KOCHI (Metro Rail News): On February 13, a trial run of metro trains between Petta and SN Junction will begin. As part of the trial run, which mostly includes track testing, one of the metro trains with three coaches will be rolled out on the new section. After the track test, the signalling work will be tested, and the new section will be ready for commissioning by April after the Metro Rail Safety Commissioner’s inspection.
The new stretch is part of Kochi Metro’s Phase 1 (A) extension, which includes two stations: Vadakkekotta and SN Junction. The total number of metro stations will increase to 24 after the services are extended to SN Junction. At the moment, the metro runs between Aluva and Petta, stopping at 22 stations. Last December, the approximately ‘300-crore extension plan was supposed to be finished. The Covid outbreak, however, threw the plans into disarray.
On the new section, the work on the stations is nearly complete. The job of laying the tracks was also completed. According to a Kochi Metro source, “once the trial run and other requirements are finished, Kochi Metro will finalise the date of the stretch’s inauguration after consulting the state government.” On the new route, there are a total of 259 viaducts.
In December 2021, the average daily ridership of the Kochi Metro reached 65,000. Ridership has plummeted since the third wave of Covid peaked after the Omicron variant. When the services are expanded up to SN Junction, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) officials hope that daily average ridership will reach one lakh.
Meanwhile, work on Phase 1 (B) extension from SN Junction to Tripunithura is ongoing, which includes the construction of a single metro station (Tripunithura Terminal) near the railway station. 40 percent of the total land necessary for the extension has already been given to the metro agency. The revenue department has acquired the remaining land, which will be turned over to KMRL soon. The Tripunithura extension is expected to be completed by March 2023.
The first phase of Kochi Metro will be finished after services are extended to Tripunithura. Aluva and Tripunithura, two significant towns in the suburbs, will be connected by train. The feeder services, which include electric buses, offered by KMRL would improve the traffic network, assisting in the decongestion of city roadways, the source noted.