2nd TBM Commissioned from Howrah Maidan for Kolkata’s Metro

Last week, the Afcons-Transtonnelstroy JV team in Kolkata commissioned their 2nd Tunnel Boring Machine at the Howrah Maidan station for building Kolkata Metro’s 16.34 km East-West line! The S639 TBM referred to as Rachna will build the down-line tunnel to the Howrah Junction railway station, and is trailing behind its sister machine, TBM Prerna, which has completed tunneling 147 meters out of the 550 meters for the parallel up-line tunnel on the same route.

At the time of writing this piece, Rachna has completed building 6 temporary rings and 4 permanent rings. Each ring is 1.4 meters wide.

Satellite view of Howrah Maidan station:

Kolkata's East-West metro line

Alignment of Kolkata’s East-West metro line – View detailed Kolkata Metro information & map

Some images of the TBM shot prior to its commissioning:


TBM Rachna being readied – Photo Copyright: Telegraph India


TBM Rachna (left) & tunnel built by TBM Prerna (right) – Photo Copyright: Times of India

Here’s a look at the Howrah Junction railway station site where both TBMs will arrive in the 1st half of 2017:

Piling work at Howrah Junction railway station - Photo Copyright: Bappa Mukherjee

Piling & diaphragm wall work at Howrah Junction railway station – Photo Copyright: Bappa Mukherjee

The 9 km first phase of the line from Salt Lake Sector V to Sealdah is expected to be operational by mid 2018 while the 7 km second phase from Sealdah to Howrah which includes this tunnel section is expected to be operational in 2020.

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


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

14 Responses to "2nd TBM Commissioned from Howrah Maidan for Kolkata’s Metro"

  1. sonia basu says:

    Both the TBMS wiil reach Howrah station in the first half of 2017, not 2018 as mentioned in your article.

    In a previous article you had mentioned that the first TBM IS PRERANA not RACHANA.

    Kindly clear this confusion and clarify the point.

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, thanks for pointing out those issues – I had corrected them within 2 hours of publishing. It should now reflect the correct info.

      On a side note, I really need an editor to go through my posts. Always good to have a second pair of eyes 🙂

  2. Sonia basu says:

    Thank you so much for such a prompt and encouraging reply from your side. I am really fortunate to express my opinions on your site.Hats off to each and every personnel associated with east west metro project for their untiring effort for the benefit of Kolkata citizens.

  3. shubhashis rana says:

    in my opinion as there is no hard rock in Bengal and soil is soft. The TBM will cross the hooghly river by 2016 end and By 2017 end it may reach upto sealdah ( howrah maidan to Sealdah 6 km).

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, Afcons’ package includes the tunnels only up to Esplanade. Tunneling underneath the Hooghly is expected to start in Q2 2017.

  4. amittabha datta says:

    According to the same engineer mentioned above tbms are expected to reach hoogly in two months if all circumstances are right.

  5. amittabha datta says:

    Yes it is true afcons will dig till esplanade or even less till b.b.d bag according to earlier reports tunnel digging till b.b.d bag will be complete by June 2017

  6. amittabha datta says:

    According to reports in today’s Times of India Tbm prerna has covered 225 m and will reach Howrah station by first week of August and hooghly by October and Lal dighi by June next year and Tbm rachna will reach Lal dighi in July or

    • TMRG says:

      Hi, these are all tentative dates. The TBMs might reach Howrah Jct by those months, but if the shaft is not ready (which it won’t be until 2017), then how will the TBMs make a breakthrough and get ready to bore under the Hooghly?

      Similarly, land acquisition is not yet entirely complete for a shaft at Strand Road or the Mahakaran/Lal Dighi/Dalhousie station – see this article. Without that being completed, the contractor will not begin tunneling onward from Howrah Junction.

      • amittabha datta says:

        it seems the tunnels will be completed well in advance but stations at dalhousie and esplanade will not be ready. According to reports stations will require at least 4 years from the date they get permission from national monument authority of india and army because of their depths.


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