CHENNAI: The fully automated passenger movement facility at Chennai Metro Rail stations will ensure that nobody enters the station without a train ticket, said V Somasundaram, Chief General Manager (Construction), Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).
Speaking at a national conference on 'Recent Developments in Civil Engineering' at SRM University, Somasundaram said CMRL will launch its first train by 2015 and by 2013, the rail route from Koyambedu to St Thomas Mount would be completed. By 2014, the route from Little Mount to Airport will be completed and the rest by 2015, he added. The fully operational Metro Rail would also have unique safety aspects — automatic train protection, operation and control (ATP/ATO/ATC) — built into the system to prevent two trains from colliding against each other while travelling in opposite directions.
Speaking on the process of tunnelling, the CGM said that 11 German-made tunnel boring machines have been brought from China for the purpose. These machines, each weighing about 530 tonnes and costing roughly `60 crore, have been descended to a depth of 14 metres from the ground for the work. "It is the biggest challenge. We are facing hurdles under the ground like tunnelling under residential areas, mixed ground conditions, and narrow roads."
While tunnelling, the machine cuts the rock, drills the soil, rinses the track and finally lays as concrete wall. The machine also checks the pressure of the soil as well as the water. The entire function is computerised and the data is fed by operators above the ground. This single machine, he said, did hundred men activity minimising the cost of labour and the cost of supplementary machineries and finally, the time involved in it. The most difficult part to bore was at the Chennai Central Station since it covered both the corridors - Corridor 1 at 11 m from ground level and Corridor 2 at 28 m below the ground level.
Several years ago, the 'cut and cover' method was followed during the construction of Kolkata Metro Rail, which was totally a manual operation and took 25 years to finish. The tunnel boring machine has ensured that the project would be over in five years time.
Dr M Ponnavaiko, Vice Chancellor, SRM University, while reeling out advantages of green buildings in saving energy and resources, pointed out that the developers should prefer the building to be light but is still strong. Dr T P Ganesan, Pro Vice Chancellor (P&D), SRM University, spoke.