Chennai Light Rail: A Light Rail to Connect Velachery with Tambaram

The city's first Light Rail project, which will connect Velachery and Tambaram is expected to be about 15 kilometres long.

Light Rail Transit
Representational image only

Chennai Light Rail

Light Rail is a planned urban rail transit system in Chennai, along with the Chennai Metro, Chennai Suburban Railway, and MRTS. Light Rail between Tambaram and Velachery has been declared feasible by CMRL. The path for Chennai Monorail was originally planned between Vandalur and Velachery. It was later taken over for Light Rail.

Project Detail

The Chennai Metrolite project with one line is a 15.5 km light rail transit (LRT) system proposed by the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) to be developed in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Chennai’s Metrolite line, which connects Tambaram and Velachery, is planned on a route where an expensive heavy-rail metro line might be a surplus in terms of cost and technical aspects. The system has been planned to be designed and developed in conformity with the Government of India’s metrolite specifications 2019, and it will be relatively inexpensive to construct (about Rs. 100 crore/km), operate and maintain due to its smaller size and lower capacity compared to regular heavy-rail metro systems. 

Metrolite trains will primarily operate at-grade (road level) in dedicated/fenced-in lanes, serving as an excellent feeder to the Chennai Metro and local MRTS (Indian Railways-owned) train system. In February 2020, Systra MVA Consulting started preparing the feasibility report for Chennai Metrolite in order to assess the project’s cost, construction period, and the various advantages.

System Specification & Key Information

Operational: 0 km

Under Construction: 0 km

Approved: 0 km

Proposed: 15.5 km

Current Deadline: Not Finalized (Pending Approval)

Track Gauge: Standard Gauge – 1435 mm

Electrification: 25 kV, 50 Hz AC OHE

Signalling: Communications-based train control (CBTC)

Total Capacity: 300-425 passengers (3 coach train)

Route Information

Line-1: Tambaram – Velachery

Length: 15 km

Type: At-grade (primarily) and possibly elevated/underground for short distances

Number of Stations: To be determined

Station Names: To be determined

Catchment Area: Alignment Option-1: Velachery, Ram Nagar South, Maxworth Nagar, Indirapuri, Kovilambakkam, Keelkattalai, Old Pallavaram, Chromepet, Tambaram

–  Alignment Option-2: Velachery, Pallikaranai, Medavakkam, Gowrivakkam, East Tambaram


Chennai Metro has a new project in the works, the city’s first Light Rail project, which will connect Velachery and Tambaram. This length is expected to be about 15 kilometres long. Unlike the Metro Phase 1 project, which covers 45 kilometres, and the Phase I extension project, which covers 9 kilometres, the light rail will most likely be built at grade (on the ground). The feasibility study, like the phase I extension projects, shall also be assigned to a private firm. The procedure is likely to take 6-8 months. The study will consider numerous route alternatives for the section. Upon that, discussions will take place to determine which approach is the best, following which the comprehensive project report will be prepared. The CMRL plans to look into various options, including one touching and incorporating Pallikaranai, Meda vakkam, Gowrivakkam, and finally, East Tambaram. The aim and idea is to run the light rail through dense residential areas and locations in the city’s southern portions and outskirts.

Linking MRTS

The idea is also to connect it to the Velachery MRTS system so that passengers who wish to switch systems and travel to places connected by the network can do so with ease. One of the key reasons for choosing Light Rail versus Metro Rail is that it would be less expensive than a traditional metro. For example, constructing one km of the elevated metro will cost roughly Rs 200-250 crore and underground would cost around Rs 500-550 crore. A light rail system, on the other hand, could be developed for Rs. 100 crores per kilometre. Unlike the metro, the light rail can also take sharp turns and curves and pass through close, squeezed and narrow areas.

The Chennai Light Rail is planned to run along two corridors:

Corridor 1

Corridor 1 connects Tambaram and Velachery via Selaiyur, Sembakkam, Gowrivakkam, Medavakkam, Pallikaranai, and Velachery.

Corridor 2

Corridor 2 includes the route from Pallavaram to Poonamallee via Pammal, Anakaputhur, Kundrathur, Mangadu, and Kumanan Chavadi on SH 113A Pallavaram-Kundrathur-Poonamallee Road. It had originally been planned to be a 54-kilometre-long Chennai Monorail route between Vandalur and Puzhal. It is scheduled to be taken over for Light Rail between Pallavaram and Poonamallee. According to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s Chennai Comprehensive Transportation Study, a light rail from Pallavaram to Koyambedu through Pammal, Kundrathur, Poonamallee, and Ambattur Industrial Estate is proposed.

According to the Chennai Comprehensive Mobility Plan, Light Rail has been planned to run along the Airport-Avadi-Redhills Corridor. The corridor connects Pallavaram to Redhills through Pammal, Anakaputhur, Kundrathur, Mangadu, Kumananchavadi, Avadi, and Redhills.


  1. To avoid traffic in Velachery By pass road junction ( near Gurunanak College ) the light rail can be extended from Velachery and connected to Guindy along 100 feet road.

  2. Instead of terminating at Tambaram and latter rethinking; it can be extended upto Kilbakkam, where the New Bus Stand is upcoming. Thanks

  3. What happened to Velachery – St. Thomas Mount connectivity? It’s long hanging fruit to connect Beach – Tambaram via Velachery. Very bad performance of both railways and state government to get this route activated. Instead, wasting time to talk about something else.

  4. The light rail option from Velachery to Tambaram via Medavakkam will be a good project to be undertaken as early as possible. The current road width in this route is generally good to accommodate light rail except in few places. This route has a large population who are commuting daily by bus, car and we face congestion already in peak hours. Request the government to consider this route and start the project soon.

  5. Very Happy at the pae of developments wishing u All the Best for this will make a lot of lives Easier,Great Work,All Thks to Our Government in Tamil Nadu


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