ITD’s 2nd Chennai Metro TBM Eagle Starts Tunneling for Line-4

ITD Cementation India last week commissioned their second tunnel boring machine, TBM Eagle, at Light House Station on 26.1 km Chennai Metro Line-4’s Package UG-01 connecting Light House – Boat Club stations.

This development comes four months after they launched TBM Flamingo (S-1352A) in September 2023 to build the down-line tunnel of Line-4 which will connect Light House to Poonamalle Bypass. This line of the 116.1 km Chennai Metro Phase 2 project consists of a 10 km underground section between Power House Ramp – Light House Station.

Shot during site acceptance tests (SAT) in December 2023 – Photo by a follower

TBM Eagle (S-1073B) is a Ø6.67m diameter refurbished Herrenknecht Earth Pressure Balance machine which previously saw action in Mumbai as TBM Krishna-1 (S-1073). It was deployed by CEC-ITD-Tata JV to build 3 tunnels for Package UGC-04 of the 33.5 km Line-3 (Aqua Line).

Following its final breakthrough at Dadar Station in December 2020, it was dismantled and taken to Herrenknecht’s Tamil Nadu plant in Thiruvallur District’s Alinjivakkam Village for refurbishment where it passed factory acceptance tests (FAT) in January 2023.

In Chennai, TBM Eagle will first build a roughly 1.96 km tunnel for the up-line tunnel from Light House to Kutchery Road (Thirumayilai) at a maximum depth of 30m below the ground. Per Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL)’s X post they’re targeting to retrieve the machine from Boat Club in October 2026.

CMRL’s May 2023 updated Chennai Metro Phase 2 Map – view Phase 2 information & route map

Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) had awarded ITD Cem with Line-4’s two underground contracts for packages UG-01 (5.15 km) & UG-02 (4.87 km) in January 2022 with a combined contract value of Rs. 3743.24 crore and 48 month deadline.

ITD in December 2022 had cast the 1st of roughly 9000 tunnel segments at their Muthukadu Casting Yard along ECR Road – view images here.

Start of Eagle’s initial drive – Photo by CMRL

TBM Eagle’s back-up gantry will be lowered and attached for the main-drive later.

Chennai’s Line-4 consists of roughly 16 kms of TBM-built tunnels (up & down line) for which ITD Cementation will deploy 4 machines. Here’s a status of each:

  • S-1352A (Flamingo) on UG-01 – Started tunneling in September 2023, roughly 140m tunnel built so far
  • S-1073B (Eagle) on UG-01 – Just commissioned (this post!)
  • S-1075B (Pelican) on UG-02 – Parts are currently being lowered at Panagal Park’s Crossover
  • S-1074B (Peacock) on UG-02 – passed FAT in April 2023; parts will be lowered soon

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Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

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