Bangalore Metro – August 2016 Tunneling Update

I just got back from a vacation which involved a lot of outdoor relaxation and have some catching up to do with mail, comments and news. In my absence, thanks to many readers for alerting me about the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation making their August newsletter available. Do check it out for a lot more images and data points which have been recorded at the start of the month – i.e. August 1.

Phase 2

Notable progress on piling work has taken place at the Rajarajeshwarinagar and Jnanabharathi stations since last month. However, 0 new notices inviting construction have been posted since May 2015. The BMRCL till now has only invited bids & awarded contracts for 3 packages: 2 for the extension of the Purple Line to Challegata and 1 for the extension of the Green Line to Anjanapura/NICE junction – and work on those stretches has just commenced at the start of the summer. As such, without any new new packages in the tendering stage (see BMRCL’s tender page), construction work elsewhere (Whitefield, BIEC, Electronics City to name some places) is at the very least 12 months away from beginning.

Last month, I explained how important financing is in infrastructure projects and how the BMRCL still doesn’t have the external funds it needs (45% of Rs 26,000 crores) tied up to execute the project. Now, the Deccan Herald in support of that has published a report on the poor response the BMRCL has received from global lenders. In addition, the state government has announced plans to lease out land adjacent to Phase 1 stations to fund their portion of the project.

One significant thing to note is that the post of Director (Finance) at BMRC has been lying vacant for almost 9 months now. The BMRCL had invited applications in December 2015, but there hasn’t been any news on this position being filled. Without someone to vet proposals and take big decisions that steers the project’s financing and ultimately its success, the Phase 2 project has and will continue to slow down.

Phase 1

As always, let’s first take a look at some new snaps of the underground sections, and then dive into analyzing the data for Phase 1:


Chickpet station with segments to feed Krishna – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


KR/City Market station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL

Purple line –  Tunneling work by the CEC-CICI JV on the Purple line’s 4.8 km underground section between Magadi Road – MG Road started in May 2011 and got completed in March 2014. Following that, trial runs began in November 2015. The line was finally inaugurated on April 29 2016 and commercial operations started the next day at 6 am. A comprehensive history of the underground section from bidding to construction to testing can be viewed here.

Green line – The Green line’s tunnels from the North Ramp (near Sampige Road station) to the South Ramp (near National College station) are being constructed by a JV of Coastal – TTS with some help from the Robbins Company and the CEC-CICI JV. In the month of June,  TBM Kaveri made a successful breakthrough at the Majestic station’s South Shaft and now only 1 more breakthrough by TBM Krishna is left to wrap up tunneling works on the metro’s Phase 1 project.

Here’s a map displaying the incomplete Green line’s underground section between Majestic & Chickpet. As of August 1, Only TBM Krishna is tunneling from Chickpet to Majestic.

Arrows represent direction of tunneling by the last 2 TBMs - view Bangalore Metro map

Arrow represents direction of tunneling TBM Krishna – view Bangalore Metro map

Progress Table:

TBM Origin Destination Distance June 1 July 1 Aug 1
Krishna Chickpet Majestic  747m  572m  607.5 m 657m

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 then commissioned on December 22 towards Majestic for one final drive. Progress in the month of July was slightly better than in June, but the TBM’s advancement rate slowed considerably in the 2nd half of July including the 1st half of August.
Distance Left –  90 meters (Aug 1) & 85.5 meters (Aug 8)

Northern Section: Sampige Road – Majestic

The distance between the 2 stations is only 1.5 km, and both twin tunnels between the North Ramp & Majestic have were completed by TBM Margarita and TBM Godavari. Data points from the newsletter for the entire underground corridor:

• Flash Butt Welding work, out of 953 numbers 386 numbers is completed.
• First stage concrete out of 1200 Cubic Meters 436 Cubic Meters is completed.
• Plinth Concreting out of 8000 Track Meters 993 Track Meters is completed.
• 1 in 7 Turnouts 1 number is completed and 1 in 9 Turnouts 2 numbers is completed.

An image of the 1st turnout shot in July can be viewed here. TMRG reader Krishnan shared this video as a comment in one of my previous posts which takes you through the northern underground section:

Southern Section: Majestic – National College

Over the past months, I was expecting TBM Krishna to arrive at Majestic’s South Shaft in August-September. After the TBM’s advancement rates picked up in July, I narrowed down the breakthrough to late August, but will have push back to September now. The last few weeks’ progress of 7.5m (July 24 – Aug 1) & 4.5m (Aug 1 – 8) have shown how brutal tunneling conditions are down there.

As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s only a matter of time for the BMRCL and Karnataka government to announce a new deadline for the entire Phase 1 project. BMRCL’s plan of commencing operations on the pending stretches is still pretty vague and besides back-filling work, construction activity (stations, shafts) is showing no signs of picking up pace. And it is this lack of clarity among a host of other reasons which lends the organization a bad name.

Overall, it’s certain that no new stretches of Phase 1 will open this year and the entire project is currently projected to become operational sometime in Q3-Q4 2017.

What are your thoughts? Any news/data points you’d like to bring to my attention?

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


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Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

26 Responses to "Bangalore Metro – August 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. Sunil says:

    Thanks for a great article. As always, you are better at guessing their schedule than BMRCL itself.

    When is the DRP for phase 3 coming out ? Any idea ? Wasn’t it supposed to be done by now ?

  2. D1ablorojo says:

    Tunnelling on Krishna drive has slowed due to expected bad geology, and with the increased activity within the station box hampering logistics to supply the TBM

  3. Subhod K Hungund says:

    Can we get the exact location of yellow lane last metro station at bommasandra is it after Narayana Hospital near chandapura circle or before narayana hospital .

  4. HEMENDRA says:

    But any news about KR Puram to Silkboard metro line sir?

  5. Sunil says:

    themetrorailguy, since you are tracking all the other metros in India, i was curious about one thing. I am seeing quite a bit progress there, can we safely conclude bangalore has seen one of the slowest progress ?

  6. KRISHNA says:

    Krishna TBM: Tunneling bet C’pet and Majestic stn. 687m 458rings) completed. 52.5 m (35 rings) bal for breakthrough.

    It is very good number for this week

  7. Pradeep says:

    Are they going to start the north south metro line with only one track underground and with inter changes?

  8. KRISHNAN says:

    Status as on 29 Aug Krishna TBM: Tunneling bet C’pet & Majestic stn 699m (466rings completed. 40.5 m(27 rings bal for breakthrough

  9. swaroop says:

    Why the f*** cant they open the sampige road to majestic line. I am travelling from mahalakshmi layout to Indiranagar and waiting for the line to open from past several months. Feels really frustrated.

    • Oswald says:

      It’s because they tunneling at the other end is still not complete. Once the tunneling is complete, they have to dismantle the TBM and remove it out. They have to do all this before building the roof slab. Once the TBM is out they have to complete the structural works and other track works. Only then can they safely start commercial operations from that station.

  10. Shripad says:

    BMRCL may be back in dillly dallying on whether to open complete stretch of NS or only Sampige Majestic connecivity. The video of TV program is very clear on pending work, progress and time BMRCL needs to complete before inviting inspectors in just north ramp section. Sampige to Majestic tunneling completed long back and tunnels will be ready by December ’16 for TRIAL RUN to start. It means, with whatever extra resources, it will not be before August’17 to reach the same stage for south side.
    With the gap of 8-9 months, BMRCL may go for two separate inauguration ? Political bosses have to take a decision. I now feel real deadline or heat will be 2018 Karnataka assembly election expected in Q1 2018. Before that complete Phase 1 be inaugurated.

  11. KRISHNAN says:

    Status 06.09.2016 Krishna TBM: Tunneling bet C’pet and Majestic Stn. 711m (474rings completed. 28.5 m (19 rings) bal for breakthrough.

    • Shripad says:

      We donot have any update on progress of Chickpet to National college tunnel part. Whether track bed has been completed or track laying already completed ? Did I miss something ? Same is the case with one tunnel of Chickpet to Majestic (where TBM completed its work). TMRG could you please throw some light on this ?

  12. krishnana says:

    Status as on 13.09.2016 Krishna TBM: Tunneling bet C’pet & Maj 712.5m (475rings completed. 27 m (18 rings) bal. Site closed-Kaveri issues.

  13. krishnan says:

    Updates :

    1September news letter has come in BMRCL website.
    2New deadline for phase 1 is April 2017.
    3ORR Dpr will be done by Oct
    4Multiple options are proposed for airport line and they want public opinion for the same.

  14. Boopathy Kumar M says:

    Any Updates on the Byappanahalli to Whitefield stretch. Does the land acquisition over? when does the works tentatively to start?

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, it’s still ongoing as land acquisition is never an easy subject. The BMRCL continues to post newsletters suggesting it’ll be over in the next “2-3 months”. With no tenders invited for its construction, at this time, proper civil work on the Whitefield extension is expected to begin only in mid 2018.

  15. Nagbhushan says:

    Any update on Status of Krishna TBM: Tunneling bet C’pet & Maj ?


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