Track-laying for Phase 1 of the New Garia-Airport Metro corridor started earlier this week. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is trying to expedite the construction of Phase 1 involving the 5 km stretch between the terminal Kavi Subhas station and the Ruby crossing (Hemanta Mukherjee station). The agency wants to commission the section by end of 2021 or early 2022.
The start of operations on this truncated stretch on the New Garia-Airport route has already missed several deadlines, the latest one being December 2020. As the government relaxed the Covid-induced lockdown in May, RVNL resumed construction on the 32-km Metro project that runs along the EM Bypass and connects Kavi Subhas in the south with the airport in the northeast of the city.
The corridor from the city’s townships to the congested Ruby crossing will reduce vehicular traffic load to some extent, making travel to Salt Lake and airport easier. Work has now started at the Hemanta Mukherjee (Ruby) station.
Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, labourers were engaged to complete the construction of roofs, platform shades and foot overbridges of the five stations that dot the stretch. Work has also started to construct the 400m viaduct from Patuli till the terminal station at New Garia.
There are two smaller gaps along the viaduct — a 50m stretch at Abhishikta and another 70m at Baghajatin. Tracks are being laid from the Satyajit Ray station. The exercise, which involves construction of double-line tracks for the elevated viaduct from inside the New Garia station yard till the viaduct near VIP Bazar, will take 18 months.
In 2018, RVNL had invited tenders for “construction of double-line ballast-less tracks for elevated viaduct and embankment portion between Kavi Subhas (New Garia) to VIP Bazar (except the metro station)”. In ballast-less tracks, rails are rigidly fastened to a special type of concrete ties or sleepers that are pre-set in concrete.
“Ballast-less tracks offer high consistency in track geometry. The advantages of ballast-less tracks over traditional superstructure are its highly consistent track geometry, longer life span, and the reduced need for maintenance,” an engineer said. The ballast-less technology facilitates high-speed movement.