Bangalore Metro – May 2016 Tunneling Update

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) just published their May 2016 newsletter which can be viewed here! This time around, they’ve made it a lot more comprehensive by including progress on Phase 2’s land acquisition, building demolition & utility shifting works etc.

The month of April was very significant for Bangalore as TBM Godavari made a breakthrough at Majestic station after 35 months, and more importantly, the 4.8 km underground section of the Purple Line began commercial operations. As always, let’s first take a look at some new snaps of the underground sections, and then dive into analyzing the data:


KR Market station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Chickpete station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Escalators leading to Purple & Green line’s platforms at Majestic – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Majestic & its ancillary building – 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 10 days of this month. However, since data from the April newsletter is available, a valid comparison can be made to see the progress made over the past month (April) with the month before (March).

Purple line –  Tunneling on the Purple line’s 4.8 km underground section between Magadi Road and MG Road was completed in March 2014 and trials started in November 2015. The line was finally inaugurated on April 29 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: History of Bangalore Metro’s MG Road – Magadi Road Section.

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 for 1 tunnel & associated cross-passages north of Majestic station. Only 2 more tunnels are now left to be completed between Chickpet & Majestic. Here’s a map displaying the incomplete Green line’s underground section between Majestic & Chickpet on which 2 TBMs are currently operating:

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

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

Here’s a table which compares the progress made by the 3 TBMs:

TBM Origin Destination Launch Date Distance Apr 1 May 1
Krishna Chickpet Majestic Dec 2015  747m  417m  504m
Kaveri Chickpet Majestic Feb 2015  747m  618m  644m
Godavari North Ramp Majestic May 2013  973m  867m  973m

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 April, it showed signs of slowing down (similar to Kaveri) and excavated 87 meters which is still brilliant.
Distance Left –  243 meters

The Kaveri TBM was launched from the Chickpet station in February 2015 and has covered only 26 meters since the April 2016 update. The reason for this includes hard rock and the precarious nature of buildings en-route to Majestic, many of which had to be evacuated.
Distance left –  103 meters

The Godavari TBM finally made a breakthrough at Majestic station on April 19 (view details & images). Next month’s update will not contain details on it.

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 been completed by TBM Margarita and TBM Godavari. The BMRCL & its CPRO have made multiple announcements that track-work within both tunnels is in progress, but the newsletter and engineers on-site do not agree with this claim. As I mentioned in the previous update, if the BMRCL were to start trial runs by August/September 2016, then there’s a small possibility of the Green line getting connected to the Purple line at Majestic station by the end of this year. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait until Q1 2017.

Southern Section: Majestic – National College

TBM Krishna continued advancing at a nice rate aided by new cutting discs and evacuation of many fragile buildings along its route for TBM Kaveri which is still limping, but expected to make a breakthrough at Majestic’s southern shaft in June. TBM Krishna still has another 243 meters to go which I expect would be wrapped up by August-September. After taking into account the time it takes to lay the track bed, install tracks, electrical, signalling and telecommunication equipment, I expect trial runs to begin in Q1 2017 and commercial operations to start in mid 2017. Does anyone else share this assessment?

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


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

39 Responses to "Bangalore Metro – May 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. Muthu says:

    Hi TMRG,

    Looking at the pending work, I totally agree on your assessment. It looks like the track work on the northern ramp is yet to begin and there are recent photographs which show track work hasn’t started on the ramp. This means trials can perhaps tart not before Sept and hence Q1 is the only possibility for the northern side. For the souther side, if Krishna requires another 240+ meters it could take upto another 5 months if it slows down like Kaveri towards the end which means breakthrough can happen only in Oct/Nov timeframe and I suspect that commercial operations can start a year from that which could be Oct 2017!

    • TMRG says:

      October 2017 is totally believable! I try to be a little more charitable in my estimates while sincerely hoping they would learn from the Purple line’s delay. But you know, seeing the CPRO’s comments on Twitter and receiving opposite feedback from engineers on the ground makes me believe there’s a long..long way to go. Worst thing is that no one from BMRCL is going to be held accountable for the delay or for consistently misleading the public.

      • Muthu says:

        Lying through the teeth has become the norm for these CPRO and the MD! Or perhaps it is to keep people and media excited that deadlines are imminent and not too far off ! Or perhaps it is to postpone the ire of the higher officials and politicians? If you tell up front things are delayed, your job might be at stake and get whacked for it. But once the date has missed, you can always come up with 2000 excuses and say this and that were the exigencies which we didn’t plan for and hence the delay. Like weather, equipment broke down, labourers quitting or something like that! They might still earn the wrath of the public and the politicians but it is only at a later stage. Why worry about it now?

  2. Prasanna says:

    Latest update is that 85 mt is left for Kaveri and 222 mt for Krishna. So as you mentioned, by Aug or so tunneling work may complete. I won’t be overly optimistic if I expect green line to be fully operational by this time next year. Still better, as our estimate couple of months ago was staring towards end of 2017.

    As you rightly noted, phase 2 updates in the news letter are quite informative. It’ll be great if they mention the progress in terms of % for property acquisition, road widening, viaduct, station work etc.

    • TMRG says:

      I agree – specific details would be nice to know as it helps in transparency and allows enthusiasts like us to gauge the project’s progress. Interestingly, they left out details about the 13 km underground section from Dairy Circle to Nagavara. Strange.

  3. praveen says:

    Just a suggestion:
    Till Kaveri & Krishna finish the tunneling work, it would be better to put another table for there progress for last few month and current month and remaining tunnel work.
    I know you have put all these info in words.

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, thanks for the suggestion. I’d love to add progress of details of previous months but there just isn’t more horizontal space I can play with. I think the ‘Distance’, ‘Prev Month Day 1’, ‘Current Month Day 1’ columns do a good job in describing the progress and give an idea of what’s left.

      • Sanjay Kareer says:

        I know tables within WP is a hard task but you have lot of space and a proper edit can serve the purpose. remove column 4… & 3 and 2 or merge 3 & 2 by using abbreviations i.e. C’pet to M’tic or everybody know where these 2 tbm’s are heading to…. means… still you can have lots of space to add more information 🙂 other info like launch date, origin, destination etc.. can be added in the footer of the table separately.. just suggesting 🙂

  4. Mithun R says:

    Hi TMRG,
    Based on the progress , it is very difficult for phase 1 to be completely operational by December 16.
    It will take stagerring 10+ years to complete phase 1 . May 2016 newsletter shows no progress on the project except the inauguration photos of east west line. Complete operational of phase 1 would be around end of Q3 . BMRCL always commits wrong date and fools people all the time .
    In this case phase 2 will be completely operationally by 2030 or more .

    • shouqatali says:

      I would completely disagree with you. Engineers have already given their explanation for the delay and it should be acceptable as Bangalore has one of the most hard rocks. So lesson’s learnt.
      Given all these conditions,
      Krishna TBM have made more than 100meters of progress and it should be completing its job in next two months.
      I agree that Kaveri TBM is really struggling to get through but it is for the same reason. If it does on the same pace also, I would expect start of operation by first quarter of 2017.
      Or at least can we make one line (tunnelled by Kaveri) operational till the other line picks up?? If its possible then I would expect it to operational before October of this year itself.

      • praveen says:

        Mr.Shouqatali, we love your optimism.
        According to you when will Kaveri and Krishna finish their jobs respectively ?

        my guess
        Kaveri – Sep 2016
        Krishna – Nov 2016

        other people provide your guesses also.

        TMRG, if possible plz share your dates also.

      • P SURESH says:

        my guess
        Kaveri – August 2016
        Krishna – August 2016

        • shubangi says:

          Krishna tunneled 195 meters in March, 144 meters in April, and 87 meters in May. So there is a clear slowdown of progress that we need to account for in any estimates. At this rate, it could well start limping about like how Kaveri is doing as it nears Majestic station.

          Between March and April, Krishna has slowed down by 51 meters and between April and May the difference is 57 meters. This machine is losing its speed rapidly and is set for a slow grind from now. We will have to wait eagerly for the next couple of months’ numbers and see how it is heading. Until then, all bets are off for me at least.

  5. shouqatali says:

    Why can’t we use Godavari TBM to help to Kaveri TBM? Godavari should be used to tunnel from the other end. Availability of accurate technology of tunneling, one can do tunneling from the other side without deviation of 1cm.
    Since we have two of TBMs who have done their job and lying idle, it can reduce the tunneling time by half.
    I want to understand whether this approach is feasible or not??

    There is no need to help Krishna as it is doing its job with perfect pace, it should complete its job this month.(By the time we try install one more TBM at the other end, it would have completed its job)

  6. shubangi says:

    I would agree with Mithun’s assessment that phase 2 will be completed only in 2030. This is because the BMRCL hasn’t quite yet started talking about the huge tunneling ask for phase 2, especially the Nagawara-Dairy Circle stretch. Unless they have 4 TBMs or more, they aren’t going to be able to manage. The contracts are yet to be awarded, and it takes time to manufacture the TBMs for specific geological conditions. This machine is not something you can buy off-the-rack. It is a complex machine that needs advance soil testing through predrilling at adequate distances along the proposed track and careful selection of machine parameters based on soil type. Case in point for using wrong TBM due to inadequate predrilling is Godavari which idled for years below Malleswaram with the contractor failing to see the hard rock that broke the machine’s teeth. A new set of discs were needed to go through the unexpected rock formation whereas the original machine wasn’t build to handle it.

  7. P SURESH says:

    BMRCL ‏@cpronammametro 1h1 hour ago
    Kaveri TBM: Tunneling between Chickpet and Majestic stations. 669m (446 rings)completed. 75m (50 rings) balance to reach Majestic Stn.

    BMRCL ‏@cpronammametro 1h1 hour ago
    As on 17th May
    Krishna TBM:Tunneling between C’pete &Majestic stn 538.5m (359rings) completed. 205.5m (137rings) bal to reach Majestic Stn

    A simple maths shows that Krishna is slowing down but Kaveri is continuing its journey at more or less same rate. I am still optimistic by end of August both TBM should breakthrough unless there are more surprises…

  8. P SURESH says:

    Simple Maths, No other factor considered…
    May 9(left)85.5
    May 17(left)75
    8 days=10.5
    1 day rate=1.3125
    days required=57

    May 9(left)222
    May 17(left)205.5
    8 days=16.5
    1 day rate=2.0625
    days required=99

  9. P SURESH says:

    So from earlier estimate it is shifted by 10-12 days due to slowdown of TBMs

    May 2(left)100.5 m
    May 17(left)75 m
    15 days=25.5 m
    1 day rate=1.7 m
    days required=44

    A Simple math, No other factor considered…
    May 2(left)240 m
    May 17(left)205.5 m
    15 days=34.5 m
    1 day rate=2.3 m
    days required=89

  10. Abhisek Sahu says:

    BMRCL ‏@cpronammametro 7h7 hours ago
    Kaveri TBM: Tunneling between Chickpet and Majestic stations. 688.5m (459 rings)completed. 55.5 m (37rings) balance to reach Majestic Stn

    BMRCL ‏@cpronammametro 7h7 hours ago
    TBM progress as on 23.05.2016 Krishna: Tunneling bet C’pet and Majestic stn 562.5m (375rings) completed.181.5m (121rings) bal 2 reach Maj

    Very Good progress I would say this week.

    • P SURESH says:

      Yes I saw this yesterday, Very encouraging indeed…
      A Simple math, No other factor considered…
      May 17(left)75 m
      May 23(left)55.5 m
      7 days=19.5 m
      1 day rate=2.78 m
      days required=20

      A Simple math, No other factor considered…
      May 17(left)205.5 m
      May 23(left)181.5 m
      7 days=24 m
      1 day rate=3.42 m
      days required=53

      • Sham says:

        Though indicative, I don’t think simple math based on previous week’s progress works well as the progress on boring keeps varying each week based on terrain & safety considerations that will keep changing.
        To me, it looks like mid-June & end-August for break throughs. Also, it takes at least a couple of months to dismantle & remove a TBM once it breaks through – down time that adds up.

        Since there is ample evidence to suggest that track laying hasn’t commenced yet (at least on the northern tunnels & the first set of southern tunnels which is between Chikpet & Majetsic), & allowing fifteen months for track laying, electrification, trail runs & certification besides station completion, I’d say commencement of services might likely be:

        Q2-2017: Reach-4 (only between Puttenahalli & National college).
        Q4-2017: UG-2 (& entire green line).

        • P SURESH says:

          BMRCL ‏@cpronammametro May 17
          @psuresh29 would be incorrect to calculate in linear fashion

          I did maths to check per day rate, In that sense latest data is encouraging.

  11. Raj says:

    BMRCL is mum on status of track laying and other electrics/signal equipment installation between Majestic and Sampige Road. Breakthrough of 1st tunnel in this section has happened long back, eventhough 2nd one recently.

    • P SURESH says:

      Yes, 2nd breakthrough happened on 19th April, I repeatedly asked CPRO but he is not responding, Their NewsLetter is also silent on this…Hopefully June Newsletter will have some news on it…

    • P SURESH says:

      Hi TMRG, Can you pls give us any update on this. Among all of us you are the most knowledgeable one and have have latest update always 🙂

      • TMRG says:

        Hi, if the CPRO is not responding then there lies your answer 🙂 I asked him yesterday to provide some images, but got no response as well.

        • P SURESH says:

          Hi TMRG, Indian Express report yesterday makes it clear that BMRCL has no plan of partial opening of the complete green line…
          Kharola refused to commit on any partial opening up along the North-South line. “We are planning to complete the tunnels, both on the Northern and Southern side of Majestic together,” he said. A Metro source said, “All the work has been completed from National College to Puttenahalli. The stations are all ready and only system-related work is yet to be completed.”

          • TMRG says:

            Thanks for sharing. I have a feeling they’ll open it in one go as well. Let’s see..

  12. P SURESH says:
    Ahead of its November 1 deadline to complete Namma Metro’s entire phase I network, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is all set to achieve a breakthrough at one of the two important tunnels on the southern corridor in 10 days.

    The completion of this tunnel is crucial for BMRCL to start the oscillation trails, electrical, signalling and other tests in the metro stations on the north-south corridor. This needs at least “three to four months”. Besides, breaking through another tunnel needs another two months.

    Pradeep Singh Kharola, managing director, BMRCL told Deccan Herald that the southbound (between Chickpet and Majestic station) Kaveri tunnel boring machine (TBM) would breakthrough in 10 days. It is just 25 metres away (from the Majestic station) and machine would come out very soon.” This would mark the completion of North-South corridor, he added.

    Albeit the delay and criticism, the Kaveri machine had to dig tunnel through hard rock and soil, as well as 60 feet beneath the most densely populated areas of the city. The tunneling for 1.7 km had started in February 2015.

    In addition to it, the slow-moving TBM Krishna, which made a breakthrough at Chickpet station from the KR Market station in August 2015, has 130 meters left to reach Majestic Metro station. According to Kharola, it takes at least two months to complete the work.

    Consisting of 25 stations in the green line (North-South), only 13 stations between Nagasandra to Sampige road near Mantri Square are operational. According to BMRCL source, at least 98% of the work between KR Market to Puttenahalli is complete.

    Kharola said that the BMRCL is laying the track between Mantri Square to Majestic Metro station on the northern side while completing the work on tunnelling of remaining 130 metres on the other stretch (TBM Krishna) might require another three months. The construction of Metro stations is almost over except the underground Metro stations, he said.

  13. S. Manikantan says:

    I wanted to post what Mr. P. Suresh has posted above. Now, it seems nov 1 is after all, a possible reality and not an impossible imagination.

    What says thou, Mr. TRG now?

    Still a doubting Thomas or a very certain Jack?

    S. Manikantan

    • P SURESH says:

      Looks like November 1 is possible but let us see what TMRG has to say. MD say 3-4 months is needed for trials so Nov 1 is surely within reach…

      • Sham says:

        No. Tracks laying, electrification, cabling & completion of u/g stations will take time. Trials (for u/g section) can only begin after all these, so Nov-1 seems too optimistic. I’d say 1st quarter of 2017.

    • TMRG says:

      November 1 is not happening, at all. There’s just far too much civil work left before system & interior works begin. Still sticking with my mid-2017 timeframe.

      • P SURESH says:

        Thnx TMRG for your feedback/assessment. Did you notice Krishna has virtually made no progress from last update? Any idea what it could have been. Though Kaveri is likely to make breakthrough tomorrow.

  14. Ravi M says:

    Very realistic and logical conclusion of dates. These machines are definitely progressively slowing down.

  15. G.P. JINNARAJU. says:


    Dear Team Management (METRO)

    Sub: suggestion ,

    Patient shifting to the Hospital in Ambulation takes long time and difficult to reach Hospital in time . can you plan to carry patient to hospital through Metro rail to reach to nearest hospitals,(at existing stations only ) I would like to suggest the separate bogie for ambulance can be attached to exiting your metro system , which will save Human Life. if it is ok . I will work out details and post the .if green signal from your end.

  16. G.P. JINNARAJU. says:


  17. Praveen says:

    I would like to know when will the metro train be operational from Mantri square junction to Majestic.

  18. Muralidhar says:

    Hi All,

    When will the Metro operational on the South of Banglore, we dont see any progress.



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