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.
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 Metro Rail Guy (@TheMetroRailGuy) February 6, 2016
— Vasanth Rao (@uavasanthrao) February 6, 2016
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:
Here’s a table which compares progress made by the 3 TBMs as per the data reported in the newsletters:
• 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!