Vaibhav Sharma
by on February 4, 2020
Indian Railways being the fourth largest railway network in the world, keeping on making enhancements in their system to become number one. Whether it is the announcement of building a bullet train five years ago or making every metropolitan city connected with metro lines, there are many train projects people are looking forward to in upcoming years. Likewise, one of the most awaited projects that are one of its kind metro lines in the country has come to its near completion. The train project in Kolkata is an underwater metro line that stretches around 16.6 km connecting some of the busiest stations there, including Howrah and Mahakarn Railway stations. The work is almost complete on the underwater tunnel in Kolkata, and the railway services will commence super soon. Besides, according to sources, the first operational metro line will be the East-West metro that is in a 5 Km stretch connecting Salt Lake and Howrah. The underwater railway project is one of the most talked-about railway projects in the world and been in headlines under today's national news in English since the beginning of the project. The project commenced in 2009, and it took a decade to come to its near completion state.

Brief Details about the Underwater Metro Project
The metro line is expected to ferry approx. 9, 00,000 passengers a day and will roughly take a minute to cross 520m underwater tunnel. The estimated cost of this project is about to 86 billion for 16.6 km. It is estimated the around 40% of the total transport demand of the city will be tackled by these two metro lines connecting some of the busiest stations in Kolkata. Besides, it will be a relief for environmental pollution, and the city will be more decongested. Building the tunnel was a very challenging task as not even a single drop of water should enter it. Restraining the entrance of water was a bit daunting while constructing the tunnel as one single mistake would ruin the whole purpose of the railway lines. The train project is a blessing for the people living in this overcrowded city and had to travel by bus to reach at work every day.

Reasons for Delay in Completion
The projects in past decades faced many difficulties, which contributed to the delay time, including the relocation of slums, land acquisition, and route alignment problems. It was estimated to be operational by the end of 2012 but then got delayed to the next estimation to 2015. With all this estimation, five years have been passed, and now it is near its completion period.

Phases of Tunnel Construction
The construction of tunnels was divided into two phases. Phase 1 tunnel is between stadium and Phoolbagan, which stretches around 5490 meters and is inaugurated after a few months of its completion. This phase is under trails as the construction is done from the contractor's end, and now the engineers are confirming it. The phase 2 tunnel started from Howrah Maidan side and tunneling structure completed in this area the fastest like in only 36 days. During the construction, there were concerns about the tunneling as it would cross 100 meters underneath a heritage building which is old and dilapidated. The whole phase 2 tunneling from Mahakaran to Esplanade section was completed on 23rd March 2017. This phase construction was delayed due to the detection of steel beams that were left during the construction of the first Kolkata metro line. Because of this, it was in breaking news headlines under today's national news in English. Every tunnel has been provided with four layers of protection that shield the tunnel and restrain the water of Hubli River from penetrating the joints.

For now, only the phase 1 metro line that connects Salt Lake Sector-5 to Salt Lake Stadium will soon be operational within a year. The entire project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2021. After its completion, it will be one of its kind metro lines in the country that runs underwater and carries approx. 1 Million passengers in a day. Connecting one of the busiest stations of Kolkata, Howrah, and Mahakarn, this project will ease up the life of people over here.
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