Bangalore Metro – June 2016 Tunneling Update

Hat tip to Vasanth Kumar & many others for alerting me about the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation making their June newsletter available! Continuing from the May newsletter, the BMRCL’s team has made a great effort in capturing the progress of not only Phase 1, but also Phase 2’s extensions & new lines. I’d recommend you see for yourself – the level of detail is something that other metro organizations must emulate.

Note: All data in the newsletter was recorded at the start of the month – i.e. June 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:


KR Market station – Photo Copyright: BMRCL


Chickpet 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. Two days before publishing this, TBM Kaveri on June 8th made a 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 June 1, there were 2 TBMs tunneling parallel tunnels from Chickpet to Majestic.

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

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

Here’s a table which compares the progress made by the 2 TBMs:

TBM Origin Destination Distance April 1 May 1 June 1
Krishna Chickpet Majestic  747m  417m  504m  572m
Kaveri Chickpet Majestic  747m  618m  644m  723m

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. In the month of May, the TBM further slowed down due to tougher terrain on the drive’s home stretch, but nonetheless made good progress of 68 meters.
Distance Left –  175m (June 1) and 166.5m (June 6)

The Kaveri TBM was commissioned from the Chickpet station in mid February 2015 and covered 79 meters in the month of May. In the first of week June, it tunneled a further 24 meters and made a breakthrough at the Majestic station’s South Shaft (view details, lots of images and a video). The TBM crew is now engaged in push-out activity to build the last 5 rings of the tunnel. Once the D-wall’s debris are removed, the TBM will be pushed out onto a cradle, dismantled & have its parts hoisted out of the shaft.
Distance left –  24 meters (June 1) and 0 meters (June 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 been completed by TBM Margarita and TBM Godavari. The BMRCL’s CPRO has made multiple recent announcements that track-work within both tunnels is in progress (examples: tweet 1, tweet 2) and this section will be connected/opened in “June-July” (examples: tweet 1, tweet 2), but on-site engineers do not agree with this claim. In fact, the BMRCL’s newsletter doesn’t either! Here’s an excerpt from page 6 of the newsletter which now also carries track progress details:

Underground-1 Section (North-South Corridor): – Survey work is in progress. South Bound North Ramp to Majestic first stage and Track Plinth concreting is in progress.

It also now appears that the BMRCL is planning to open the entire Green Line’s pending stretches (Sampige Road – Majestic – National College – Puttenahalli) in one go, as opposed to opening in sections as previously indicated by the CPRO.

Plans can change – nothing wrong about it. But promising the moon with little actual work to show is not right. I don’t believe the BMRCL’s management cares though.

Southern Section: Majestic – National College

TBM Krishna has continued to advance at a nice rate and like earlier, I expect it to arrive at Majestic’s South Shaft in August-September. Following Kaveri’s breakthrough, the BMRCL’s MD & KJ George amusingly maintained that the entire Green Line will be ready for use by November 1.

If you see the two images at the top of this post, there’s just far too much civil work pending. For the record, tunneling activity from KR Market station ended with TBM Krishna’s breakthrough at Chickpet in August 2015, but the station’s roof slab is still not complete. Work to cover the TBM shafts at Majestic & Chickpet will only commence after Krishna’s parts & backup system are brought out.  Other crucial pending tasks within the stations & tunnels (cross-passage work, track-bed, track installation, systems installation) will take at least another 6 months (and I’m being charitable) before any sort of interior finishing works & trial runs begin.

My description of the November 1 announcement to a follower didn’t go down too well with the CPRO:

Like earlier, 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

22 Responses to "Bangalore Metro – June 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. Kamal says:

    I agree to your assessment, seeing the history of BMRCL, i don’t think we can see any operation starting in 2016.

  2. VASANTH KUMAR K says:

    Great article , you have lot of patience to go through each and every information given in the news letter to come out with such wonderful analysis of Namma Metro’s progress.
    I completely agree with you about the opening of Green line, keep up the good work and thanks for mentioning my name 🙂

  3. Muthu says:

    I am surprised by CPRO’s comment to your tweet. Either he is just lying or he is blind!

    • Mahesh says:

      I think they are worried about information TMRG posts which is reality and they know that.
      Technically speaking it is impossible to run trains in R4 by Nov thru tunnels.

      They might only target between JP nagar to National college as amount of work to be completed in underground section is little too much and this is very ambitious target BMRCL has set.

  4. Sumit Malik says:

    Sometimes I just wonder, isn’t it embarrassing to BMRCL management (And especially Mr Rao, considering he is the Public Relations Officer for the organisation) this lying through the teeth?

    But I guess BMRCL keeps great company in BDA, BBMP and BWSSB. Why would one be embarrassed when the bar is set that low.

  5. lina says:

    Hey, i think even your estimate is too liberal. I really dont think they can start trials by Jan. I would say, that will happen only mid 2017 and I expect this line to be completed only by jan 2018.

    There is far too much work to be completed. These guys are way behind schedule.

    • shubangi says:

      Hi Lina, thanks for being realistic. I absolutely agree with your assessment. The chickpet station and market stations still look like war zones with construction debris all around and cranes still milling about even after boring of tunnels is complete at chickpet at least. These images are from their own newsletter, and we shouldn’t forget the fact that it took 2 years for trains to run after completing the east-west tunnels.

  6. Shripad says:

    Trial run start to commercial op start was 6 months gap for EW UG section. So nothing can move next 6 months, if trial run starts tmrow….National college to Puttenahalli elevated section could start early — Nov, if they are able to push the train thru finished tunnel…guess that’s what CPRO is talking..

  7. Wajid says:

    Vasanth roa is a burocrat ( they r taught how to just manage things )
    For him its all non sense
    See @TMRG u r totally bringing justice to ur comments in Twitter

    But seriolsy u have total r8 to ask this
    Bcoz we all have paid tax
    And now we are paying BMRCL Interest

    I think u should make a article on how much money is taken as loan by BMRCL and how much money we r paying as interest

    And due to project delay how much money is going in vein

    And plz share it on Twitter so that mr. Vasant roa is answerable to that

    It should have been headed by a civil engg ( such as DELHI ACE MR . SHRIDARAN (METRO MAN)

    can u make an article for our information plz ???

    I want to know where is Bangalore biggest project money is going .??

    • Sham says:

      BMRC’s finances are transparent. Tender awards, Annual & Performance reports are all on their website – have a look there.

      The only problem with BMRC is that under pressure with delays, they are quoting completion dates that they cannot meet & keep postponing them repeatedly, maybe because there are vociferous people that keep complaining or enquiring again & again.
      Most of the delays were out of BMRC’s control – like faulty DPRs prepared by DMRC for both phases that needed to be redone, delays by railways to give right of way, rocky terrain leading to TBM breakdowns etc (there are articles on

      Unfortunately, this trend of giving unrealistic completion dates is happening with almost every metro project including Delhi. Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai metros are all facing delays & cost overruns as well. Mumbai took over 6 years to build 11km. Others are still in early stages, so cannot comment on them yet.

      And our taxes go to central govt for most part & I think the central govt (under congress) is also answerable for the many goof-ups of Delhi metro in their haste to build phase after phase without proper analysis resulting in huge wastage even if they did manage to build the first two phases within 15 years. See my comments in Delhi section under TMRG’s update titled “1st Segment Launched for Delhi Metro’s Noida Sector-62 Extn Project” for more information.

  8. shubangi says:

    when CPRO says “Perhaps entire stretch can open by Nov” he means November 2017, the achievement of which is again debatable.

  9. Blrguy says:

    Please don’t put blame on DMRC for the missed deadlines and shoddy work of BMRC. DMRC has done a stellar job in getting a much large network built on time and on budget. Wish we had DMRC execute the BLR metro, we would be talking about phase 2 completion by now!

    • Sham says:

      Well, as prime consultants, DMRC are directly responsible for delays with faulty DPRs that had to be reworked entirely by BMRC (for both, phases 1 and 2), unduly delaying DPR for phase-2 (though speedily completing Delhi’s ph-3 DPR even when BMRC had sought ph-2 DPR much before), wrong cost estimations for tunnelling in phase-1 that had to be reworked entirely and re-tendered, etc. DMRC was a flop as prime consultant to BMRC since they gave low priority for work outside Delhi at that time due to hurry for CWG games. I’m not sure how their consultancy is now.

      Also BMRC doesn’t have the same luxury of heavy central govt backing either with prompt release of funds and they don’t have the same level of co-operation from railways. They also encountered TBM breakdowns due to hard rock (read articles on

      All these accounted for many delays. People need to remember all these points too before claiming shoddy work. BMRC has been shoddy in announcing incorrect deadlines repeatedly when they know they cannot meet them but I wouldn’t blame them entirely for the delays – many were outside their control.

  10. Alok says:

    To be very honest, when I am given a deadline, I am supposed to complete it, I can accept some time delay, but don’t you think that a time delay running in decades is a bit too much to handle.

    • Sham says:

      Others are not giving BMRC any deadline. BMRC is setting its own deadlines and breaking them repeatedly which I am also against – they must start giving more realistic deadlines, agreed.

      DMRC took 8 years to complete their 1st phase (1998-2006), despite having the luxury of foreign consultants like Hong Kong metro which BMRC could not afford as they didn’t have the same degree of funding nor co-operation from central govt.

      And despite all the challenges & delays thrown at them from every direction, like DMRC’s repeated goofups like unduly long delays in DPR preparations, huge errors in DPRs after delay, Railways delaying ROW, late release of funds by central govt, very challenging rocky terrain, etc, 1st phase is still being completed in 10 years – only two years more than Delhi’s 1st phase.

      So, I don’t believe they have done too badly. If they had the same kind of assistance that DMRC had for its 1st phase, they would have done it in 6 years for sure as four years were lost because of DMRC’s goof ups as prime consultants.

  11. Alok says:

    Delhi’s phase1 was 65 km out of which ,13 km was underground, it was completed 3 years ahead of schedule.compared to bmrcl 42 km of which around 8 is underground. So it essentially took 6 years (subtract 4 for useless DPR by dmrc) to bore 8kms and make them operational.
    This fact would show what is essentially wrong with bmrcl right from planning , conceptualisation to operation. They have not been able to maximise their resource utilisation. I would really like to know your views on phase 2 bmrcl says it can start operation by 2020 when not even 1 pier has been cast till now. My whole point is , let’s accept that bmrc has faltered repeatedly,made a mockery of itself and given false hopes to people. What is the need to compare with dmrc, is dmrc or the Delhi metro going to solve my traffic woes .for a city that prides itself ( including me a proud banglorean) to deliver state of the art software at less than a third of the cost, get a metro system that is state of art and gets delivered on time.

    • Sham says:

      Agreed, it is frustrating for people awaiting metro, made worse by BMRC announcing unrealistic completion timelines. However, it is also unfair to keep blaming BMRC for delays that were beyond their control.

      If Delhi completed their 1st phase three years ahead of schedule as you say, then they had given themselves eleven long years for their 1st phase.
      Is it not possible that they had anticipated challenges with tunnelling and other issues for such a long 11 year timeline but were fortunate not to have faced any challenges and had full support, prompt assistance and co-operation from all concerned and therefore completed in 8 years, unlike what BMRC has had to deal with?

      Excluding the 4 years delay caused due to bogus DPR with assumption that soil conditions were same as Delhi, necessitating a complete re-survey for tunnelling, 6 years for 42km is actually better than the 8 years that DMRC took for 65km, considering that BMRC faced massive tunnelling challenges with slow progress below buildings (where soil reinforcements had to be done) and delays due to TBM failures in tough geological conditions.

      I have been following progress from the beginning and have gone deep into the issues they faced, particularly tunnelling.

      The u/g sections in Bangalore have posed a lot more problems with heavy rock boulders of compressive strengths over 300MPa. Lab tests had also indicated tough rock up to 304MPa with low water table in mixed geology and residual soils of wet running sands, clay and gravel at the top, almost always in a mix which makes it very hard with slow tunnelling. See below article in :

      There are many other articles on about Bangalore’s geology and tunnelling that explain the challenges well.

      Also check uniaxial compressive strength of rocks on this chart and you will see that the rocks experienced are the hardest variety (as evident in BMRC’s tunnel breakthrough photos).

      So, can you please explain clearly what it is that you refer to when you say poor planning, conceptualisation, operation, not able to maximise resource utilisation etc with details and where & how they actually went wrong?

    • Sham says:

      Re. Phase-2, I agree with TMRG. We can expect it to be completed around 2022-23 timeline as opposed to 2021 as stated by BMRC’s MD recently. However, the phase-1 extensions may get done by 2021 as work has already commenced in two of them and may start soon on the others.

      I agree there’s no need to compare BMRC with DMRC as realities in construction and financial challenges in the two systems are very different though both also have some commonalities, both being in India. Comparisons come up as invariably, BMRC is criticized by referencing it with Delhi like one of the posts above.

  12. Prateek says:
    TMRG, I found out a post for you to be uploaded to your site! =D


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