The opening of the first phase of Mumbai Metro Line 3, connecting Aarey and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), will not adhere to the 2023 deadline.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) had initially planned to commence Phase 1 operations by December of this year. However, although significant tasks, including civil work for the first phase, are set to conclude in December, it will be subject to extensive trials and testing; and the stretch is likely to be opened for public use only in early 2024.
“The overall work from Aarey to BKC-Phase 1 is about 93 per cent complete, of which about 98-99 per cent of civil work is done and work is currently underway to set up the systems, including ventilation, lifts, escalators, entry/exits… all of which is about 70 per cent done”, writes Mid-Day, quoting Mumbai Metro Rail officials.
Once all the work is completed by December 2024, full train trials will commence, followed by trials by RDSO—the research and development arm of Indian Railways.
The next procedure will be to approach the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) to inspect the network. Commercial operations can commence after receiving a green signal from the CMRS.
“After that, there will be integrated trials and finally certification trials by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety. Once the safety certifications are in, we can publicly commission Phase 1,” the report said.
The Metro Line-3 is the first underground metro corridor of Mumbai. Spanning a length of over 33 km, the underground metro connects Colaba to SEEPZ via Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).
It will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in the extreme south of the city to SEEPZ in the north-central with 26 underground and one at-grade station.
A noteworthy feature is that Metro line-3 is the first ‘Unattended Train Operation‘ project in Mumbai. In the initial phase, these trains will have a pilot onboard. However, after a few months, MMRC intends to seek CMRS approval for the operation of the trains in the driverless mode.
MMRC has already acquired all nine trainsets required for Phase-1 operation. The authority has awarded a contract valued at approximately 315 million euros to the French manufacturer Alstom for the supply of 31 metro trainsets of eight cars each.
While the complete designing and development of the metro cars are being undertaken at Alstom’s Bangalore engineering center, the 248 metro cars are being manufactured at its state-of-the-art rolling stock manufacturing unit in Sri City, Chennai.
The second phase between BKC and Colaba that was set to begin after six months of Phase 1 operations, likely by May 2024, will also be delayed.
“Work on Phase 2 of the project between BKC and Colaba is also 80 per cent complete. Many stations along the route in Girgaum, Kalbadevi, Prabhadevi and Dadar are in extremely crowded areas and we had to undertake innovative digging and building alternatives like the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) technology, where excavation is done with supports which is time-consuming. But work is now nearing completion and we will be able to open Phase 2 within 2024,” the report added.