Bangalore Metro – February 2016 Tunneling Update

It’s that time of the month! The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) just released their February 2016 newsletter which can be accessed here. As always, let’s take a look at some new views and then dive into analyzing the data contained within it.


HVAC services structure at Minsk Square – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Ambedkar Veedhi which had to be closed to construct the Vidhana Soudha station in March 2011 reopened in Aug 2015
– Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic Interchange Station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Chickpet Station on the Green line – Photo Copyright: BMRCL

The tunneling data in the newsletter was recorded at the start of the month and as such does not reflect recent progress made in the last 9 days. However, since data from the January newsletter is available, a valid comparison can be made to see the progress made over the past month (January) with the month before (December).

Purple line –  Tunneling on the Purple line’s 4.8 km underground section between Magadi Road and Cubbon Park was completed in March 2014 and trials have been underway since November 2015. After many announcements stating it’ll be operational in January, the BMRCL has now pushed the opening to March, but that also won’t be possible as (1) the station interiors and exteriors are far from complete and (2) BMRCL is yet to even file an application to the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) to inspect the line for safety purposes. BMRCL’s GM of Finance Vasanth Rao confirmed that in a recent tweet:

The safety inspection can take 1-3 months from invitation to approval, and after that, the inauguration date depends on the availability of ministers, so there’s little to no possibility of the line opening in March.  Whenever the BMRCL files for CMRS’ inspection, I’ll make sure to tweet about it through my Twitter handle.

Green line – The Green line’s tunnels from the North Ramp to the South Ramp are being constructed by a JV of Coastal & TTS with some help from CEC-CICI. Only 3 more tunnels are left to be completed. Here’s a map displaying the incomplete Green line’s underground section between the North Ramp & Chickpet on which 3 TBMs are currently working on:

The three arrows represent the direction of tunneling by the TBMs on the Green line's underground section

The three arrows represent the direction of tunneling by the TBMs on the Green line’s underground section
view Bangalore Metro map

Here’s a table which compares progress made by the 3 TBMs as per the data reported in the newsletters:

TBM Origin Destination Launch Date Distance Jan 1 Feb 1
Krishna Chickpet Majestic Dec 2015  747m  6m  78m
Kaveri Chickpet Majestic Feb 2015  744m  564m 575m
Godavari North Ramp Majestic May 2013  973m 549m  687m

The Krishna TBM made a breakthrough at Chickpet station on August 31 from the KR (City) Market station after a slow and tiring journey of 22 months. After being put through repairs for 112 days, the TBM was launched on December 22 towards Majestic for one final drive. In the month of January, it excavated an impressive 72 meters.
Distance Left –  669 meters

The Kaveri TBM was launched from the Chickpet station in February 2015 and has covered only 11m since the January 2016 update. The reason for this includes hard rock and the precarious nature of buildings en-route to Majestic that had to be evacuated.  At this poor rate of tunneling, the TBM will reach Majestic only by August 2016.
Distance left – 169 meters

The Godavari TBM had a new cutterhead installed on it in late July 2015 and restarted tunneling towards Majestic in mid September 2015. Since the January 2016 update, it has progressed by 138m and has continued its excellent run from December in which it tunneled 88.5m. At this rate of tunneling, the TBM will reach Majestic station in April-May 2016.
Distance left – 286 meters

Unlike the last few months, January 2016 was exceptional for the Coastal-TTS team. TBM Krishna joined TBM Godavari in making solid progress, but TBM Kaveri is still limping south of Majestic underneath the historic Chickpet market.

However, I wouldn’t get too carried away with Krishna’s progress. For those of us elephants that never forget – Kaveri on the parallel tunnel also started very fast with high advancement rates of 57m in March 2015 and 112m in April 2015 before running into hard rock/bolders and slowing down in the following months. Guess what? TBM Krishna is going to run into the same kind of geology and would require the same hyperbaric interventions at regular times to keep advancing along with grouting injections along its path.

My assessment from last month still holds true – If TBM Krishna is to take the same amount of time as TBM Kaveri to tunnel the parallel tunnel, then in all likelihood, tunneling on Phase 1’s underground section will only be completed by early to mid 2017. After taking into account the time it takes to lay the track bed, install electrical/signalling equipment, perform tests and have the line inspected, the entire 1st Phase of Bangalore’s Metro is most likely to be completely operational only in Q3/Q4 2017.

For more updates on Bangalore’s Metro, check out the Bangalore section of The Metro Rail Guy!


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Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

17 Responses to "Bangalore Metro – February 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. praveen says:

    Hi TMRG,
    i believe it should be January 2016 instead of January 2015.

    Since its taking more than a decade for BMRCL to complete we lose track of time for sure 😉


    • TMRG says:

      Corrected – thanks for catching that 🙂

      • S Manikantan says:

        Where is January 2015? I don’t see any. Is it February 2015?

        However, it is sad, it is taking a long time.

        My inquisitiveness, is if Majestic Station had been completed first, would things have moved faster or things would have been better?

        Or would it have been the same, with no progress beyond Majestic?

        Pl. answer.

        • TMRG says:

          I had accidentally written ‘2015’ instead of ‘2016’ while referring to the last month. That has been corrected now.

          The underground construction contracts were awarded awfully late: Purple line UG in March 2010, Green line UG in April 2011 and Majestic station in Nov 2011, so Phase 1 was bound to be delayed from the get go. That delay has been compounded by various tunneling issues that have cropped up on the Green line.

          What baffles me is that tunneling on Purple line was completed in March 2014 and 2 years later the stations are still not ready. BMRCL is yet to give an explanation for unnecessary delay. They’re currently awaiting test results from Sweden, so even if Majestic was completed earlier, system installation & testing would have delayed things on the Purple line.

          • satish says:

            Godavari is giving me hopes. The January month was excellent. Isn’t it just possible that the 286 meters is covered sometime in May 2016 and that Majestic Station is operational by September 2016. If that happens people can ply between Nagasandra and Majestic which is a big, big deal.

            What is disappointing is that the purple line tunnelling is still languishing even though that tunnel work was completed nearly two years back. It is almost appalling to note that.

            You should also update viewers on work outside of tunnelling so from that perspective at your reporting. We also understand tunnelling work is cumbersome and messy, although who knows how much truth is being reported to folks. Why the hell is the Putenahalli-Chikpet surface transport getting delayed which caters to JP Nagar, Jaya Nagar, etc areas. What is happening there? Can the stations not be made operational in those places and that line opened up until Chikpet? Granted Chikpet -Majestic tunnel will only be completed in mid-2017 and beyond. Still, we can do better than this and have 2/3 small lines like SampigeRd-Majestic; Putenahalli-Chikpet, and Magadi Rd-Majestic open in 2016 itself, albeit towards thelast quarter of this year. Something is better than nothing.

          • TMRG says:

            Hi, I post images outside of tunneling work through my Twitter account. Even if Godavari makes a breakthrough in May, it would take at least 5 months to get all the cabling, tracks and signalling system installed after which trials for Sampige Rad – Majestic will begin. Dec 2016 is definitely doable for opening this stretch. Operations on Putenahalli-Chickpet depend on the depot at Peenya. They could use one of the tunnels to bring/send trains, but that would be a little risky with active station construction & tunneling works taking place in the immediate vicinity. BMRCL is yet to formulate a game plan for that.

  2. sai says:

    Its very sad even if they fail to open East-West corridor which was successfully tunneled 5 years back by March end. It clearly shows their unplanned things. But they are talking about North-South tunneling delaying Phase 1 completion. What they have done with East-West corridor even they succeed 5 years back. Metro coaches which are procured 5 years back (Nearly 35 3-coach trains) are getting rust in parts in the Warehouse.

  3. Peeyush says:

    Hey TMRG, First up a Big Thanks for all the updates!
    I would like to know whether extension of Metro from MG Road to Cubbon Park would not happen till Cubbon Park to Magadi Road or there is a plan to start Cubbon Park soon? Could you please let me know 🙂

    • TMRG says:

      Thanks for your message! Even though MG Road – Cubbon Park is mostly elevated, the plan is to open it up along with the rest of the stations on the MG Road – Magadi Road section. As of Feb 21, there’s still no word about inviting the CMRS for a safety inspection.

  4. satish says:

    Can there be an update on surface transport metro line between Putanahalli and Chikpet? Surely there is no tunneling here and this line should have been operational long back. Why can’t these stations and line be kept ready at least. After all tunnelling was the problem eslewhere, but this route has no tunnelling.

    • TMRG says:

      Operations on the National College-Putenahalli section depend on the Depot at Peenya and there currently exists no link to it. Once one of the tunnels south of Majestic is ready, BMRCL will take a call on whether to send/receive trains in the morning/evening or wait until construction on both tunnels by Krishna & Kaveri is ready.

      • satish says:

        I am not sure I totally understand. Can you elaborate? This is vitally important. Peenya is not in between Putenahhali and Chickpet although I think I vaguely understand what you are saying.

        Surely they can ply 2/3 trains somehow through some means may be through cranes and trucks and get it to the sotuth of the city, and then get them on the tracks. I know this ins’t easy, but what to do. We can’t just wait for ever for the damn tunnels to be ready. In all likelihood the entire tunnelling network is unlikely to be running at full capacity until 2018. Why stop everything till then especially above the surface lines.

        You have still not updated on the surface lines and the surface stations and surface platforms like Putenahalli and Chikpet. If its no ready, its not ready. What is the big secret?

        Metro authorities are enough lax already. You are not helping them by hiding the info. If the surface lines between Putennahalli and Chikpet is 0% ready including stations and tracks, then so be it. Say it as it is.

        • TMRG says:

          The line between Puttenahalli and National College is ready, but as I explained before – it doesn’t have a connection to the depot which is critical for operations. In 2015, there were plans to bring coaches on trailers and lift them onto the line’s south ramp at National College. They did away with it due to flimsy reasons and will now wait for the tunnels to be ready for operations to begin. I’m saying it as it is 🙂

  5. Nandan says:

    – Very bad progress
    – No proper planning
    – only our next generation can use phase 2 metro
    – anybody thinking on the raising expenses by delaying
    – are civil engineers still needs to invent to make tunnels faster
    – is it the same kind of progress in other country metros as well
    – there are no officially announced deadlines in the Namma metro official website, why ?? Means no planning at all
    – why we should have hopes on this public friendly project.?
    – if Chickpet – puttenahalli over track ready, why they are not interested to do some business

    So many questions, but there will be no answers at the end

  6. Heather says:

    Thank you for the great site!

    For those who asked if other cities have similar issues with building new metros, the answer is YES!

    I grew up in LA when public transportation was nearly nonexistant. It took them 13 years to dig the central 25kms of metro tunnel, along with tunnels collapsing! Everyone thought the LA Metro took too long to build, the right segments weren’t built first and pretty much everything everyone is saying here!
    Now, LA has an amazing system that is still expanding and now receives great press. The metro completely revitalized the downtown and Hollywood areas from nearly abandoned and crime-ridden, to tourist and resident friendly neighborhoods where people fight for apartments and business is booming. The city even voted in a sales tax to build more Metro!
    Public transport is a huge investment in time and money, but it is well worth it. Every great city has a great metro, and Bangalore will be right up there with the best! I can peacefully wait for Namma Metro if it takes another year or more because I know, from previous experience, it will be well worth the wait!

    • TMRG says:

      Exactly! It’s only a matter of time. A large part of everyone’s frustration comes from the metro’s chirpy MD though. Every month, his unrealistic comments renege prior commitments and he just doesn’t know when to stop.

  7. Sandeep Dev says:

    Hi TMRG,

    Is there a operational metro connectivity from Majestic metro station to Sampige Metro station( Mantri Station)????? which further goes towards peenya.


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