Kolkata: On April 9, Kolkata, the city that got India’s first metro, will make history by testing India’s first-ever underwater sections. Two six-coach rakes will speed down the twin tunnels between Esplanade and Howrah Maidan, according to Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) officials.
Due to three major subsidence incidents at Bowbazar since August 2019, the section between Sealdah and Esplanade has been delayed. This stretch’s west-bound tunnel has repeatedly caved in. Authorities have decided to begin operations without waiting for the much-delayed 2.5-kilometer Sealdah-Esplanade section to be completed. Trials are underway on the Kolkata Metro’s Green Line, a 16.6-kilometer corridor connecting Sector V in east Kolkata to Howrah Maidan via Sealdah and Esplanade.
For the time being, gaps between Sealdah and Esplanade will be bridged using temporary tracks for the transportation of two trains to Howrah Maidan on Sunday. Because the east-bound tunnel to Esplanade does not yet have electrified tracks, the two rakes will be pushed by a battery-powered locomotive from Sealdah. The twin tunnels beneath the Hooghly are 520 metres deep. At 33 metres below ground, the Howrah Metro station will be the country’s deepest.
According to KMRC officials, commercial operations between Esplanade and Howrah Maidan will begin in a couple of months if all goes well. However, no firm deadline for completing the Sealdah-Esplanade section has been set due to the difficulties caused by subsidences. The Kolkata Metro hopes that this project will significantly reduce commuter travel time and traffic congestion in the city.
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