Chennai Metro – January 2016 Tunneling Update

The Chennai Metro Rail Ltd just published their December 2015 newsletter with in-depth tunneling data recorded up till December 31 from all 5 ongoing tunnel sections of the first phase of the project!

Before diving into the data and analyzing it, let’s take a look at a couple of images from the elevated section:

Photo Copyright: CMRL

Viaduct close to the Airport station ; OHE work is yet to begin – Photo Copyright: CMRL

Photo Copyright: CMRL

Pending viaduct work close to OTA station – Photo Copyright: CMRL

Photo Copyright: Jurgen Mick

A Chennai Metro tunnel on the UAA01 section – Photo Copyright: Jurgen Mick

Tunneling Update

For reference, here’s a map with all 6 underground sections of the 1st phase of the Chennai Metro project. Of these, barring UAA08 (in yellow) that was just approved, the rest are ongoing. The elevated and cut & cover sections of the project have been marked in grey.

Red: UAA01 ; Blue: UAA02; Green: UAA03

Chennai Metro Map: Red: UAA01, Green: UAA02, Magenta: UAA03, Blue: UAA04, Purple:UAA05, Grey: Elevated & CC

UAA01 – In Progress

• This section includes tunnels from Washermenpet to Egmore and from May Day Park to Central with stations at Egmore, Chennai Central, May Day Park, High Court, Mannadi & Washermenpet.
• Tunneling by the Afcons-Transtonnelstroy JV between Washermenpet & High Court was completed in 2014.
• A total of 5 tunnels are left to be constructed:

Tunnel  Station  Station  Distance  Nov 30 Dec 31 TBMs
Up-line Egmore High Court 2400m 1199m 1214m 2
Down-line Egmore High Court 2400m 1040m 1040m 2
Down-line May Day Park Central 1040m 868m 981m 1

• The down-line tunnel between the May Day Park and Central stations will be completed as soon as the receiving shaft is ready at Central. As of January 18, the TBM is just 10m away from making a breakthrough!

• A TBM on the up-line tunnel was launched from Egmore towards Central in December. Another TBM for the down-line will be launched on the same section next month. Check out some images of both TBMs being prepared.

UAA02 – On Hold

• This section includes tunnels from May Day Park to AG-DMS with stations at Government Estate, LIC, Thousand Lights and AG-DMS.

• The Gammon-Mosmetrostroy JV had abandoned tunneling work in May and the CMRL will soon initiate the tendering process to complete the balance work. Out of 3616m of twin tunnels, only 1835m and 1700m have been completed.

UAA03 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from AG-DMS to Saidapet with stations at Teynampet, Nadanam and Saidapet.

• The Gammon-Mosmetrostroy JV had abandoned tunneling work in May after which Afcons Infra was temporarily roped in to complete the last breakthrough in September. Recently, L&T was tasked with completing the balance civil work at all stations.

UAA04 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from Egmore to Shenoy Nagar with stations at Nehru Park, Kilpauk and Pachaiyappa’s College. Tunneling work by the L&T-SUCG JV has been completed and currently track work & systems installation work is going on.

UAA05 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from Shenoy Nagar to Thirumangalam with stations at Shenoy Nagar, Anna Nagar East, Anna Nagar Tower and Thirumangalam. Tunneling work by the Afcons-Transtonnelstroy JV has been completed and trial runs are expected to begin within the next 2 months. In October, the CMRL had used an OHE wagon to conduct a trial run between the 2 km Thirumangalam Ramp and Anna Nagar Tower stations.

UAA08 – Yet to Begin

In December 2015, the CMRL invited tenders to construct this 2.4 km underground section from Washermenpet to Korrukupet with stations at Sir Theagaraya College and Korrukupet. This section is part of the 9 km extension from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar that was approved by the Ministry of Urban Development in early December 2015. Bids will be opened on February 4 after which a contractor will be appointed. I expect ground work to start in Q2 2016 and tunneling work to commence in Q1 2017 with operations on the entire 9 km extension starting in 2020.


Looking at the progress made and the fact that the November-December 2015 rains slowed down the project which now requires a re-design to be undertaken at some places, I expect the entire 45.1 km phase 1 to be operational only in 2018. In the meanwhile, the CMRL hopes to start services on the elevated Alandur – Airport and Alandur – St. Thomas sections in 6 months from now. Looking at recent images of different stations and the progress made within, I don’t believe that’ll be possible and estimate these two sections will start commercial operations only by the end of the year.

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


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

5 Responses to "Chennai Metro – January 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. PEHook says:

    Мосметрострой: There are defalcations – at least among the foreign partners!

  2. Prithviraj Nag says:

    The UA001 isn’t very clear to me since they mix up the line 1 and line 2 sections. You’re saying TBMs are being launched from Egmore towards Central. That means the figures in the table between Egmore and High Court are actually between Central and High Court on the North-South (Airport) Line, is that right?

    • TMRG says:

      The figures are for Egmore – Central – High Court. In addition to the 2 Egmore-Central TBMs, 2 more are currently on their way from the High Court to Central and are expected to make a breakthrough one after the one in March. The Egmore-Central tunnels are part of the St. Thomas Mount – Central line while the Central to High Court section is part of the north-south Washermenpet-Airport line.

  3. Thangaraj says:

    Any improvement on previously told next phase to siruseri etc
    Any development on it ??

  4. Arun Nair says:

    Would be useful if you included data on MRTS extension from Velachery to St. Thomas Mount and how it would integrate with Metro as well in your updates.


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