- India’s first underwater metro service is part of Kolkata’s East-West Corridor Project.
- The key portion of the Project is a 520-metre underwater tunnel, which is located in the 10.8 km long underground section.
- Commuters will move quickly through the water, covering roughly 500 metres in less than a minute.
The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has set a December 2023 deadline for completing the entire 16.6km stretch of the East-West Metro Corridor.
The East West Metro Project will link sector V with the Howrah Maidan on the other side of the Hooghly River, is built at a cost of Rs 8600 crores.
The metro will pass beneath the Hooghly river from Sector V to Howrah, covering a longer distance in just 27 minutes.
About 9.30 km of the 16.55 km total are in use between Sector V and Sealdah. The remaining 7.25 km is expected to be operational by next year.
“We are trying our best to complete the entire East-West Metro line by December 2023 even though it’s a huge challenge,” said KMRC new MD, Naresh Chandra Karmali, reports Economic Times.
Many passengers will benefit greatly from the completion of the East-West corridor project since it will link the congested Howrah and Sealdah railway stations as well as the Esplanade stop of the North-South Line of the Kolkata Metro. The commuter train is projected to considerably cut down on journey time.
The Howrah metro station will be the nation’s deepest with a depth of 33 metres built beneath the Hooghly river. 80 per cent of the work is already finished, according to KMRC.
Delays in the project
The project’s foundation stone was placed in February 2009, and its completion date was set for October 2014. Realignment caused the work to stop from 2012 to 2015. Weak geology and a crowded topography caused many difficulties for East-West Metro Corridor.
On August 31, 2019, a tunnel boring equipment struck an aquifer, causing severe earth subsidence and the collapse of numerous nearby buildings.
The project was initially expected to be completed by December 2021, but has been delayed because of mishaps that occurred at Bowbazar in central Kolkata while tunnelling work was being done.
In May, nearly three years after a similar event there, numerous residences experienced cracks while underground work was being done.
India’s first underwater metro service
India’s first underwater metro service is part of Kolkata’s East-West Corridor Project.
The key portion of the Project is a 520-metre underwater tunnel, which is located in the 10.8 km long underground section. The underwater metro train has been compared to the Eurostar, which connects London and Paris.
The commuters will move quickly through the water, covering roughly 500 metres in less than a minute.
When completely operational, trains will travel through the river tunnels at 80 kph and take 6 minutes to get from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade.
In 2017, the tunnelling project under the Hooghly River bed was successfully finished by construction major Afcons.
The underwater section will consist of twin tunnels made of 1.4 m-wide concrete rings. The tunnels include hydrophilic gaskets to further prevent water from getting inside.
Leading design firms like Atkins, Systra, and Tunnel Consult collaborated on the project.
Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) made by Herrenknecht were ordered.In the event of even a small water intrusion, the TBM would shut down like a submarine. British safety regulations were observed.
Trains will operate 26 metres below ground level at the tunnel’s bottom, which is 36 metres from the water’s surface.
According to Mithun Ghosh, the Site Supervisor, the amenities and safety precautions are included in the project, there would be walkways in the tunnels for passengers to use to flee in case of an emergency.