French Consulting Firm Systra Begins Feasibility Study For ‘Metrolite’ Between Tambaram and Velachery, Likely To Be Finished In 5 Months


Chennai Metro Rail has commisioned the feasibility study for Light Rail project that will provide a link between Tambaram and Velachery, The Hindu reported.

The study will be conducted by French urban/rail public transport civil engineering consulting firm Systra and is likely to be finished in five months.

Earlier last month, Tamil Nadu government had announced that it will establish a rail-based transit system for a total of 15.5 km on the Tambaram-Velachery corridor to address increasing traffic congestion due to the narrow roads in the densely populated residential areas. The government had entrusted the  Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) to prepare the Detailed Feasibility and Project Report.

Once the feasibility report is approved by the state government, the CMRL will take up detailed project report.

The 15.5 km stretch light rail is stretch likely to be at-grade (built on ground). The light rail  is also likely to be  with Velachery MRTS system as well, so that passengers who may want to switch systems and head to areas connected by MRTS network.

Another advantage for the light rail for this stretch is that, unlike Metro, it will have the ability to take sharper curves enabling it to traverse densely populated zones with narrow road networks. While a Metro cannot take very sharp turns, the light rail can. The radius of curvature for a Metro may be about 100 m, but for light rail, it may be about 25-30 m.

Metrolite is widely perceived to cost effective when comparing with other transportation like Metro rail / Monorail. It also uses very less land compared with Metro rail and less expensive. ‘Metrolite’, which can be developed at a lower cost in comparison with existing metro system, also can serve as  feeder system to high capacity Metro.

In June 2019, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry also issued standard specifications for the ‘Metrolite’ systems that can be developed on both surface and elevated stretches. It was recommended as the best option to promote public transport in smaller cities . ‘Metrolite’ will typically comprise of three-coach train will have capacity of carrying 300 passengers. The Union government government also promise provide financial assistance to states to implement the light urban rail transit system.

It is estimated building one kilometre of an elevated stretch of Metro will cost ₹200-250 crore and underground ₹500-550 crore. But ‘Metrolite’ may be built with ₹100 crore per kilometre.