Residents of the Taj city have reason to celebrate as the priority corridor of Agra Metro is likely to kick off operations by February 2024, six months ahead of the originally scheduled date in August 2024.
This follows the successful completion of the entire tunneling work for the priority stretch, spanning from Taj Mahal’s eastern gate to Jama Masjid.
The tunnel work has been completed in a record time of 11 months after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated tunnel boring machine in February.
It may be recalled that in February 2023, CM Adityanath had commissioned two tunnel boring machine (TBMs) — Yamuna and Ganga — to build 3 km long tunnel of the 6 km priority corridor.
“On an average, construction of an underground metro station and tunnelling work takes thrice the time as compared to elevated stations. However, Agra Metro team was able to complete this in a record time of 11 months including the tunnel construction through TBM, Track work, entire third rail laying work and signalling work to ensure smooth and safe train movement,” a press statement from Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) read.
Shortly after the completion of tunnelling, a metro train was operated in the underground section of the project for the first time on Saturday (30 December).
The 29.4 km Agra Metro has two corridors with 27 stations. The 14 km first corridor between Taj East Gate and Sikandra is now under development and has 13 stations — six elevated and seven underground.
The second corridor to be built between Agra Cantt and Kalindi Vihar in Agra City will be 15.4-km-long and will be completely elevated with 14 stations.
The priority corridor is a 6-km stretch on the first corridor and runs from Taj East Gate to Jama Masjid. It has three elevated metro stations — Taj East Gate, Basai and Fatehabad Road along with three underground metro stations — Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Jama Masjid.
High-speed trials on the three km long elevated section of the priority corridor have been initiated by UP Metro Rail. However, the progress of the tunneling work had held up the opening of the priority corridor stretch.
With the tunneling work complete, the train testing will now be done on the entire priority stretch which is getting ready to be opened for public in the near future. The systems and signalling work will also be completed by the next month, a UPMRC statement said.
In December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Agra Metro Project. According to media reports, he is anticipated to inaugurate the six-kilometre priority section by the end of February.