Chennai Metro – New boy in town

Chennai transportation landscape has been a fine example of mix of road and rail transport moving masses in an economical way.  City is blessed with a suburban rail system dating back to the 1920’s and over the period saw many new modes of transport like MRTS getting added and few like trams giving away.  City expanding drastically, coupled with rapid economic activity, it was time for a rapid people mover system which inherited the best of world’s technology.

Metro rail wave having made its presence felt in the Metros of Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur finally decided to hit the shores of Namma Chennai.  CMRL (Chennai Metro Rail Limited) the SPV formed for this purpose started the work in the year 2009 and project saw light with the commercial operations starting on 29th June 2015.  This day will be a red letter day in the history of Chennai transportation when a new mode of transport is taking shape almost after a Century.  ( I am discounting MRTS here, it being an ugly contraption of SR’s failed attempt on Mass transit system).

DSC_0097

Blue eyed boy

DSC_0139

We at Team TNSTC blog were awaiting this very day as anything on wheels is dear to us and what better than introducing this fine masterpiece to the readers.

cmrl_schematic_map_TAMIL

Phase – 1 route map (Pic Courtesy: CMRL Site)

Chennai Metro Phase-1 which comprises of two corridors to a length of 45kms has a unique proposition of 55% of its length being underground.  The Alandur – Koyembedu stretch running to a length of 10kms which has been opened to public is part of the green line which when fully opened will run from St. Thomas Mount to Chennai Central.  The blue line which crisscrosses it at runs from Washermanpet to Chennai Airport.  The newly opened corridor connects CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus) and will prove a boon to the wary traveler once the whole network is in place.

DSC_0253

Alandur Metro Station

DSC_0234

Alandur station building and MTC bus stop

DSC_0004

Ticket Counter

DSC_0001

Fare Chart

DSC_0002

Kid fare chart

Smart Card

Chennai Metro – Smart Card

IMG-20150630-WA0017

Tokens – one time use

IMG_20150630_093421

Station entry and exit can be traced with the swipe of card

IMG_20150630_070322

Card balance information

We chose to visit the metro on next day of inauguration to avoid milling crowds and cover the Alandur – Koyembedu stretch. Arriving at Alandur station just an hour into its operation for the day, we were greeted with very lean crowd. Counter staff just a day old were getting a hang of things meddling with the new gizmos. Getting hold of the smart cards, we hit the concourse. CMRL offers one time use tokens and smart cards for the pax and smart cards offer a 10% discount on the journeys. Card recharge machines do the job as well.

DSC_0251

Board says it all!!

DSC_0013

Platform Information

DSC_0098

Swipe your tickets and get into the station – Turnstile

DSC_0015

Lifts there too

DSC_0107

Escalators at Alandur take you tooo high

DSC_0180

Platform Information

Alandur is a huge two tier station and monster escalators lift you up to the third level where plies the green line. Pax-belonging check and access control turnstile take you to the platform area. Brightly lit displays guide pax through to the platforms.

DSC_0237

DSC_0216

DSC_0191

Typical Chennai Metro Station

DSC_0221

DSC_0227

Board reads – Plaform 3 on Green Line

DSC_0185

Next train to Alandur will arrive in 3 mins

DSC_0184

DSC_0126

Koyembedu Station announces the display

DSC_0003

Next train information with destination

DSC_0235

Smart ATM’s of private banks available at the platform

DSC_0236

Handicap friendly coach position markings

DSC_0154

IN and OUT flow markings on the platform

DSC_0197

Station boards have line route details as well

CMRL has adopted a bare bones approach in designing the stations and structures don’t have a wow factor attached to them. Platform area is filled with user information board and public address system dishes out information on the upcoming schedules. Security personnel deployed guide the pax on the platform ensure them to fall behind the yellow line. Facility and rules being new, common Indian will take time to tame the kid in him. Platform area also has private bank ATM’s and commercial exploitation of the available infra will be a game changer.

DSC_0224

Blue beauty

DSC_0166

With the announcement came the shining blue Alstom rake which will take us on the joyride to Koyembedu. Overhead traction is adopted by CMRL and rakes run on the standard gauge. Here, Delhi metro need to be commended, who could prove the point and break the shackles of BG and take the country towards stand gauge based rapid system.

DSC_0045

Typical seat arrangement in the normal class coach

DSC_0047

Inside of the Normal class of Chennai Metro

DSC_0034

Luggage Rack

DSC_0032

Announcements inside the coach

DSC_0025

Route display with the lights giving station covered details

DSC_0053

DSC_0028

Alstom coach manufactured in 2014

DSC_0026

DSC_0044

DSC_0029

Handicapped – seat with space for wheel chair

DSC_0194

DSC_0170

Inside of a the Special Class

DSC_0238

Display near the driver side (end of platform)

DSC_0077

Stop mark for Pilot

DSC_0066

Over head traction in use

4 car rakes are currently doing duty and stations are capable of handling 6 car rakes in future. New concept of “Special class” is introduced in CMRL (fares not clear though) with half a rake dedicated for it and has cushion seating. Ladies have a dedicated space in the rake as well and remaining rake forms the normal class. The concept of Special Class is not a great idea considering its non-existence on other Indian Metro systems. Another notable first in CMRL is the presence of luggage racks. Otherwise, the in-metro car announcements and digital scroll boards do the job of informing the pax of upcoming stations do job well. Trains breezed past five stations and dropped us at Koyembedu in 17 mins flat, not bad. Koyembedu also houses the CMRL administrative office and a huge yard.

DSC08710

CMRL Koyembedu Yard

DSC_0146

DSC08719

Dead End

DSC_0071

CMRL Administrative building

DSC_0161

Maintianance vehicle which can run on the rails

DSC_0055

CMBT as viewed from the Metro

Just into the second day of operation, decent office going crowds was a welcome sight. Few points that could not the miss sight were the pending works being carried out at stations which are nearing completion. MTC has no wonder turned the other way by not operating any feeder buses to Metro stations. Stations like Alandur which has in its backyard thickly populated areas will benefit much with MTC “Small buses” acting as feeder services.
With the launch of Metro, high time Chennai babus decide to have a unified transportation authority to help people travel seamless across modes.
In all, though a small 10km beginning, Chennai Metro for sure is going to herald a new travelling experience which will be fast, safe and efficient and will help cover the city with ease.

Check out the videos hosted on Youtube:

Photos and Compilation: Subramanian & Senthil (Team TNSTC Blog)

This entry was posted by Subramanian R.

4 thoughts on “Chennai Metro – New boy in town

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: