Skip to Content

The "Native" Kolkata Metro

up
260 users have liked.
EnvironmentInfrastructureMetro RailTraffic

The 20km long Calcutta Metro Railway completes its 25 years next month, unwept, unhonoured and unsung. It has never had a derailment, no fatality or no structural collapses. It carries 4.2 lakh passengers a day that is three times of the Delhi Metro which is more than thrice as long. It is faster too. Almost the entire length of Calcutta Metro lies below sea level and the construction was done entirely by Indian Railway Engineers without a single Foreign Consultant or Foreign Contractor. There are no unsightly massive Viaducts casting ugly shadows over the Historical Boulevards. Visitors traveling by car are not even aware that there are trains running below them under Chowringhee, Chittaranjan Avenue or Shambazar. The tunnels and underground stations are air-conditioned and the trains carry the cool air with them. The moving trains are not burdened with air-conditioning equipment which add 20% to the weight and 50% to the cost. These Spartan coaches were not airlifted from Germany amidst pomposity and fanfare. They were all built by the ICF/Perambur and hauled to Calcutta over Rails. They cost, at present day prices, a fourth of what Delhi Metro coaches cost. The tickets cost about the same as Buses and not thrice as much.

Let the rest of the Country think what they like, the Calcuttans are proud of their “Paatal Railway” which they use very intensively. For the much-maligned City, there is no graffiti, not a speck of trash on the Calcutta Metro.

The above are the excerpts from a letter from Sri M SESHAGIRI RAO, RETIRED MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN OF RITES, TO HINDU.

Did Bangalore do right in going by the DMRC model? At least, could we not have gone underground in the inner city and heritage areas? Are there lessons for cities poised to go the METRO way?

Muralidhar Rao

 

Comments

murali772's picture

Some comments in HU y-groups

up
118 users have liked.

LS: In case we are still capable of being swadeshi and not lured by the videshi. Or put differently, we are willing to think hard about securing locally viable long lasting solutions than jumping into the first plane flying out to get back the latest toy train, which is bound to jump tracks in the least.

SN: What an eyeopener  against the present ghastly, wasteful, environmentally, financially unviable, WASTE called Bangalore METRO!!
 

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

It took 16 years for Calcutta Metro to get done

up
98 users have liked.

Murali-sir,

a. With due respect to HU, it took 16 years for this to become operational and caused untold misery to people living alongside.  They used cut and cover for this.

b. Not sure about the passenger traffic details.  I think the Delhi Metro does 8.50 lakh per day.  Far less than projected traffic, but nowhere as low as 1.4 lakhs.

c. I frankly think they should fight the latest BBMP plan to make Bangalore a complete concrete jungle.  Metro is a proven mass transit system and can be the catalyst to make Bangalore more pedestrian friendly.

d. Swadeshi vs. videshi.  We have seen what a good job our swadeshi's in Bangalore do of flyovers, underpasses, etc.  We pay the same sort of money that we would pay a Malaysian or a Singapore co.  Why should we accept slipshoddy work in the guise of swadeshi?

e. BMRCL on its part should stop pretending to be only an execution company and see itself as a mass transit provider.  And therefore work with BBMP and BMTC to make sure that access to Metro is good.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

murali772's picture

Mr Sivasailam's response

up
130 users have liked.

Dear Mr Leo Saldhana

Thank you for the message. Interesting reading. Nostalgic memories too as memories mostly are!

A small footnote. It took 22years to build it!! The Calcutta Metro construction experience was never repeated even in India because technology has overtaken it. For all the indigenous materials it uses, it also uses the NGEF motors, yes, even today!

I was a resident of Calcutta when the metro construction started and have seen it being built for the first three years of its commencement before our family left the place. The disruption is caused will make present day construction project managers feel like angels! Please have the patience to go through the Stateman and the Amrita Bazar Patrika and Ananda Bazar Patrika and go down memory lane - the reports will be different!

All have the right to feel nostalgic about their creations and feel righteous about the glorious past and Mr Rao too is no exception and is entitled to live in the glory of the bygone days. The reality and truth of the matters is that when the project is finally commissioned, nobody
remembers the bad things. One example will suffice - The Taj Mahal. Who remembers that it took Delhi Metro seven and half years to be commissioned while we will be there in five or five and a half? We are still proud of the Delhi Metro which itself is a RITES creation since they prepared the DPR for it!!

As regards the operations record of Calcutta metro, it is good to emulate and better it. That will be Namma Metro's endeavour. That's how the systems are structured.

Have patience, good sense and a healthy appreciation for each others' work and we will all be better for that.

Best wishes, N Sivasailam, MD BMRCL
 

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Good response!!

up
116 users have liked.

Excellent response!! 

Frankly HU seems to have become dogmatic about this.  They can put a lot of pressure to make sure BMRCL keeps to the straight and narrow - plant back trees, provide cycle stands, provide good walkways to the stations.   Yet they only seem to have taken the " I will oppose anything about namma metro.  Don't confuse me with facts; my mind is already made up" position.

With 6 coach trains on @ 2 min headway we can transport 60000 people per hour in one direction.  Metros can run at 90s headway potentially giving us  80000 people in one direction at peak hour. 

In this day and age 8000 crores on a city's mass transit solution is not expensive. 

I for one am waiting for NM to start.  I will be one of the regular users given that I live 15 mins walk from Puttenahalli terminus.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

A clear case of sour grapes

up
137 users have liked.

It carries 4.2 lakh passengers a day that is three times of the Delhi Metro which is more than thrice as long. It is faster too.

This is factually incorrect. Delhi Metro did have a poor start, but passenger volumes have picked up substantially now. I am not sure how speed was measured - Metros are generally faster due to quick acceleration & deceleration than ordinary suburban trains.

The tunnels and underground stations are air-conditioned and the trains carry the cool air with them. The moving trains are not burdened with air-conditioning equipment which add 20% to the weight and 50% to the cost.

Though designed with air-conditioning, many of the UG stations are not functioning with ACs on. I am not sure how the cool air from stations is being transferred into the train coaches - unless they have blowers with ducting that pump the cool air from stations to train coaches when trains stop at the few UG stations that have AC running !

Further, the claim that tunnels are also air-conditioned is a complete farce ! What for ? Are people walking in those tunnels ? This does not fool anyone.

The tickets cost about the same as Buses and not thrice as much.

Delhi Metro coaches do not cost three times as much as buses, nor will Bangalore Metro cost as much.

 

This writeup appears to be highly exaggerated & is quite out of context with present day thinking. Why is Kolkata now planning to form a new company (along the same financial & technical approach as DMRC) to build & operate it's next phase of the Metro, if indeed the first line is superior to Delhi Metro ?

It appears that Mr Rao is claiming Kolkata Metro as better than other/s since competing cities are coming up with vastly superior systems - it's a case of sour grapes, nothing more.

s_yajaman's picture

Last time I used Calcutta Metro

up
138 users have liked.

Was in 1996.  Extremely clean stations, etc.

However, the trains being non air-con (windows open) were very very noisy.  The sound reflects off the tunnel walls and you can't carry on a conversation inside the train.

Also 420,000 passengers is not something to crow about.  A lot of time and money were spent on this.  The frequencies are still 8 mins during peak hour and 15 mins off-peak hours.  Not great.

Sorry - but this does not cut much ice.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

tsubba's picture

sixer

up
128 users have liked.

that googly was sent right out of park and got stuck in the turnstiles of the stadium station. :)

just having fun. lot of reading an catching up to do.

Praja.in comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!



about seo | blog