TBM Urvi Makes Final Breakthrough for Kolkata Metro’s Line-2

ITD-ITD Cementation India Ltd. JV on Saturday night celebrated the completion of tunneling work for Kolkata Metro’s 16.34 km east-west Line-2 which will connect Howrah Maidan with Sector V.

This historic final breakthrough, not visible to workers, was accomplished by Tunnel Boring Machine S-616 (Urvi) at Bowbazar’s mid-shaft where excavation is ongoing. For its final assignment, the Ø6.65m Herrenknecht EPB machine traveled approximately 800 meters in 4.5 months since it was relaunched in January from Sealdah Station.

This was TBM Urvi’s fifth breakthrough in Kolkata, 5.5 km Package UG-2’s 8th breakthrough for the Esplanade – Subhash Sarovar Ramp section, and overall Line-2’s 14th breakthrough.

Similar ‘hidden’ TBM breakthroughs have been performed by Afcons Infrastructure at Chennai Metro’s Sir Theagaraya College Station (By S-711 and 219-364) as well as locally in Kolkata by TBM S-639 at Howrah Station and Mahakaran Station.

TBM operator’s VMT navigation system showing the completion of 552 rings (#553 is in progress)

It took a little over 9 years for this event to be recorded since tunneling started on February 25, 2012.

Urvi and its sister machine Chandi (S-615) had first built the tunnels between the Subhash Sarovar Ramp – Phoolbagan Station – Sealdah in 2012-2013. A realignment of the line in central Kolkata forced the firm to halt further tunneling for over 5 years during which both TBMs were sent to work on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line tunnels, and then brought back to Kolkata to finish the pending tunnels.

TBM Chandi commenced its final journey from Esplanade to Sealdah on January 25, 2019 for building the west-bound down-line tunnel, and TBM Urvi started its journey on February 15 for the east-bound up-line tunnel – both roughly 2.45 km long.

Tunneling work came to an abrupt halt on August 31, 2019 when Chandi hit an aquifer leading to heavy soil displacement in the Bowbazar area. This triggered the collapse of several residential buildings and necessitated the construction of a 22m deep 40m x 15m “emergency” midshaft on the west-bound tunnel to retrieve both machines.

Urvi resumed tunneling on February 2020 after Kolkata’s High Court allowed work to restart under strict supervision, made its penultimate breakthrough at Sealdah in October 2020, was extensively refurbished, turned around, and relaunched for building the remaining 553 rings (approx. 800m) west-bound tunnel towards Bowbazar.

Indicative route of Line-2’s Esplanade – Sealdah section – view Kolkata Metro route map and information

With tunneling works now completed, workers will now focus on excavating the midshaft and prevent water from entering it in the future. Parts of Chandi (facing east towards Sealdah) will first be pulled out followed by Urvi (facing west towards Esplanade). After both machines’ parts are removed, the base slab RCC flooring and roof work will be completed, and soil will be backfilled.

A snap of the midshaft shot in April can be viewed here. I’ll either post images here or on Twitter as each TBM’s parts are retrieved.

While the 2.1 km Phoolbagan – Sealdah section could possibly open for commercial operations in mid-2022, I see the rest of the line (Sealdah – Howrah Maidan) opening up no sooner than mid-2023 with the quantum of pending systems, architectural finishing, testing and other activities to go.

For more updates, check out my Home Page!


written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

31 Responses to "TBM Urvi Makes Final Breakthrough for Kolkata Metro’s Line-2"

  1. Ashok says:

    Super moment for Kolkata and UG02 team

  2. Metrofan says:

    Just wanna ask that there will be no line 4 for Kolkata metro right? Because the airport link will just be a branch of line 1 I guess. And the stretch till New Barrackpore will now be considered Line 6 right till Kavi Subhash station.

  3. Sumit Malik says:

    What happens to the midshafts once TBMs are extracted? Are they filled back, or they’re left open?

    I remember something similar had happened for Pink Line in Delhi Metro (Gurudwara Shaft) – what did they do after recovering the TBMs there?

    • Rupraj Sengupta says:

      The top will be covered with a concrete slab trains will travel through it !

      • TMRG says:

        Yup. Concrete top slab with soil backfilled on top of it.

        Underground, trains on the westbound tracks will go from a O shaped tunnel to a small square-shaped tunnel and back to a O shaped tunnel.

  4. Clevin Gomes says:

    TMRG, did MMRDA had shifted the Deadline to Mogarpada Depot or it now open by tomorrow?

  5. CK says:

    Hi TMRG,
    Just wanted to let you know that the NHAI tender for the Delhi-Mumbai Eway JNPT spur Package 17 is up:

    Interestingly, the documents include the DPR for the whole spur, and the DPR states that this would be the last package for now; package 18 is being combined with an MMRDA Multimodal Corridor from Vasai to Alibag, to be taken up later due to Land Acquisition issues.

  6. Dd says:

    When will phase 2b namma metro bid open

  7. Amittabha Datta says:

    Any new information about work at Durga Pathuri Shaft of line 2 of Kolkata metro, soil excavation of the shaft etc.

  8. Amittabha Datta says:

    Any information about Durga Pathuri Shaft of line 2 Kolkata metro, retreival of TBMs

    • TMRG says:

      I hear shaft excavation has stopped due to settlement

      • Amittabha Datta says:

        Thanks for the reply. Very sad news. Is the settlement as bad as 2019?
        Do u think Do u think the very expensive and imp project will ever be completed considering above problem. Or will it remain Being a partly completed project with sections not being joined.

        • TMRG says:

          I hear one of the tunnels (TBM-built) has started moving near the shaft.

          The govt will eventually pump in money to get this completed. There’s a high sunk cost already.

          • Amittabha Datta says:

            Thanks for the information.
            That means completion of entire route is now uncertain and no definitive date can be given.
            GM of metro railway has announced in a program that entire route would be completed by Dec 2022.

          • Amittabha Datta says:

            Any news about the problems at Durga Pathuri Shaft, movement of one tunnel near the shaft, settlement being resolved.

          • TMRG says:

            Exacavation is underway. I hear they are just 1 meter away from Urvi’s top casing now.

          • Amittabha Datta says:

            Thank u for the information. Any news about the damaged TBM, excavated or not, retrieved or not.

  9. Amittabha Datta says:

    Heard the damages TBM has been exposed and is 1.5 mts down. Any news from u?


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