Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. kick started its first ever service yesterday as A Preethi, a 28-year engineering diploma holder and first woman pilot of CMRL, steered a fully packed, flower decked train out of the swanky Alandur metro station towards Koyambedu.
In its Phase I, CMRL will operate along two corridors – 1. Washermanpet to Chennai airport for a distance of about 23.1 km and 2. Chennai Central to St. Thomas Mount for a distance of 22 km. The estimated cost for the 45 km stretch stands at INR 14,600 crore. Both corridors have roughly equal lengths of elevated and underground tracks.
In the coming years, 32 stations would be added along the routes to cater to more commuters. Daily services have started at 6 am between Koyambedu and Alandur initially. The last train will depart the station at 9:40 pm. 9 trains will ply the route with 10 minute gaps. Trains will stop for 30 seconds at each station. Each train can carry up to 1,200 passengers and has a top speed of 80 km/h.
The minimum and maximum ticket fares are currently at INR 10 and 40 repspectively between Alandur and Koyambedu. Frequent users can get the metro cards with 10% discount and top them up regularly. Stations are also equipped with automatic vending machines.
With Chennai’s traffic congestion getting intense every day, Metro Rail is expected to take a sizable number of vehicles off the road during peak hours.