Chennai Metro tweeks station design to cut cost

From small stations where people will walk straight to the platforms to buy tickets to massive underground stations with four-level shopping arenas and spartan interiors, metro stations in North Chennai will have a new look and feel when the Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar line will be commissioned in six months.

Changes in design were made to the stations to cut cost and speed up construction without compromising on commuter comfort.

“We have made changes to make stations smaller and smarter, but the passenger area will be the same in terms of size,” a metro rail official said. “Track and electrical traction work will be completed by February. We will need four months for trials. We will be ready for a June or July opening and we expect 30% to 40% more passengers,” said a metro rail official.

The line will have six elevated and three underground stations. Changes were made to the stations because of protests by locals for various reasons. For instance, commuters will directly walk into the platforms of the elevated Gowri Ashram metro station built at a height of 17m as CMRL did away with concourse or ticketing level and raised the elevation of the corridor to ensure the line does not hinder the movement of a temple car during festivals. The average height of the elevated corridor is

13m while the height was increased only in Gowri Ashram station, making it the tallest station on the stretch.

Access to this station will be through a foot over-bridge with stairs and escalators sandwiched between a row of shops on the narrow and congested Thiruvottiyur High Road. At the Theagaraya College underground station it’s a quid pro quo. Metro rail officials said they would give the college access to the columns of the station to raise another structure. The station is being built under the college playground about 100m away from the main road with an 80m underground passage for commuter entry. The college students protested against CMRL for taking over their college land for construction of the station. “If the college plans to build a four-storey building above our station box, they could raise pillars from our columns and our station already has a foundation to hold the structure,” said an engineer at the site.

While construction on top of underground station boxes are otherwise not allowed, those in north Chennai have been built with a four-level shopping area which could be accessed both by commuters and shoppers.

The interiors of the stations will have a raw design with no false ceiling but black painted roofs holding the cables and airconditioning ducts in place. “We were able to make stations 25% smaller than those in phase-1 by incorporating changes in the equipment like procuring smaller vertical exhaust fans that would now be installed in the shaft jutting out to the road level inside of placing them in a separate room like it is in phase-1 station,” an official said.

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