Kolkata, (Metro Rail News): On Saturday, history was made as the first rake arrived at the Metro station 17 metres below Sealdah, the busiest suburban railway station, opening the way for the 2.3-kilometre extension of the East-West circuit beyond Phoolbagan. Commuters will be able to travel 1O km in 20 minutes after this seventh stop is added to the East-West Metro before the end of the year. The end of August should see the commencement of continuous trials.
The corridor currently runs between sector V and Phoolbagan for 7 kilometres. It will eventually run for 16 kilometres till it reaches Howrah Maidan. On Saturday, Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi said, “We aim to commission the Sealdah extension by December.”
Joshi boarded the rake at Phoolbagan shortly before 3 p.m., along with Kolkata Metro Railcorporation (KMRC) MD Manas Sarkar and other executives. Because the signalling system at the station’s mouth is still in its infancy, the BEML make train slowed to 15kmph for the last 300 metres to the Seadah platform.
“It’s a watershed moment for us.” N C Karmali, KMRC’s director of projects, said, “This is the first time a Metro train has chugged into a railway station in Kolkata.”
“Howrah station, which has the country’s deepest Metro station at 30m, is the other railway station along the East-West corridor,” said KMRC chief engineer Biswanath Dewanjee. However, trials at Howrah station and the rest of the corridor, which runs from Sealdah to the Howrah Maidan terminal, would not begin until the following year.
The integrated trial in Sealdah, which is required before receiving mandatory approval from the Independent Safety Assessor (ISA), will last three months, after which Metro Railway will request for approval from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).
Metro Railway is optimistic that the Sealdah expansion will boost ridership on the East-West line, which is currently underutilised.
“In normal times, Sealdah is a suburban railway hub with an 8 lakh to 10 lakh daily passenger count. According to Joshi, at least 40,000 commuters should utilise the East-West Metro, which will transport them to Sector V for a very low cost.
The authorities are anticipating a long and arduous build-up to the commissioning. The westbound tunnel will continue to serve as a shaft (opening) for winding up the tunnel boring machine TBM) Urvi, which concluded digging on May 15.