The Kolkata Metro is a rapid transit system serving Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. As of July 2020, it has two operational lines, a 27.22 km (16.91 mi) line from Noapara to Kavi Subhash and a 7.205 km (4.477 mi)[3] line from Salt Lake Sector V to Phoolbagan, for a total of 34.425 km (21.391 mi). Four other lines are in various phases of construction. The system has a mix of underground, at-grade and elevated stations using both broad-gauge and standard-gauge tracks. Trains operate between 05:45 and 21:55 IST (08:00 to 20:00 due to COVID-19 pandemic) and the fares range from ₹5 to ₹30 (US$0.07 to US$0.40).

The Kolkata Metro is the first planned and operational rapid transit system in India. It was initially planned in the 1920s, but construction started in 1970s. The first underground stretch, from Bhawanipore (now Netaji Bhawan) to Esplanade, opened in 1984. Line 2, or the East–West Corridor, opened in 2020. It is the fifth-longest operational metro network in India after the Delhi Metro, Hyderabad Metro, Chennai Metro and Namma 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 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.[4] 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 4.28 crore (US$600,000) 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 (Rs. 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. 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.[5][4][6]

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Planning

The then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy, reconceived the idea of an underground railway for Kolkata in the early 1949–1950. A survey was done by a team of French experts, but nothing concrete came of this. Efforts to solve problem traffic 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.[7] However, only three were selected for construction. These were:[8][9]

  1. Dum DumTollygunge (Line 1. Presently operates from Noapara 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.[10]

Construction

Shyambazar-Belgachhia Section (Shield tunneling using compressed air and airlocks) using Hungarian expertise during its construction in 1980s.[11]

Since it was India's first metro[11] 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.[9][12]

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.[13] 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.[9][14] In 1977, an injunction for the allocation of new funding was passed by the newly elected Jyoti Basu government.[15]

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).[7] The first metro was driven by Tapan Kumar Nath and Sanjoy Sil. 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.[14] 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.[13][16][17]

Evolution of Kolkata Metro

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.[18]

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 31 billion or US$440 million in 2019).[19] 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. The latest extension opened was the 2.59 km (1.61 mi) stretch from Dum Dum to Noapara on 10 July 2013.[9][20][14]

East–West metro

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 110 billion or US$1.5 billion in 2019) project, sanctioned in 2008 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The foundation stone was laid on 22 February 2009 and construction started in March 2009.[21] 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.[22]

Route realignment

Under construction Howrah metro station, the deepest metro station in India[23]
East West Metro Tunnel under the Hooghly River is the first underwater metro tunnel in India.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee proposed the politically controversial realignment of the East-West Corridor from Central to Esplanade in 2012, stating that the original plan would affect 250 shop-owners and tenants in the Lalbazar and Bowbazar area. The residents and traders of those areas started protests. KMRC and JICA requested the Government of West Bengal to stick to the original plan to avoid impacting the entire project. This was the first time in the country that a metro corridor alignment was being changed after preparation of DPR and sanction of the project. Despite opposition from the official agencies, the Government of West Bengal forcefully approved the route realignment in 2013. This changed the location of Mahakaran metro station and increased the length of the corridor by 2 km (1.2 mi). Later, KMRC said that the realignment would increase ridership and revenue by at least 30 percent.[24][25][26]

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 tunneling process by one and a half months.[27][28][29] 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 was checked using grouting.[30][31][32]

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:[33]

  1. Salt LakeHowrah Maidan (Line 2 or East–West Metro Corridor)
  2. JokaB.B.D. Bagh (Line 3. Later truncated till Esplanade)
  3. Noapara–Barasat (Line 4, via airport)
  4. BaranagarBarrackpore (Line 5)
  5. New Garia – Dum Dum Airport (Line 6)
  6. Extension of Line 1 from Dum Dum to Dakshineswar via Noapara

Major modifications

A new four-platform interchange station was constructed at Noapara. This will act as an interchange station between Line 1 and Line 4. For the time being, only two platforms are in use, but once Line 4 is running, all four platforms will be operational.[20][34] The existing Esplanade metro station is being upgraded and a subway is being constructed to the new metro station to provide an interchange among Line 1, Line 2 and Line 3.[35][36] 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.[37]

Network

Operational

Line First run Last extension Stations Length (km) Orientation Operating terminals Rolling stock Track gauge (mm) Power Avg. frequency (min)
Line 1 24 October 1984[38] 10 July 2013 24 27.22 North–South Noapara DumDum Kavi Subhash ICF 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) 750 V DC 10
Line 2 13 February 2020[39] 4 October 2020 7 7.205[3] East–West Salt Lake Sector-V Phoolbagan BEML 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)[40] 750 V DC 20
Total 31 34.425

Under construction/planned

Line name Expected first run Stations Length
(km)
Orientation Terminals Rolling stock Track gauge Power Executing agency Notes
Line 3 2021 (JokaMajerhat)[41] 14 16.215[42] North–South Diamond Park Esplanade TBD 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) 750 V DC using third rail Rail Vikas Nigam Limited also called Joka metro
Line 4 2021 (NoaparaJessore Road)[41] 10 16.876[42] North–South & East–West Noapara Barasat TBD Metro Railway, Kolkata
Line 5 11 12.40[42] North–South Baranagar Barrackpore TBD Rail Vikas Nigam Limited also called Barrackpore metro
Line 6 2021 (Kavi SubhashHemanta Mukherjee)[41] 24 29.87[42] North–South Kavi Subhash Biman Bandar TBD Rail Vikas Nigam Limited[43] also called Airport metro
Total 94 (102 If interchanges counted multiple times) 128.826
Map of planned network

Lines

North–South metro (Line 1)

Line 1, or the North–South metro corridor, has a total length of 27 kilometres (17 mi) serving 24 stations, of which 15 are underground, 9 are elevated and 2 at-grade. It uses the five foot six inch (1.67 m) 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 Line 1 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. The latest extension constructed was the 2.59 km (1.61 mi) elevated corridor from Dum Dum to Noapara in 2013.[14][44][45]

A northward extension from Dum Dum to Dakshineshwar (6.20 km [3.85 mi]) was sanctioned and included in the 2010–2011 budget at a cost of 227.53 crore (equivalent to 411 crore or US$58 million in 2019). The commercial operations for Dum Dum to Noapara (2.09 km [1.30 mi]) was commissioned in March 2013, and construction from Noapara to Dakshineshwar with an interchange with Line 5 at Baranagar (2.38 km [1.48 mi]) is being executed by RVNL. This section is expected to open in November 2020[46] with a projected ridership of 55,000 by 2030.[47]

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 (US$65 million), 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 complete within 2–3 years.[48]

East–West metro (Line 2)

East–West metro 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 Line 1 at Central was re-aligned to Esplanade (interchange with Line 1 and Line 3). 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.[49] 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 100 billion or US$1.4 billion in 2019).[50][51]

Between Mahakaran and Howrah Station, the metro will run under the Hooghly River – the first underwater metro in India. Transfer stations with railways will be 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 780 crore or US$110 million in 2019) in 2016.[52] From VIP Road/Teghoria (Haldiram), passengers can take the Line 6 metro (VIP Road Station) to Biman Bandar.[42]

The line from Salt Lake Sector V to Salt Lake Stadium was inaugurated on 13 February 2020 by Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal after 11 years of construction.[53][54] 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 Line 1 was the last to open in 1995.[55][56]

Joka–Esplanade metro (Line 3)

Previously, the stretch from Thakurpukur to Majerhat was surveyed as a branch line of the circular railway, and a metro line from Majerhat to Dakshineshwar via Sealdah (interchange with Line 2) was planned.[8] 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 16.72 km (10.39 mi) at an anticipated cost of 2,619.02 crore (equivalent to 47 billion or US$660 million in 2019). 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 Line 1 at Esplanade. The proposed Esplanade station will not be the same as that of Line 1 but a different station which will also serve Line 2. The line will have a new depot in Joka. Due to land acquisition problems, construction has been delayed several times since 2017.[57][58] The work resumed in several phases and new bids were invited by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) in April 2020.[59][60][61] It is India's first metro line to run on indigenous head heardened rails, manufactured by Jindal Steel & Power.[62][63]

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 447 crore or US$63 million in 2019). The work is being executed by RVNL.[64][33][42]

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. After a series of discussions and consultations with the Ministry of Defence and Government of West Bengal, material modification was done and the station was shifted around 1 km (0.62 mi) northward, near the Alipore Bodyguard Lines. It will be the last elevated station of the corridor.[65][66][67]

Noapara–Barasat 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.[42] The cost of the project is 184.83 crore (equivalent to 334 crore or US$47 million in 2019). An eastward extension from Biman Bandar to Barasat over 10.627 km (6.603 mi)[42] was also sanctioned and included in the 2010–2011 budget. The cost of the project is 2,397.72 crore (equivalent to 40 billion or US$560 million in 2019). The work on this project from Noapara to Barasat is being executed by Metro Railway, Kolkata.[68] Due to multiple delays and hurdles, the total cost of the project had grown to 4,829.57 crore (equivalent to 52 billion or US$730 million in 2019).[69]

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 Biman Bandar metro station were planned at-grade and underground, respectively. This stretch will continue underground till New Barrackpore,[70] Another station was proposed at Michael Nagar.[69]

Baranagar–Barrackpore metro (Line 5)

The Baranagar–Barrackpore Line is the northward extension from Baranagar to Barrackpore (12.40 km (7.71 mi)). It was sanctioned at a cost of 2,069.6 crore (equivalent to 37 billion or US$520 million in 2019) 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 2020, no physical construction has commenced, and the project has been stalled as metro construction would affect the water pipelines along Barrackpore Trunk Road.[71] To avoid this, another proposal was made to continue this line through the Kalyani Expressway. Eleven metro stations were planned on this route.[33]

Kavi Subhash–Biman Bandar metro (Line 6)

A connection between New Garia and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (29.87 km [18.56 mi])[42] 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 Mamata Banerjee on 7 February 2011 with a project deadline of six years.[72] The link between Kavi Subhash and Biman Bandar, to be set up at a cost of Rs 4 billion, will have 24 stations with the terminal airport station being an underground one. The work is executed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.[43] Biman Bandar metro station will also have a stabling yard, and will be the largest underground facility in the country.[73] This line will have interchanges at Kavi Subhash (with Line 1); Salt Lake Sector V (with Line 2) and Teghoria/VIP Road (again with Line 2).[33][42] In July 2020, bids were invited by RVNL to complete the sections left due to various reasons and hurdles.[74][75]

Initially, the Biman Bandar metro station was planned to be elevated. However, the AAI objected that the elevated stretch up to Biman Bandar 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. This will be the only underground station in the whole corridor.[76][70]

Further expansions

In 2012, RITES, surveyed 16 new routes for connecting the suburban areas to the city. The key routes were:[77]

  1. Kavi Subhash to Baruipur via EM Bypass
  2. Howrah MaidanShalimarSantragachi via Kona Expressway and Foreshore Road[78][79]
  3. Bally Halt to Chandannagar
  4. Joka to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar via Thakurpukur
  5. Barrackpore to Kalyani via Kalyani Expressway
  6. Joka to Diamond Harbour along Diamond Harbour Road
  7. Madhyamgram to Barrackpore via Sodepur Road and Kalyani Expressway
  8. Barasat to Barrackpore via State Highway 2
  9. Basirhat to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, Kavi Subhash via Haroa and Bhangar
  10. Majherhat to Ruby via Kalighat and Ballygunge
  11. Santragachi to Dhulagarh
  12. Howrah Maidan to Srirampore via Dankuni, National Highway 2
  13. Branch line of Line 2 from Karunamoyee to Kolkata station
  14. Howrah Maidan to Dankuni via Ichapur Road and Benaras Road
  15. Howrah Maidan to Belur

Owners and operators

Since the formation of the Metropolitan Transport Project (MTP) in 1969, Kolkata Metro has always been under 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 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 Line 2 was handed over to Metro Railway, Kolkata.[22][80][81]

Owner Operator
Metro Railway, Kolkata Kolkata Metro Logo.svg Line 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Line 1, 2
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation KMRC Logo.jpg Line 2  –

Services

Operations

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

The system timings were changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as of September 2020, it operates between 08:00 and 20:00 IST.[82] Trains operate at an average speed of 55–60 km/h (34.18–37.28 mph) and stop for about 10 to 20 seconds at each station, depending on the crowd.[83] 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.[84][85] The coaches have line route-maps and speakers and displays, which provide details of upcoming stations in the three languages.[86][87][88] Navigation information is available on Google Maps.[89] 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.[90]

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.[91]

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.[92][93][94]

Fare

The fare is based on the pre-determined distance-slabs. Kolkata Metro has the lowest starting fare in the country of Rs. 5.

Line 1: The following is the revised zones and fare for single journey tokens and Smart Cards as of 5 December 2019.[95]

Zone Distance (km) Fare (₹)
I 0–2 5.00
II 2–5 10.00
III 5–10 15.00
IV 10–20 20.00
V 20–30 25.00

Line 2: The following is the zones and fare for single journey tokens and Smart Cards as of 15 February 2019.[95]

Zone Distance (km) Fare (₹)
I 0–2 5.00
II 2–5 10.00
III 5–10 20.00
IV 10–20 30.00

Tokens

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.[96][97]

Old magnetic strip ticket

Smart Card

After introducing RFID tokens, Kolkata metro introduced a Smart Card service provided by CRIS.[96] 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 Rs. 60. The card is common for both Line 1 and 2.[98][99][100] Online smart card recharge facility was launched on 1 July 2020.[101][102]

General Smart Card (for Line 1)

Recharge Value of

the Smart Card (₹)

Ride Value (₹)
100 110
200 220
300 330
500 550
1000 1100

Store Value Card (for Line 2)

Recharge Value of

the Smart Card (₹)

Ride Value (₹)
100 110
200 220
300 330
500 550
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, valid for a day, and ₹550, valid for three days. A security deposit of ₹60 is also charged.[99]

Durga Puja special services

The metro railway runs special night-long services during Durga Puja (Mahasaptami to Mahanavami) 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.[103][104][105]

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.[106][107] Smoking is strictly prohibited in the metro premises. All stations in the East–West Corridor have half-height and full-height platform screen doors for elevated and underground stations, respectively.[22]

Other facilities

All stations have televisions which telecast news and songs.[108] 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.[109][110]

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.[111] 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.[112]

Ridership

Kolkata Metro is the busiest metro system in India based on passengers carried per service. Each service carries an average of 2,465 people, while Delhi carries 1,111. Kolkata Metro carries around 700,000 people daily.[113] 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.[114][45]

The newly inaugurated Line 2 sees around 10,000 people daily.[115]

Average daily ridership[116][117][118][119][120]
Year Ridership
1985–86
7,600
1995–96
118,600
2001–02
166,000
2002–03
211,926
2003–04
248,090
2004–05
267,293
2005–06
295,542
2006–07
314,666
2009–10
375,268
2010–11
435,792
2013–14
520,000
2018–19
660,000
2020[1]
633,000

Notes: ^ Data till February 2020.

Infrastructure

Rolling stock

Second rake of Kolkata Metro Line 2

The rolling stock of Line 1 uses Indian gauge, a broad gauge track manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai (ICF), and the electrical components are manufactured by NGEF, Bangalore. 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.[121]

Depots and yards

There are four operational depots. The Noapara, Tollygunge and New Garia depots serve the North–South corridor, while the Central Park depot serves the East–West Corridor.[122][123][124] A depot at Joka for Line 3 and a yard at Airport for Line 4 are under construction.[125][76][126]

Netaji metro station and the third rail electrification

Stations and electrification

Kolkata Metro has 30 stations, of which 21 are underground, 7 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 Line 1 and Line 4. The under-construction Howrah metro station is the deepest metro station in India.[35] 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.[127] 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 2.15 km (1.34 mi) between Dum Dum and Belgachia. 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.[91]

Signalling and telecommunication

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.[128] 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.[129] An integrated system of STM-1 and STM-4 optical fibre cable is used for all telecommunication, signalling, SCADA and other circuits in Line 1. The service is provided by RailTel.[130]

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 (US$65 million) 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.[48]

Unlike the previous line, the East–West Corridor 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.[131][132][133][134]

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.[135]

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 Kolkata Metro Line 1.[136] 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 lead to snags, delays and accidents.[137][138][139]

Unlike Delhi Metro, Kolkata Metro is owned and operated by Indian Railways instead of an autonomous body, and it relies on Indian Railways for every decision.[25] The founder of Delhi Metro, E. Sreedharan, said Indian Railways are not experts at urban transport and misplanned the Kolkata Metro from the beginning, and he felt that a private company should run the metro and could bring it up to standard in five years.[140]

See also

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External links