India’s first underwater metro was inaugurated today at the city of joy, Kolkata by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Also, this marked the debut of the second metro line in the city.
The metro line runs between Salt Lake Sector V and Howrah, which is known as the East-West Corridor in Kolkata.
The underground metro stretches from Phoolbagan station up to Howrah Maidan and has a total of six stations in between, including Phoobagan, Sealdah, Esplanade, Mahakaran, Howrah, and Howrah Maidan. It spans a total of around 16 km, with a part of it (around 10 km), running underwater in River Hooghly.
About the underwater stretch
The underwater stretch for train comprises of twin tunnels of 1.4 metres made with wide concrete rings that have been further fitted with hydrophilic gaskets to prevent water from entering the tunnels.
It is one of the first kind initiative in India, the metro train is said to be at par with the likes of Eurostar that connects London and Paris. A staggering ₹8,500 million is said to be the cost of this pathbreaking metro project.
As per the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), this is among the many “firsts” in the country with regards to railway development.
The project was set to be completed in June 2021, however, it suffered a setback last year when tunnelling work for the metro caused an aquifer to burst, leading to building collapses and crumbling of infrastructure in Kolkata’s Bowbazar area.
Work on the project was stalled after the incident and was allowed to continue by Calcutta High Court on 11 February.
The metro is estimated to ply around one million passengers daily and will curtail the travel time between Salt Lake to Howrah from an hour to less than 30 minutes.