CHENNAI: Design and construction of underground stations and associated tunnels are going on at a rapid pace as plans are on to integrate upcoming Metro Rail stations with existing modes of public transportation.
Metro Rail sources said utility diversion work is in progress near the Gemini flyover, Teynampet and Chamiers Road underground stations. Sources also revealed that first stage of the traffic management plan has partly been implemented at the Gemini station.
Similarly, with regard to rolling stock, the tender which has been awarded to Alstom Transport SA & Alstom Projects India Ltd, sources said, the production of car body shells has commenced and First Article Inspection (FAI) performed in Brazil and has been approved. Sources added that Alstom will supply the Chennai Metro Rail project with 42 train sets, each comprising four cars.
The stainless steel trains will feature air-conditioned interiors and electrically operated automatic sliding doors, offering comfort and easy access to passengers. They will also be equipped with a regenerative braking system, ensuring significant energy saving. The cars will operate on 25 KV AC through an overhead catenary system at speeds of up to 80 km/h. Sources said that in addition to supplying the rolling stock, Alstom will also equip the new trains with a signaling system for Automatic Train Protection (ATP) and Automatic Train Operation (ATO).
N K Kumar, chief general manager of project finance Chennai Metro Rail Limited, said that plans are on to have a civil and systematic integration of existing modes of transportation with the Metro Rail stations with immediate influence of around 500 metres and a broader influence of around 2.5km to 5km.
"In the civil integration, we are planning to integrate the Metro Rail through physical structures such as pick-up and drop-off facilities, besides provision of parking buoys, footpath facilities and feeder services," he added.
Similarly, in the system integration, a common ticketing system for bus and rail, holds the key. Highlighting the success of the pick-up and drop-off facility at the Chennai Central station, he said this could be replicated at Metro Rail stations, as well.
Kumar also said that plans to run a feeder bus to the stations, feeder routes and bus stops are underway.
He added that the parking requirements should be assessed and a common parking solution should be framed with the involvement of all stakeholders.
He stressed the need for hawking zones so that stations could have an "happening experience". He also said that the Metro Rail project will have eight stations by next year and the underground stations by 2015.