Kolkata Metro
Overview
Native nameকলকাতা মেট্রো
Owner
Area servedKolkata Metropolitan Area
LocaleKolkata, West Bengal, India
Transit typeRapid Transit
Number of lines
  • 2 fully operational
  • 2 partly operational
  • 1 under construction
  • 1 planned
Line numberOperational: Under Construction: Planned:
Number of stations50 (Operational)
29 (Under Construction)
21 (Planned)
Daily ridershipOver 700,000
Chief executive
  • P. Uday Kumar Reddy, GM (Metro Railway)
  • V.K. Srivastava, MD (KMRC)
Headquarters
Website
Operation
Began operation24 October 1984; 39 years ago (1984-10-24)
Operator(s)Metro Railway, Kolkata
Infrastructure manager(s)Indian Railways
Number of vehiclesAround 45
Train length6 and 8 Coaches (Initially 4)
Headway4 minutes (Blue Line)
15 minutes (Green Line)
20 minutes (Orange Line)
50 minutes (Purple Line)
Technical
System length59.38 km (36.90 mi)
Track gauge
  • 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge (Blue , Purple & Orange Lines)
  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge (Green Line)
Electrification750 V DC third rail
Average speed60 km/h (37.28 mph)
Top speed80 km/h (50 mph)

The Kolkata Metro is a rapid transit system serving the city of Kolkata and the wider Kolkata Metropolitan Region in West Bengal, India. Opening in 1984, it was the first operational rapid transit system in India, beside being the second busiest and fourth-longest metro network in India. As of March 2024, it has four operational lines: the 32.13 km (19.96 mi) Line 1 from Dakshineswar to Kavi Subhash, 14.1 km (8.8 mi) Line 2 from Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan (excluding the under construction section between Sealdah and Esplanade), 7.75 km (4.82 mi) Line 3 from Joka to Majerhat and 5.4 km (3.4 mi) Line 6 from Kavi Subhash to Hemanta Mukherjee for a total of 59.38 km (36.90 mi).[3][4] Two other lines are in various phases of construction and planning. The system has a mix of underground, at-grade and elevated stations using both broad-gauge and standard-gauge tracks. Trains operate between 06:55 and 22:30 IST and the fares range from ₹5 to ₹50.

The Kolkata Metro was initially planned in the 1920s, but construction started in the 1970s. The first underground stretch, from Bhawanipore (now Netaji Bhawan) to Esplanade, opened in 1984. A truncated section of Line 2, or the East–West Corridor, from Salt Lake Sector V to Phoolbagan opened in 2020. Line 3, or the Joka-Esplanade Corridor (currently truncated in Majerhat), opened in 2022. It is the fourth-longest operational metro network in India after the Delhi Metro, Namma Metro and Hyderabad Metro.

Metro Railway, Kolkata and Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation are the owners and operator of the system. On 29 December 2010, Metro Railway, Kolkata, became the 17th zone of the Indian Railways, completely owned and funded by the Ministry of Railways. It is the only metro system in the country to be controlled by Indian Railways. There are around 300 daily train trips, carrying more than 700,000 passengers.

History

Early attempts

In the September 1919 session of the Imperial Legislative Council at Shimla, a committee was set up by W. E. Crum that recommended a metro line for Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).[5] This line was supposed to connect Bagmari in the east to Benaras Road, Salkia, in Howrah in the west via a tunnel beneath Hooghly River. The estimated construction costs were £3,526,154, about 36.4 crore (equivalent to 70 billion or US$840 million in 2023) based on current exchange rates, and the proposed deadline was 1925–1926. The proposed line was 10.4 km (6.5 mi) long, about 4 km (2.5 mi) shorter than the current East-West Corridor, which would connect East Bengal Railway in Bagmari and East Indian Railway in Benaras Road. The tickets were priced at 3 annas ( 0.1875) for the full trip. Crum also mentioned a north–south corridor back then. An east–west metro railway connection, named the "East–West Tube Railway", was proposed for Kolkata in 1921 by Harley Dalrymple-Hay.[6] All the reports can be found in his 1921 book Calcutta Tube Railways. However, in 1923, the proposal was not undertaken due to a lack of funds.[7][5][8]

Planning

The then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy, reconceived the idea of an underground railway for Kolkata from 1949 to 1950. A team of French experts conducted a survey, but nothing concrete materialized. Efforts to solve traffic problem by augmenting the existing fleet of public transport vehicles hardly helped, since roads accounted for only 4.2 percent of the surface area in Kolkata, compared with 25 percent in Delhi and 30 percent in other cities. To find alternative solutions, the Metropolitan Transport Project (MTP) was set up in 1969. The MTP, with the help of Soviet specialists, Lenmetroproekt and East German engineers, prepared a master plan to provide five rapid-transit (metro) lines for the city of Kolkata, totaling a length of 97.5 km (60.6 mi), in 1971.[9] Three were selected for construction. These were:[10][11]

  1. Dum DumTollygunge (Line 1. Presently operates from Dakshineswar to New Garia)
  2. BidhannagarRamrajatala (Line 2. Presently truncated till Howrah Maidan)
  3. DakshineswarThakurpukur (Divided into Line 1; Noapara to Dakshineswar and Line 3; Joka to Esplanade)

The highest priority was given to the busy north–south corridor between Dum Dum and Tollygunge over a length of 16.45 km (10.22 mi); work on this project was approved on 1 June 1972. A tentative deadline was fixed to complete all the corridors by 1991.[12]

Construction

Shyambazar-Belgachhia Section (Shield tunneling using compressed air and airlocks) using Hungarian expertise during its construction in the 1980s.[13]

Since it was India's first metro[13] and was constructed as a completely indigenous process, a traditional cut-and-cover method and driven shield tunneling was chosen and the Kolkata Metro was more of a trial-and-error affair, in contrast to the Delhi Metro, which saw the involvement of multiple international consultants. As a result, it took nearly 23 years to completely construct the 17 km (11 mi) underground railway.[11][14]

The foundation stone of the project was laid by Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, on 29 December 1972, and construction work started in 1973–74. Initially, cut and cover along with slurry wall construction to handle soft ground, was recommended by the Soviet Union consultants. Later, in 1977, it was decided to adopt both shield tunneling and cut and cover methods for construction under populated areas, sewer lines, water mains, electrical cables, telephone cables, tram lines, canals etc. The technology was provided by M/s NIKEX Hungarian Co., Budapest.[15] In the early days, the project was led by the Union Railway Minister from West Bengal, A. B. A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, often against the prevailing socio-political stance of his contemporaries in the West Bengal government. From the start of construction, the project had to contend with several problems including insufficient funds (until 1977–1978), a shifting of underground utilities, court injunctions, and an irregular supply of vital materials.[11][16] In 1977, an injunction for the allocation of new funding was passed by the newly elected Jyoti Basu government.[17]

Kolkata Metro BHEL 1000 metro rake.

Despite all the hurdles, services began on 24 October 1984, with the commissioning of a partial commercial service covering a distance of 3.40 km (2.11 mi) with five stations served between Esplanade and Bhowanipur (currently Netaji Bhavan).[9] The first metro was driven by Tapan Kumar Nath and Sanjoy Kumar Sil.[18] The service was quickly followed by commuter services on another 2.15 km (1.34 mi) stretch in the north between Dum Dum and Belgachhia on 12 November 1984. The commuter service was extended to Tollygunge on 29 April 1986, covering a further distance of 4.24 km (2.63 mi), making the service available over a distance of 9.79 km (6.08 mi) and covering 11 stations. However, the services on the north section were suspended starting 26 October 1992, as this small, isolated section was little used.[16] The Line 1 was almost entirely built by cut and cover method, while a small 1.09 km stretch between Belgachia and Shyambazar was built using shield tunneling with compressed air and air locks, since the alignment crossed a railway yard (now Kolkata railway station) and Circular Canal.[15][19][20]

Evolution of Kolkata Metro from 1984 to 2022

After more than eight years, the 1.62 km (1.01 mi) BelgachhiaShyambazaar section, along with the Dum Dum–Belgachhia stretch, was opened on 13 August 1994. Another 0.71 km (0.44 mi) stretch from Esplanade to Chandni Chowk was commissioned shortly afterwards, on 2 October 1994. The Shyambazaar-ShobhabazarGirish Park (1.93 km [1.20 mi]) and Chandni ChowkCentral (0.60 km [0.37 mi]) sections were opened on 19 February 1995. Services on the entire stretch of the Metro were introduced from 27 September 1995 by bridging the 1.80 km (1.12 mi) gap with Mahatma Gandhi Road metro station in the middle.[21]

In 1999–2000, the extension of Line 1 along an elevated corridor from Tollygunge to New Garia, with six stations, was sanctioned at a cost of 907 crore (equivalent to 39 billion or US$470 million in 2023).[22] The section was constructed and opened in two phases, Mahanayak Uttam Kumar to Kavi Nazrul in 2009 and Kavi Nazrul to Kavi Subhash in 2010. In the north, the line was extended till Noapara from Dum Dum on 10 July 2013.[23] The latest extension opened was the 4.1 km (2.5 mi) stretch from Noapara to Dakshineswar on 23 February 2021.[11][16][24]

Metro rake mural at Majerhat metro station

East–West metro

Hooghly River Underwater metro tunnel segment
East west metro tunnel underwater section

The master-plan of the metro corridor was made in 1971 along with the North–South Corridor, connecting the office district of Bidhannagar with the twin city and transportation hub Howrah via another transport hub of the city, Sealdah, and the central business district Esplanade by an underwater metro line. It is a 4,874.6 crore (equivalent to 140 billion or US$1.6 billion in 2023) project, sanctioned in 2008 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The foundation stone was laid on 22 February 2009 and construction started in March 2009.[25] The autonomous Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) was formed to implement the project. The Government of India (Ministry of Urban Development) and Government of West Bengal each had a half-share in it. Later, the Government of West Bengal pulled out from it, and the shares were transferred to the Ministry of Railways.[26]

Route realignment

Construction of Howrah metro station, the deepest metro station in India.[27] Currently, it is operational.
East West Metro Tunnel under the Hooghly River is the biggest underwater metro tunnel in India.[28]

The realignment led to many other issues and delays. Some of the biggest issues were the H-piles under Esplanade metro station and the Bowbazar mishap. As per the 1971 master plan, the East-West Corridor was supposed to pass under Central metro station, so the square foundational beams in Esplanade were not removed. Since the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) cannot cut through steel, another small tunnel was dug using New Austrian tunnelling method (NATM) and the H-piles were cut manually. This extended the tunnelling process by one and a half months.[29][30][31] In September 2019, during the construction of the eastbound tunnel (from Esplanade to Sealdah), a TBM hit an aquifer under Bowbazar, causing a major collapse in the area, delaying work in that section for several months. Around 80 houses were damaged and many buildings were declared unsafe, affecting more than 600 people. Later subsidence in the area was checked using grouting.[32][33][34]

Expansion planning

By 2011–2012, the Railway Ministry had announced plans for the construction of five new metro lines and an extension of the existing north–south corridor. These were:[35][36]

  1. Salt LakeHowrah Maidan (Line 2 or East–West Metro Corridor)
  2. JokaB.B.D. Bagh (Line 3. Later truncated till Esplanade)
  3. NoaparaBarasat (Line 4, via airport)
  4. BaranagarBarrackpore (Line 5)
  5. New GariaDum Dum Airport (Line 6)

Major modifications

A new four-platform interchange station was constructed at Noapara and Kavi Subhash. This acts as an interchange station for Line 1 with Line 4 and Line 6 respectively. For the time being, only two platforms are in use for Noapara, but once Line 4 is running, all four platforms will be operational, whereas from 6 March 2024 all four platforms of Kavi Subhash are operational.[23][37][38][39] The existing Esplanade metro station was upgraded and a subway was constructed to the new metro station to provide an interchange among Line 1, Line 2 and future Line 3.[40][41] In 2009–2010, Line 1 underwent upgrades of services and amenities and many stations were renamed after famous personalities by then Minister of Railways Mamata Banerjee.[42]

Network

Summary

Kolkata Metro Map showcasing all the current, under construction and planned metro lines and stations.

The Kolkata Metro currently operates with four lines: Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, and Line 6. These lines have a total of 50 operational stations with a further 29 under construction.

Line 1, also known as the North-South line connects Kavi Subash (New Garia) to Dakshineshwar and consists of 26 stations. Line 2, also known as the East-West Line, currently connects Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan, with a gap between Sealdah and Esplanade. This line currently consists of 12 stations and propositions have been made to extend it from Salt Lake Sector V to Teghoria in the future. Line 3 presently connects Joka to Majerhat, with 7 stations in operation and construction is ongoing up to Esplanade. The line is also planned to extend from Joka to Diamond Park. Line 6 currently connects Kavi Subhash to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay consisting of 5 stations. This line is under construction up to Biman Bandar (N.S.C.B. Int'l Airport) and when finished will have a total of 24 stations. Furthermore, Line 4 is currently under construction from Noapara to Biman Bandar and from Biman Bandar to New Barrackpore. A proposed extension could see it reach Barasat.

Additionally, there is one more line proposed, Line 5 which will connect Baranagar to Barrackpore with a planned 11 stations.

The planned network will have a total of 21 stations, further expanding the metro's reach and capacity. The planned network consists of the entireity of Line 5; the extension of Line 2 to Teghoria and the extension of Line 4 to Barasat.

Operational

See also: List of Kolkata metro stations

Line no. Line colour First run Last extension Stations Length (km) Terminals Rolling stock Track gauge (mm) Power Avg. freq. (min)
1 Blue Line 24 October 1984[43] 22 February 2021 26 32.13 Dakshineswar Kavi Subhash ICF, CRRC Dalian 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) 750 V DC 5
2 Green Line 13 February 2020[44] 14 July 2022 8 9.3 Sealdah Salt Lake Sector-V BEML 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)[45] 10
6 March 2024 4 4.8 Howrah Maidan Esplanade
3 Purple Line 30 December 2022[46] 6 March 2024 7 7.75 Majerhat Joka ICF 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) 50
6 Orange Line 6 March 2024 5 5.4 Kavi Subhash Hemanta Mukhopadhyay 25
Total 50 59.38

Under construction/planned

See also: List of proposed and under-construction Kolkata metro stations

Line no. Line name Expected Completion Date Stations Length
(km)
Terminals Track gauge Power Executing agency
2 Green Line 2025[47] (Esplanade-Sealdah) 2.5 Esplanade Sealdah 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)[45] 750 V DC KMRC
Planned 5 6.65 Salt Lake Sector-V Teghoria
3 Purple Line 2028[46] 5 7.33 Majerhat Esplanade 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Rail Vikas Nigam Limited
Planned 2 3.39 Diamond Park Joka
4 Yellow Line 2024[48] (NoaparaDum Dum Cantonment)[36] 10 16.88[49] Noapara Barasat Metro Railway, Kolkata
5 Pink Line Planned 11 12.40[49] Baranagar Barrackpore Rail Vikas Nigam Limited
6 Orange Line 2024 (VIP BazarBeleghata) 2025 (BeleghataIT Centre)[36] 19 24.47[49] Hemanta Mukhopadhyay Jai Hind
Total 52 73.8

Lines

Summary

Line Status Length (km) Stations Opening Year
Blue Line Fully operational 32.13 26 1984
Green Line Mostly Operational

(except between Esplanade - Sealdah)

14.1 12 2020
Purple Line Partially operational 7.75 7 2022
Orange Line Partially operational 5.4 5 2024

Blue line (Line 1)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 1

Kolkata metro at Dakshineswar metro station on Line 1

Line 1, or the Blue line, of Kolkata Metro (Bengali: কলকাতা নগরীরেল) has a total length of 32.13 kilometres (19.96 mi) serving 26 stations, of which 15 are underground, 9 are elevated and 2 at-grade. It uses the 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge tracks. It was the first underground railway to be built in India, with the first trains running in October 1984 and the full stretch that had been initially planned completed and operational by February 1995. The southward extension of Blue line to an elevated corridor from Tollygunge to New Garia was constructed and opened in two phases, Mahanayak Uttam Kumar to Kavi Nazrul in 2009 and Kavi Nazrul to Kavi Subhash in 2010. Another extension constructed was the 2.59 km (1.61 mi) elevated corridor from Dum Dum to Noapara in 2013.[16][50][51] The last 4.13 km (2.57 mi) extension from Noapara to Dakshineswar opened in 2021, thus completing the Blue line.[52]

A northward extension from Dum Dum to Dakshineswar (6.20 km [3.85 mi]) was sanctioned and included in the 2010–2011 budget at a cost of 227.53 crore (equivalent to 510 crore or US$61 million in 2023). The commercial operations for Dum Dum to Noapara (2.09 km [1.30 mi]) was commissioned in March 2013, and construction from Noapara to Dakshineswar with an interchange with Line 5 at Baranagar (2.38 km [1.48 mi]) is being executed by RVNL. This section is opened on 23 February 2021 for general public [53] with a projected ridership of 55,000 by 2030.[54]

Baranagar Metro Station on Kolkata metro line 1

An upgrade of the existing signalling system from Indian Railways Signalling to Communication Based Train Control was proposed by Metro Railway, Kolkata, at a cost of 467 crore (equivalent to 550 crore or US$66 million in 2023), and was sent to Indian Railways. This could decrease the time interval between trains to just 90 seconds from 5 minutes. Indian Railways approved the proposal, and installation work is expected to be completed within 2–3 years.[55]

Green line (Line 2)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 2

See also: East West Metro Tunnel

Platform Screen Doors at the Salt Lake Stadium metro station
Metro rake flagged off from Esplanade metro station

Green Line or Line 2, is the second metro corridor to connect Kolkata with Howrah by an underwater metro line below the Hooghly River. The length was supposed to be 14.67 km (9.12 mi), 8.9 km (5.5 mi) underground and 5.77 km (3.59 mi) elevated. However, the project was stalled several times due to land acquisition and slum relocation issues. A major route realignment in 2013 increased the length to 16.55 km (10.28 mi). The elevated stretch is 5.77 km (3.59 mi) long while the underground stretch is 10.81 km (6.72 mi). The planned intersection with Blue line at Central was re-aligned to Esplanade (interchange with Blue line and Purple line). In September 2019, during the construction of the eastbound tunnel (from Esplanade to Sealdah), a TBM hit an aquifer under Bowbazar, causing a major collapse in the area, delaying work on that section for several months.[56] These issues have caused massive delays to the project, and foreign currency losses had led to an 80 percent cost escalation of the project to nearly 8,996.96 crore (equivalent to 130 billion or US$1.5 billion in 2023).[57][58]

Between Mahakaran and Howrah Station, the metro runs under the Hooghly River – the biggest and the only underwater metro in India.[28] Transfer stations with railways are located at Sealdah and Howrah. A new elevated extension from Salt Lake Sector V to VIP Road/Teghoria (Haldiram) was sanctioned, a distance of 5.5 km (3.4 mi) at a budget of 674 crore (equivalent to 969 crore or US$120 million in 2023) in 2016.[59] From VIP Road/Teghoria (Haldiram), passengers can take the Orange Line metro (VIP Road Station) to Biman Bandar.[49]

The line from Salt Lake Sector V to Salt Lake Stadium was inaugurated on 13 February 2020 by the then Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal after 11 years of construction.[60][61] Services to Phoolbagan metro station, the first underground station of the line, were extended on 4 October 2020. It was also the first underground station inaugurated in Kolkata after 25 years, since the Mahatma Gandhi Road metro station of Blue line was the last to open in 1995.[62][63] The extension added 1.66 km (1.03 mi) to the existing line.[64] On July 11, 2022, this line was extended till Sealdah. On 6 March 2024, the Esplanade - Howrah Maidan section was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaving only 2.9 km between the two functional stations to be joined.[65][66][67]

Purple line (Line 3)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 3

ICF Medha Rake MR-418 on the day of Inauguration of Line 3 at Joka metro station

Previously, the stretch from Thakurpukur to Majerhat was surveyed as a branch line of the circular railway, and a metro line from Majerhat to Dakshineswar via Sealdah (interchange with Green line) was planned.[10] This plan was scrapped and a new metro line from further south in Joka to BBD Bagh was sanctioned in 2010–2011 with a total length of 17.22 km (10.70 mi) at an anticipated cost of 2,619.02 crore (equivalent to 59 billion or US$700 million in 2023). Later the route was truncated to Esplanade. The corridor runs along Diamond Harbour Road, Khidirpur Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road, major arterial roads of Kolkata, and has passenger interchange facilities with Blue line at Esplanade. The proposed Esplanade station will not be the same as that of Blue line but a different station which will also serve Green line. The line now has a new depot in Joka. Due to land acquisition problems[68] and objections from the Ministry of Defence, construction has been delayed several times since the beginning.[69] Defence Ministry objected that the elevated corridor would overlook the Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William, Ordinance Depot at Mominpore. The change in alignment from elevated to underground increased the construction cost of the stretch from 139 crore (equivalent to 164 crore or US$20 million in 2023) to 3,000 crore (equivalent to 35 billion or US$420 million in 2023).[70] The work resumed in several phases and new bids were invited by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) in April 2020.[71][72][73] It is India's first metro line to run on indigenous head hardened rails, manufactured by Jindal Steel & Power.[74][75] The extension of this line to IIM and Diamond Park for 2 km (1.2 mi) was sanctioned in the 2012–2013 Budget at a cost of 294.49 crore (equivalent to 555 crore or US$67 million in 2023). The work is being executed by RVNL.[76][35][49]

The line has 3 phases:

  1. Joka to Majerhat (Phase 1)
  2. Majerhat to Esplanade (Phase 2)
  3. Joka to Diamond Park (Phase 3)

The Mominpur metro station was planned to build across a 2500 sq. m area. However, the Ministry of Defence objected to the elevated structure, saying that it would overlook the Ordnance depot. This forced RVNL to stall the entire project, and RVNL almost dropped the station from the plan even though it alone would have a projected 20,000 passengers during peak hours. Underground Mominpur station was also not possible due to the sharp gradient from Taratala metro station.[77] After a series of discussions and consultations with the Ministry of Defence and Government of West Bengal in 2016, it was decided to shift the station around 1 km (0.62 mi) northward, near the Alipore Bodyguard Lines.[78] But, after a year Defence Ministry approved the Mominpur metro station in its original location as the change in alignment would have delayed the project and budget overrun. It will be the last elevated station of the corridor.[77][79] Now, the proposed underground Khidirpur metro station is planned at the Alipore Bodyguard Lines.[80] There were also hurdles regarding clearance for tunneling under defence lands.[78] In 2020, Defence Ministry eased out the process as lease rent wasn't required anymore for tunneling until overground ownership of the land does not change.[70] On 6 March 2024, the Taratala - Majerhat section was inaugurated remotely by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, completing the 7.75 km Phase 1 stretch.

Yellow line (Line 4)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 4

The work of integrating the Circular Railway from Dum Dum to Biman Bandar into a 6.249 km (3.883 mi) new metro line from Dum Dum to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport was sanctioned in the 2010–2011 budget.[49] The cost of the project is 184.83 crore (equivalent to 415 crore or US$50 million in 2023). An eastward extension from Biman Bandar to Barasat over 10.627 km (6.603 mi)[49] was also sanctioned and included in the 2010–2011 budget. The cost of the project is 2,397.72 crore (equivalent to 49 billion or US$590 million in 2023). The work on this project from Noapara to Barasat is being executed by Metro Railway, Kolkata.[81] Due to multiple delays and hurdles, the total cost of the project had grown to 4,829.57 crore (equivalent to 65 billion or US$770 million in 2023).[82]

Following an objection from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the route was further reworked. Instead of using the Circular Line's Jessore Road and Biman Bandar railway station, Jessore Road and Jai Hind metro station were planned at-grade and underground, respectively. This stretch will continue underground till Barasat after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's approval[83] which was till New Barrackpore earlier. As of 2024, the construction work has started from airport to New Barrackpore underground link and the bidding for New Barrackpore to Barasat line extension is expected to start.

Pink line (Line 5)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 5

The Pink Line is the northward extension from Baranagar to Barrackpore [12.45 km (7.74 mi)]. It was sanctioned at a cost of 2,069.6 crore (equivalent to 46 billion or US$560 million in 2023) in the 2010–2011 budget. This line was meant to enable a quick commute from the northernmost suburbs to South Kolkata. The work corridor is being executed by RVNL. As of May 2021, no physical construction has commenced, and the project has been stalled as metro construction would affect the water pipelines along Barrackpore Trunk Road.[84] To avoid this, another proposal was made to continue this line through the Kalyani Expressway. Eleven metro stations were planned on this route.[35]

Orange line (Line 6)

Main article: Kolkata Metro Line 6

Satyajit Ray metro station

A connection between New Garia and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (29.87 km [18.56 mi])[49] via EM Bypass, Salt Lake and Rajarhat-New Town was sanctioned to reduce travel time between the southern fringes of Kolkata and the airport. Work on this line was inaugurated by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on 7 February 2011 with a project deadline of six years.[85] The link between Kavi Subhash and Jai Hind, to be set up at a cost of 4,259.50 crore (equivalent to 50 billion or US$600 million in 2023),[86] will have 24 stations with the terminal Jai Hind metro station being an underground one. The work is executed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.[87] Jai Hind metro station will also have a stabling yard, and will be the largest underground facility in the country.[88] This line will have interchanges at Kavi Subhash (with Blue line); Salt Lake Sector V (with Green line) and Teghoria/VIP Road (again with Green line).[35][49] In July 2020, bids were invited by RVNL to complete the sections left due to various reasons and hurdles.[89][90]

Initially, the Jai Hind metro station was planned to be elevated. However, the AAI objected that the elevated stretch up to the airport might pose a threat to aircraft, so the route was further reworked and the station was shifted underground, 150 m from the Airport terminal building.[91][92] As per another revised plan, this line will continue till Barasat and the Yellow line would terminate at Jai Hind. There are also possibilities that Jai Hind metro station would serve as a junction of three lines, i.e. Noapara–Jai Hind, Kavi Subhash–Jai Hind and Jai Hind–Barasat.[91][92]

On 6 March 2024, the Kavi Subhash-Hemanta Mukhopadhyay section was inaugurated, completing the 5.4 km Phase 1 stretch.[37][38]

Proposed expansions

In 2012, RITES, surveyed 16 new routes for connecting the suburban areas to the city. The key routes were:[93]

  1. Majerhat to Ruby via Kalighat and Ballygunge
  2. Basirhat to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, Kavi Subhash via Haroa and Bhangar
  3. Joka to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar via Thakurpukur
  4. Kavi Subhash to Canning via Rajpur-Baruipur & Uttarbhag along with EM Bypass
  5. Joka to Diamond Harbour along Diamond Harbour Road (Line 3 extension)
  6. Barasat to Barrackpore via State Highway 2 (Line 4 extension)
  7. Barrackpore to Kalyani via Kalyani Expressway (Line 4/ Line 5 extension)
  8. Madhyamgram to Barrackpore via Sodepur Road and Kalyani Expressway
  9. Branch line of Line 2 from Karunamoyee to Kolkata station
  10. Howrah MaidanShalimarSantragachi via Kona Expressway and Foreshore Road[94][95] (Line 2 extension)
  11. Santragachi to Dhulagarh (Line 2 extension)
  12. Howrah Maidan to Dankuni via Ichapur Road and Benaras Road
  13. Howrah Maidan to Srirampore and Chandannagar via Dankuni, National Highway 2
  14. Howrah Maidan to Belur

Owners and operators

Since the formation of the Metropolitan Transport Project (MTP) in 1969, Kolkata Metro has always been under the Indian Railways, directly or indirectly. It is the only metro in the country to be controlled by Indian Railways. On 29 December 2010, Metro Railway, Kolkata, became the 17th zone of the Indian Railways, completely owned and funded by the Ministry of Railways. Although Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation was formed with 50-50 shares of the Government of West Bengal and the Government of India, as the implementing agency of the East–West Corridor, later majority shares were transferred to Indian Railways. In July 2019, the operation of Green line was handed over to Metro Railway, Kolkata.[26][96][97]

Owner Operator
Metro Railway, Kolkata Ministry of Railways (India) Blue Line, Purple line, Orange Line
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ministry of Railways (India) Green Line

Services

Operations

Map showing the whole route
Display showing upcoming station details and ETA
Display on platforms

Originally, There are a total of 358 services every day.[98] But, the services and timings were changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as of July 2022, it operates between 06:55 and 22:30 IST.[99] Trains operate at an average speed of 23 km/h (14.29 mph) and stop for about 10 to 20 seconds at each station, depending on the crowd.[100] All stations have display boards showing the terminating station, current time, scheduled time of arrival and estimated time of arrival of trains in Bangla, Hindi and English. Digital countdown clocks are also present in the stations.[101][102] The coaches have line route-maps and speakers and displays, which provide details of upcoming stations in the three languages.[103][104][105] Navigation information is available on Google Maps.[106] Kolkata Metro has launched its own official mobile app Metro Railway, Kolkata for android smartphone users which provides information regarding station, train timing, fare and has online smart card recharge facility.[107]

Seat reservation

In 2008, the Kolkata Metro Railway experimented with the practice of reserving two entire compartments for women. This system was found to be ineffective and caused inconvenience for a lot of commuters (including women) and the plan was dropped.[108]

Now, certain sections of seats in each compartment are reserved for women, senior citizens and the physically challenged. The four-seat sections at each end of a coach are reserved for senior citizens and the physically challenged, and the two middle seat sections, between the general seat sections on each side, are reserved for women.[109][110][111]

Fare

Kolkata Metro fare chart on Mahakaran metro station

The fare is based on the predetermined distance formulas. Kolkata Metro has the lowest starting fare in the country of 5 (equivalent to 6.00 or 7.2¢ US in 2023). For Blue Line, the fare ranges from 5 (equivalent to 6.00 or 7.2¢ US in 2023) to 25 (equivalent to 29 or 35¢ US in 2023),for Green Line , its 5 (equivalent to 6.00 or 7.2¢ US in 2023) to 30 (equivalent to 35 or 42¢ US in 2023) and for Purple Line, the fare ranges from 5 (equivalent to 6.00 or 7.2¢ US in 2023) to 20 (equivalent to 24 or 29¢ US in 2023).[112]

Metro token

Tickets

After using the magnetic ticketing strip system from 1984 to 2011, Kolkata Metro introduced Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tokens by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in partnership with Keltron in August 2011. The old magnetic strip reader gates were replaced with new RFID readers.[113][114] The gates are AFC types of gates. These tokens are touched on the machine to enter the station, while to exit from the destination station, it is required to submit the token into the machine. The current tokens are coin shaped and made of plastic.

Smart Card

After introducing RFID tokens, Kolkata metro introduced a Smart Card service provided by CRIS.[113] Earlier, four different types of smart cards were used: Minimum Multi Ride (MMR), Limited Multi Ride (LMR), General Multi Ride (GMR) and Extended Multi Ride (EMR). They were withdrawn on 7 November 2013 and a single type of Smart Card (General Smart Card) was introduced. Two new types of Tourist Smart Cards were also introduced (Tourist Smart Card – I and Tourist Smart Card – II). There is a compulsory refundable security deposit of 60 (equivalent to 71 or 85¢ US in 2023). The card is common for both Blue line and Green line.[115][116][117] Online smart card recharge facility was launched on 1 July 2020.[118][119] These smart cards are not required to be submitted to the AFC gates at the arriving station and can be carried by the passengers. These cards are required to be recharged if the previously recharged money is already spend.

Tourist Smart Card

Two new types of Tourist Smart Cards were also introduced (Tourist Smart Card – I and Tourist Smart Card – II). This type of smart card is for tourists and have unlimited rides. They cost 250 (equivalent to 290 or US$3.50 in 2023), valid for a day and 550 (equivalent to 650 or US$7.80 in 2023), valid for three days. A security deposit of 60 (equivalent to 71 or 85¢ US in 2023) is also charged.[116]

Durga Puja special services

See also: Durga Puja

The metro railway runs special night-long services during Durga Puja (Maha Saptami to Maha Navami) to help people travel faster and more conveniently for pandal-hopping. The services start at 13:00 and operate till 04:00 the next day. Pre-puja services are also run.[120][121][122]

Security

Platform screen door at Salt Lake Stadium metro station

All stations are equipped with closed-circuit cameras, metal detectors and baggage scanners. The Railway Protection Force provides security in the premises.[123][124] Smoking is strictly prohibited in the metro premises. All stations in the Green line have half-height and full-height platform screen doors for elevated and underground stations, respectively.[26]

Other facilities

All stations have televisions which telecast news and songs.[125] WiFi was introduced at Park Street and Maidan metro station in 2016. Gradually, it was expanded to all the stations. The service is provided by Reliance Jio.[126][127]

Most stations have services such as ATMs, food outlets and chemist stalls. To ease crowding for recharging smart cards, two Automatic Card recharge machines were installed at Dum Dum.[128] On account of the Swacchota–i–Seba (in English, Cleanliness is service), a nationwide awareness and mobilization campaign on cleanliness, plastic bottle crushers were placed at multiple stations.[129]

Ridership

Kolkata Metro is the 2nd busiest metro system in India. 2,465 travel by every Metro train in Kolkata against 1,110 in Delhi. Kolkata Metro carries around 7,00,000 people daily.[130] The daily and annual ridership has consistently risen since 1984. After the completion of the whole corridor from Dum Dum to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar in 1995, there was a huge leap in ridership. Low fares and fast and convenient travel have contributed to the high ridership figures. During the 2019 Durga Puja, there was a record ridership of 922,000.[131][51]

The Green Line sees around 90,000 people daily, with the Sealdah extension being operational from July 14, 2022.

The Purple Line sees around 800 people daily, being operational from January 2, 2023. The Orange Line has a daily ridership of 2000 people.

Ridership Data of Kolkata Metro [141]
Year Annual Passengers (in lakhs) Approximate Daily Ridership
1984 -1985 14.66            4,016
1985 - 1986 27.58            7,556
1986 -1987 98.41          26,962
1987 - 1988 157.84          43,244
1988 - 1989 169.57          46,458
1989 - 1990 197.51          54,112
1990 - 1991 226.17          61,964
1991 - 1992 241.44          66,148
1992 - 1993 154.57          42,348
1993 - 1994 158.62          43,458
1994 - 1995 194.86          53,386
1995 - 1996 432.76       1,18,564
1996 - 1997 625.86       1,71,468
1997 - 1998 691.35       1,89,411
1998 - 1999 580.26       1,58,975
1999 - 2000 557.83       1,52,830
2000 - 2001 706.06       1,93,441
2001 - 2002 766.57       2,10,019
2002 - 2003 773.53       2,11,926
2003 - 2004 905.53       2,48,090
2004 - 2005 975.62       2,67,293
2005 - 2006 1078.73       2,95,542
2006 - 2007 1148.53       3,14,666
2007 - 2008 1206.22       3,30,471
2008 - 2009 1265.37       3,46,677
2009 - 2010 1369.74       3,75,271
2010 - 2011 1590.64       4,35,792
2011 - 2012 1674.48       4,58,762
2012 - 2013 1882.98       5,15,885
2013 - 2014 1948.37       5,33,800
2014 - 2015 1831.41       5,01,756
2015 - 2016 1916.37       5,25,033
2016 - 2017 1972.13       5,40,310
2017 - 2018 2061.38       5,64,762
2018 - 2019 2133.04       5,84,395
2019 - 2020 2043.19       5,59,778
2020 - 2021 265.21          72,660
2021 - 2022 765.41       2,09,701
2022 - 2023 1769.16       4,84,701
2023 - 2024 1925.23       5,27,460

Infrastructure

Rolling stock

Main article: Kolkata Metro rolling stock

Second rake of Kolkata Metro (Green Line)
CRRC Dalian rake at Masterda Surya Sen metro station

The rolling stock of Blue line uses 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge, a broad gauge track manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai (ICF), and the electrical components are manufactured by NGEF, Bengaluru. Initially, the rolling stock fleet was composed of four-car rakes. Over the years there has been considerable expansion to the network, both underground and on elevated sections. With the increase in traffic, an eight-car rake formation has become standard.[142]

Depots and yards

Main article: List of Kolkata metro depots and yards

There are four operational depots. The Noapara, Tollygunge and New Garia depots serve the Blue line, while the Central Park depot serves the Green line.[143][144][145] A depot at Joka for Purple line and a yard at Airport for Yellow line are under construction.[146][91][147]

A signal post at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar metro station
Netaji metro station and the third rail electrification

Stations and electrification

Kolkata Metro has 48 stations, of which 20 are underground, 26 are elevated and 2 are at grade. Currently, Noapara is the largest metro station in the system and it will be the interchange station for Blue line and Yellow line. Howrah metro station is the deepest metro station in India.[40] The standard length of platforms in Kolkata Metro is 170 m. The metro stations of Gitanjali and Netaji have the shortest platforms of 163 m.[148] The average length between any two stations is 1.14 km (0.71 mi). The shortest distance is 0.597 km (0.371 mi) between Central and Chandni Chowk, and the longest distance is 2.38 km (1.48 mi) between Noapara and Baranagar. Since the Kolkata Metro has 750 V DC third rail electrification, electricity substations were built in Jatin Das Park, Central and Shyambazar. The tracks are ballastless with M1A track fittings.[108]

Signalling and telecommunication

Girish Park metro station

Trains operate on typical Indian Railways automatic signalling technology. A Route Relay Interlocking System has been provided at New Garia depot and Tollygunge depot and Electronic Interlocking has been provided at Noapara depot to facilitate the prompt withdrawal and injection of rakes and to perform shunting operations inside the car shed for maintenance purposes. The Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is provided throughout the Metro Railway. It is designed to prevent collisions caused by human (operator) error.[149] A Train Describer System and Auto Train Charting are used to help the operation control centre monitor and plan train movement on a real-time basis. An Integrated Power Supply System and Microprocessor based Data Logger System have also been provided.[150] An integrated system of STM-1 and STM-4 optical fibre cable is used for all telecommunication, signalling, SCADA and other circuits in Blue line. The service is provided by RailTel.[151]

An upgrade of the existing signalling system of the North-South corridor from Indian Railways Signalling to Communication Based Train Control was planned by Metro Railway, Kolkata, at 467 crore (equivalent to 550 crore or US$66 million in 2023) and the proposal was sent to Indian Railways, so that time interval between trains can be decreased to just 90 seconds from 5 minutes. In August 2019, Indian Railways gave a go-ahead to the proposal, and installation work is supposed to be complete within 2–3 years.[55]

Unlike the previous line, the Green line adopted the more advanced Communications Based Train Control system. It has cab signalling and a centralised automatic train control system consisting of automatic operation, protection and signalling modules. The signalling system is provided by Italy-based company Ansaldo STS. The other signalling equipment includes an integrated system with fibre optic cable, SCADA, radios, and a public-address system.[152][153][154][155]

Public address system

PA systems are present at all stations and their premises. A station master can make a necessary announcement to the passengers and staff, overriding the ongoing local announcement. Train PA systems are controlled by the motormen for announcements to passengers on the particular train.[156]

Issues

Since Kolkata Metro was constructed in the 1970s, there were some technical limitations. Due to the tunnel dimensions, and being under Indian Railways, Kolkata Metro opted for Indian metre gauge shell (2.7 m width) mounted upon 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge bogies. The rakes have to be custom built and require a special assembly line involving additional costs thus limiting the options for rake manufacturers for Blue line.[157] From its inception, the coaches were manufactured by ICF, which lacked the pre-requisite knowledge for manufactured non-air-conditioning rakes. The 3000 and 4000 series rakes were faulty and delivered without any trials. In addition, Indian Railways signalling is used instead of European signalling. All of these factors have led to snags, delays and accidents.[158][verification needed][159][verification needed]

Unlike Delhi Metro, Kolkata Metro is owned and operated by Indian Railways instead of an autonomous body, and it relies solely on Indian Railways for every decision, from funding to route realignment.[160][161]

Underground tunnels

In densely populated areas, no free areas are left in order to build elevated metro tracks and stations. Therefore, underground systems are made there. But construction of underground metro tunnel at the Bowbazar area has caused cracks in the house of many habitats there. Hence the metro authority had to evacuate the people, and the construction of metro railway there faced massive delay and slow development.[162]

See also

Notes

References

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