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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chennai Metro ~ more trials - Saidapet line and underground at Thirumangalam

Chennai has few good stretches of roads… may be because Madras was not a planned city.  The  arterial Mount Road (Anna Salai) takes most of the traffic and there are no parallel roads.   The city has choked many a times whenever political agitation or a show of strength by any leader  left the city paralysed.  The balance is so thin that some diversion occurring somewhere, would adversely affect people elsewhere and one can see huge crowds waiting for the buses and vehicles piling up unable to move.

With Metro rail, something impossible happened – traffic in the main artillery road – Mount Road aka Anna Salai was regularized.  Many eye-brows were raised when effective 1st  March 2012, prime part of the Mount Road after Devi Paradise complex – from Wellington junction [just prior to Alankar theatre and LIC] was made one way – vehicles plying towards Spencers Signal were not allowed to use that stretch of Anna Salai and were re-directed towards GP Road, Whites Road, to join Anna Salai near United India HO.  Slowly, people got used to changes and the traffic in one side of the road started flowing somewhat freely ! – to those who frequent Anna Salai, it would ever remain a mystery as to how the small Smith road is taking the traffic of transport buses and more !!.  Subsequently more parts of the Mount Road became one way… there were many other parts of Chennai too which took the brunt.

The motorists have taken all the burden ~ the roadmap keeps changing as the underground work progresses – away in Saidapet and longer in elevated corridor, people have seen the work going on overhead – slowly the construction works gets firmed up and yesterday travelling saw the blue metro train coming on the bend – indeed an enjoyable sight. 
Metro at Saidapet

To recapitulate, under Chennai Metro   2 corridors have been proposed.  The first one running from Washermanpet to Chennai airport through – Broadway, Central, Govt Estate, Spencers, Gemini, Saidapet, Guindy…… the other running from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount through Vepery, KMC, Aminjikarai, Shenoynagar, Thirumangalam, Koyambedu, Vadapalani.  The portions of Corridor-1 with a length of 14.3 kms. fromWashermanpet to Saidapet, and Corridor-2 with a length of 9.7 kms. from Chennai Central to Anna Nagar 2nd Avenue will be underground and the remainder elevated.

On 29th  June 2015 –  a  distance of 10 Kilometers from Koyambedu to Alandur, the first phase of the much anticipated multi-crore Metro Rail chugged off with Chief Minister Ms.JJayalalithaa flagging off the inaugural service.  The entire route is on an elevated structure covering a distance of 10.15 km, with stations at Alandur, Ekkathuthangal, Ashok Nagar, Vadapalani, Arumbakkam and Koyambedu besides the yard at the last stop.

Metro nearing Alandur

On 14th Oct, Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) began its trial runs between Alandur and Little Mount.  The line is part of the Saidapet-Alandur-Airport elevated stretch of the Washermanpet-Airport corridor.  According to an Official, the operation was smooth and more trials would be conducted.  Several rounds of trials and testing are needed before a line can be submitted for tests by commissioner of metro rail safety to get approval for passenger services. The trials will look at the behaviour of signals, electrical traction, oscillation of tracks and functioning of trains on the route and at the stations. The CMRL plans to commission the service between Alandur and Chennai airport by March 2016 even as construction of stations is progressing in this section.  It is stated that four stations – Officers ' Training Academy, Alandur, Guindy and Little Mount – were covered during the trials.
KK Nagar Sivan Temple from Metro

A day after this  trial run, the first ever underground trial started on Saturday from Thirumangalam Ramp to Anna Nagar Tower Metro Rail station. According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), an OHE inspection wagon started running from Thirumangalam Ramp from 11 a.m. up to 1 p.m. The inspection was to check various aspects including track work, signalling and other electrical and civil works along this 2-km stretch.

Chennai Metro is cosy comfort and a good facility and it is for the Chennai residents – and it likely to change the way Chennaites commute !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th Oct 2015.

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