Underwater Metro to Commence from Feb 13th 2020 in Kolkata

Kolkata, West Bengal is all set to enjoy the first underwater metro train of the country on 13th February 2020. This train runs between Howrah and Salt Lake Sector V. This metro line will run for 16 km and a part of the route runs underwater beneath the River Hooghly.

Construction of Underwater Tunnel

This metro line is compared with the underwater train tunnel of Eurostar between Paris and London. The train runs underwater in Hooghly River at a depth equivalent to the height of a ten storey building. This train tunnel is constructed with a twin tunnel of 1.4m width concrete ring. The tunnels are fitted with a hydrophilic gasket, which prevents water from gushing into the tunnel. The cost of the project is 8500 crores. The construction commenced in 2017 and equipment for boring the tunnels were shipped from Germany.

The construction of the line is completed and the metro train route will be inaugurated by Railway Minister Piyush Goel on 13th February, 2020.

Advantage of this Line

For a whopping cost of 8500 crores, this project is said to reduce the travel time and cost for the passengers. The time of travel is cut significantly by 90 minutes. By 2035, this line is expected to serve more than ten lakhs travelers, every day.Currently, it is expected to transport about 20% of the city population (9 lakhs) per day. The project was funded partly by Japan International Corporation Agency and KMRC has mentioned that it would pay off the loan in 30 years with an interest rate of 1.2 to 1.6 per cent.

Test Ride

In January 2020, Manoj Joshi, the GM of Kolkata Metro inspected and rode the trail run. He checked the underground section, elevated viaduct, and other parts of the route. After his positive report on the readiness of the project, the Railway Board announced the commencement date.

About the Route

The train route span for 16.6 km. Out of this, 5.8 km of the route is covered in elevated corridor and the remaining 10.8 km route is covered underground. The underwater tunnel spans for 520m. Thus, passengers will be travelling half a kilometer beneath the Hooghly River, which takes less than one minute.

According to Babul Supriyo, Union Minister, this East-West Metro phase one route will start its service from 13th of February. The entire East-West project is expected to be completed before March 2022. The project is owned majorly by Indian Railway Ministry and partly by Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. The service was expected to start much earlier but the construction was halted for several months due to a burst in aquifer during the construction process.

Cost of the tickets for the train route is not yet disclosed to public.

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