After missing several deadlines, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will finally start metro rail trial runs on the eight-kilometre National College-Yelachenahalli (on Kanakapura Road) stretch on Sunday (November 20). To carry out the trial runs, BMRCL will move the green-coloured metro train (indicating Green Line or the north-south corridor) using the underground track built, connecting Sampige Road and KR Market metro stations.
The trial runs on National College-Yelachenahalli (Puttenahalli was the earlier name of the station) stretch will be carried out for three months, while the trial runs between Sampige Road and KR Market station will be started later on, BMRCL managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola told media.
Infrastructure for this metro rail link had remained idle for about four-and-a-half years as the BMRCL authorities miserably failed to complete the underground stretch connecting the corridor with the rest of the metro rail network. The delays were attributed to problems with the tunnel boring machines and the tough terrain.
After missing the November 1 (Rajyotsava Day) deadline to start commercial operations on the entire Phase I, the BMRCL set April 2017 as the fresh deadline to open the full stretch of 42.30 kilometres.
At present the east-west corridor (Purple Line) of 17.9 km is operational between Mysore Road and Baiyappanahalli metro stations; and on the Green Line, the 12.4 Km stretch between Nagasandra and Sampige Road metro stations is operational. The rest of the stretch on the Green Line – the 12 Km stretch between Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli – including the underground stretch of four kilometres between Sampige Road and KR Market stations, is not yet operational.
Kharola said, “The trial operations on the elevated stretch (National College to Yelachenahalli) will commence from November 20. Through the existing tunnel between Sampige Road and KR Market underground metro stations, we will move a train to the elevated corridor at National College. After shifting the train, we will start the trial run between National College and Yelachenahalli metro stations.”
He said this kind of a test run was earlier done between Mysore Road and Magadi Road stations. “At a later stage, we will start the trials on the pending underground stretch (Sampige Road-KR Market) of the north-south corridor,” he said. After completion of the trial run, the BMRCL plans to approach the railway safety commissioner to seek a clearance certificate to open the stretch for commercial operations.
A LONG, LONG WAIT
The construction of the elevated structure between National College and Yelachenahalli was completed in 2011-12. However, due delays in completing the underground tunnel works, the BMRCL could not start the trial run. The tunnel boring machines like Krishna, Kaveri and Godavari took years to complete the tunnelling task on the four-kilometre stretch.
In September, Krishna achieved the breakthrough, allowing BMRCL to complete the tunnel works. As the tunnel works were delayed and public pressure was growing, the BMRCL even contemplated starting the trail runs by transporting a metro train from Peenya depot to Yelachenahalli, and placing it on the tracks using a crane.
A tender was even called to carry out the work train-lifting work, but was the entire plan was shelved on the grounds that it was not a feasible option. There are total of eight stations on the stretch – National College, Lalbagh, South End Circle, Jayanagar, RV Road Station, Banashankari, JP Nagar and Yelachenahalli.
The BMRCL has estimated that once the entire Phase I is operational, five-six lakh commuters can travel every day. The number is expected to increase up to eight lakh after a few months. At present, close to 1.8 lakh people are travelling in the metro every day.
Credits Bangalore Mirror