Chennai Metro – June 2016 Tunneling Update

Hat tip to Anand S & many others for alerting me about the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. making their May 2016 newsletter available! The newsletter includes in-depth tunneling data recorded up till May 31 from all 5 ongoing tunnel sections of the first phase of the project along with the progress made on the elevated sections.

Like the previous couple of newsletters, the original images embedded within this edition are extremely tiny to be featured to be here, so I’ll skip over them. Here are a few larger ones:


Track work at Pachaiyappa’s College – Photo Copyright: CMRL


Track work between Pachaiyappa’s College & Kilpauk – Photo Copyright: CMRL

Check out the newsletter for more.

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. Barring UAA08 (in yellow) that has just been awarded to Afcons Infrastructure, the rest are ‘in progress’. The elevated and cut & cover sections of the project have been displayed 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 4 tunnels are now left to be constructed between Egmore – Central – High Court stations. The progress of the pending tunneling works can be gauged by the table below.

Tunnel Station Station Distance April 31 May 31 TBMs
Up-line Washermenpet Egmore 4445m 3558m 3605m 2
Down-line Washermenpet Egmore 4445m 3352m 3581m 2

• Since the January update, only 1 TBM breakthrough has taken place at Central station for Line 1’s down-line tunnel between May Day Park shaft and Central station. Although the CMRL did not highlight this breakthrough in the newsletter or on their Facebook page, they have updated their tunneling table to reflect 100% completion for this tunnel built by ‘TBM 3’.

• A TBM on the up-line tunnel was commissioned from Egmore towards Central station in December 2015, and excavated a bulk of the 47m progress reported for the up-line. In March, a second TBM was commissioned for the down-line between Egmore & Central which again accounted for a bulk of the 229m of progress. Check out some images of both TBMs being prepared.

• Both TBMs working from the High Court towards Central station continue to encounter hard rock and have needed frequent interventions to change their cutting discs. Back in January, the contractor was looking to complete both twin tunnels this month (June) but now that has now been pushed back to September.

UAA02 – In Progress

• 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 2015 and out of 3616m of twin tunnels, it has only completed building 1835m and 1700m long tunnels.

• Since the Gammon fiasco, the CMRL had twice twice invited tenders from infrastructure companies to finish the balance tunneling & stations works. In April, it awarded L&T with a contract for the stations and in May finally awarded Afcons with the tunneling contract with a tight deadline of 10 months. I’m expecting tunneling works to resume around July-August.

UAA03 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from AG-DMS to Saidapet with stations at Teynampet, Nandanam 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 2015. In December 2015, L&T was tasked with completing the balance civil work at all stations. Track work on this section is yet to begin.

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, systems installation, architectural & MEP work is going on. 8 out of 11 cross passages for safe & quick evacuation have been completed. Track work has been completed from Shenoy Nagar to Pachiyappa’s College with a ‘scissors’ crossover at Shenoy Nagar and is currently in progress between Pachiyappa’s College & Egmore stations.

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 in October 2015, the CMRL used an OHE wagon to conduct a test run between the 2 km Thirumangalam Ramp and Anna Nagar Tower stations. In April, CMRL’s contractors began installing platform screen doors and even shunted a metro train inside the tunnels for the first time. As of June, architectural, plastering & MEP works are in progress at all stations. Check out this video of Faiveley Transport Group conducting a manual test of the platform screen doors.

UAA08 – Contract Awarded

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. With the Ministry of Urban Development’s final approval for the 9 km extension to Wimco Nagar coming in earlier this month, the CMRL soon after awarded this new package to Afcons Infrastructure which consolidates their presence in all but the UAA04 project. Ground work is expected to begin in Q3 once land acquisition is complete for 2 new stations & the northern ramp. I’m expecting tunneling works to only begin in Q2-Q3 2017 with operations starting in 2021.

Overall, works have picked up in Chennai with the CMRL awarding all major pending civil contracts in May. In the coming months, I expect the CMRL to invite bids for the roughly 6.6 km elevated portion of the line from Tondiarpet to Wimco Nagar. Barring the 9 km extension to Wimco Nagar, I expect the entire 45.1 km Phase 1 to only be operational in 2018/2019.

On the operations side of things, the CMRL is planning to open 3 sections by the end of this year:

Blue Line: Airport – Little Mount (8 km) – On May 21 & 22, the CMRL & Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) conducted oscillation trials & speed trials in order to obtain the mandatory speed certificate. As per a recent report, the CMRL plans to open this stretch in August, but Meenambakkam station’s slow finishing works might push it back by a few months. Check out some new images of Guindy station and the Airport station.

Green Line: Alandur – St. Thomas Mount (1.3 km) – The CMRL is yet to begin trial runs on this section despite the completion of track, OHE & system installation works. New images of St. Thomas Mount station can be viewed here.

• Green Line: Koyambedu – Nehru Park (8 km) – Track work on this section has been completed with OHE & systems installations work in progress. In April, the CMRL shunted a train halfway through this underground section for the first time. I expect proper trial runs to begin within the next 2 months with operations commencing in early 2017.

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


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

3 Responses to "Chennai Metro – June 2016 Tunneling Update"

  1. S Anand says:

    Hi TMRG Thanks for your update!

    I remember reading that First phase of Metro Rail is most likely to be completed by end-2017.
    Also the govt had announced to take up Phase II at the earliest and it had approved for a Detailed Feasibility Report for the expansion of the Project along three corridors — North West to South East; West to East and an orbital corridor. Do you have any details on these proposed corridors viz route map, time line etc

    Thanks and keep up the good work

  2. Aravindan says:

    The announcement from this govt itself a huge relief for us.. Most of us would have thought phase 2 is a gone case.. That’s the surprise here.. Also it seems mono rail has been almost abandoned.


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