Bangalore Metro – March 2016 Tunneling Update

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) just released their March 2016 newsletter which can be accessed here. As always, let’s take a look at some new views of the two underground stretches and then dive into analyzing the data contained within the newsletter.


Vidhana Soudha station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Vidhana Soudha station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Chickpet station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


KR Market station – 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 first 8 days of this month. However, since data from the February newsletter is available, a valid comparison can be made to see the progress made over the past month (February) with the month before (January).

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 pushed the opening to March-end, 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. As of March 9, there is no indication that BMRCL has received certificates for any of the 4 necessary prerequisites to inviting the CMRS.

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 Feb 1 Mar 1
Krishna Chickpet Majestic Dec 2015  747m  78m  273m
Kaveri Chickpet Majestic Feb 2015  747m  575m  593m
Godavari North Ramp Majestic May 2013  973m  687m  747m

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 February, it excavated an impressive 195 meters.
Distance Left –  474 meters

The Kaveri TBM was launched from the Chickpet station in February 2015 and has covered only 18 meters since the February 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 is expected to reach Majestic only by July-August 2016.
Distance left –  154 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 February 2016 update, it has progressed by only 60m and has slowed down considerably since January in which it excavated 138 meters. At this rate of tunneling, the TBM will reach Majestic station in April-May 2016.
Distance left – 226 meters

While January was quite exceptional for the Coastal-TTS team, both Kaveri and Godavari have slowed down considerably in February. Picking up from January, TBM Krishna continued its excellent rate of advancement and made solid unprecedented progress.

As I noted in February, 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. Does anyone else share this assessment?

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

23 Responses to "Bangalore Metro – March 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. Prasanna says:

    Thanks for the update! I agree that phase 1 can be complete by the end of 2017 or even later given the complexity of tunnelling work. Looking at the completions dates given so far, I even doubt the ability of the officials and politicians to estimate a realistic date.

    A suggestion from my side – can you please also include the updates on phase 2 progress?

    • TMRG says:

      Hi Prasanna, thanks for your suggestion! For Phase 2, contractors are currently performing soil tests and piling work at different locations of the Mysore Road-Kengeri and Puttenahalli – Anjanapura extensions of the Purple & Green lines. BMRCL on their end is trying to secure approvals for chopping trees, acquisition of properties and their demolition. I’ll post an update when there’s something significant.

  2. Sha says:

    Thanks for the update. Gives a realistic view of namma metro on-ground operations. Hope things turn up for better.

  3. S.divakar says:

    Thanks for the update. It gives a realistic picture. With amout of technology we have was it not possible to anticipate the geological difficulties and plan accordingly at initial stage.

  4. Raghu says:

    Comparing Krishna and Kaveri, Krishna did about 60m and 195m respectively in the first two months versus 57m and 112 m by Kaveri … very impressive performance …. guess the team got hold of the geography after running Kaveri, so they now know where they go at speed gaining from Kaveri’s experience. Hope Krishna keeps up good pace this month as well.

    Wish Godavari can pick up some speed .. the last 50 meters might go at pretty good pace i.e in the area leading to Majestic. One good thing is that there are no buildings or houses above the path that Godavari has to dig from it’s current position, unlike Kaveri or Krishna

    • TMRG says:

      Those are excellent observations! Besides the experience gained from Kaveri, I’m sure the Coastal-TTS team also installed shiny new cutting discs on Krishna during that 100+ day maintenance period prior to commissioning it which is helping it advance at an excellent pace. Hypothetically even if all 3 tunnels are wrapped up by August, all other internal works, installation, testing & certifications will push the opening to about April/May 2017.

  5. Jitesh Patel says:

    Thanks a lot for the update. Hope Krishna keeps up with the great performance so far. Also, if the Godavari completes early, atleast we can see operation reaching till majestic for the Nagasandra line which will be very helpful for people travelling on that line.

  6. Srikanth says:

    2017 mid for green line! thats way too slow I think. I live near national college, and the statios was built some 5 years back. and still no metro.. thanks for the update.

  7. Praveen says:

    Hi, you are doing great job with updates.

    Could you also please update on Reach 4 and 4a?


    • TMRG says:

      Hi, that section is ready and on-hold as the BMRCL cannot begin operations until the green line’s tunnels connecting to Sampige Road are built and track-work + electrification is completed so that trains can be sent to/from the Peenya Depot. There’s a good chance of it opening by the end of the year, but really depends on the BMRCL’s game plan which they haven’t revealed so far.

  8. Abhi says:

    Cant they commission the green line partially with 1 tunnel, when its done?

    • TMRG says:

      Yes they can, but they haven’t revealed any game plan for doing so. Previously they thought of airlifting the coaches onto the ‘South Ramp’ at National College in order to start operations but cancelled it without any reason provided.

  9. rakesh says:

    Problem green line can repeat for bommasandra to rv road. As jaydeva and silkboard prblm wont get solved easily. If atleast plan is to have depo near to silkboard can be of very helpful to commute to electronic city.

  10. Mayur says:

    Is there any TBM parallel to Godavari??? or not and why??

  11. Mayur says:

    How BMRCL is able to run upto MG road and Magadi road, as both are not yet connected???

  12. Radha says:

    Great work.but metro in ring road will help many people.

  13. Vinay says:

    Thanks for the detailed update. I can co-relate now issues and dealy in operations. However I start to wonder tunnelling work if actually operates at this pace, we have about 12-13 kms in RED line to be underground.

    Any idea, what plans BMRCL has on that? On an average if one machine can tunnel 25m in a month and if we deploy say 4 machines then it would take roughly 12-14 months. If this holds good, why would RED line take such a long time to become operational? Any thoughts? And is there a way more tunnelling machines can be deployed? I understand there are other connected work as well but as soon as Green and Purple line tunnelling is done, we should deploy these machines on RED line, isn’t it?

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, what you described would work in an ideal world. However, TBMs need to be stopped, maintained & repaired from time to time during their drives depending on the tunneling conditions and also after each breakthrough. Bangalore has unpredictable & varying geology conditions, so each day’s progress would be different.

      The Gottigere-Nagavara line’s bidding process has not yet begun and I expect contractors for the 2-3 underground packages to be assigned only in early 2017 with site preparation for stations and shafts beginning in mid 2017, and tunneling work starting in late 2017. The BMRCL can stipulate the condition of TBMs (new / refurbished) but their ultimate number depends on the contractor and how comfortable they are with meeting deadlines.

  14. Ramprasad says:

    Any update on the North South tunnels and their probability of commissioning by December 2016.pls furnish.After breakthrough of Godavari at Majestic, when wil the Peenya -Mysore Road- Byappanahalli connectivity will begin.

  15. Mithun R says:

    Hi, BMRCL cannot open the complete phase 1 by December 2016. If they had to open the north south corridor by Dec -16, the trail run should start 3 month before december which is September .
    It takes 2 months before September to complete the electrification signaling and track laying ,so in this case the tunnel should be ready by June -July we are already in May so there is hardly time left to open the stretch by decemebr . BMRCL are fooling people & committing wrong dates for the opening of North south line . phase 1 will be completely operational only by Q2- 2017 * ( if everything goes well ).


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