Kerala CM to launch Kochi Metro extension on October 3, 2017

Kochi: The number of trains operating for the Kochi metro will go up from six to nine as the system of mass rapid transport is extended from Palarivattom to Maharaja’s College Ground on October 3.

The fare for the 18-km-long Aluva-Ground stretch will be ₹50. “The frequency of services has not been decided,” said Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) sources.

Two trains will be kept as spare ones and might be operated during weekends and public holidays. Another pair of trains has arrived at the metro yard from Alstom’s coach manufacturing unit in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.

KMRL managing director Elias George said October 3 was fixed as the tentative date to launch the 5-km-long extension. “The Chief Minister has confirmed that he will inaugurate the extension. Union Minister of State for Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri has been invited to preside over a function.”

Almost all works of the five stations on the stretch are over. The interiors can be done even after the metro is extended to Maharaja’s College Ground.

The stations in the corridor are located at International Stadium, Kaloor, Lissie Junction, M.G. Road (near Chennai Silks) and Maharaja’s College Ground. “Integrated trials in the corridor are over and the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety will inspect the stretch on September 21 and 22. The green signal to commence service is expected in another few days.”

“The launch has been scheduled for October 3 since Kochi is set to host FIFA Under-17 World Cup matches from October 7 to October 22 and a whole lot of people will arrive in the city prior to this,” said Mr. George.

Civil works on the metro’s 7-km-long Maharaja’s College Ground-Pettah corridor is expected to be over by June 2019.

On the Centre sending back a detailed project report submitted by KMRL for the metro’s Kakkanad extension, the metro agency’s spokesperson ruled out uncertainty about it.

“The Centre wants us to probe alternative modes of mass rapid transit such as tramway, bus rapid transit corridor etc., on the stretch. French agency Codatu had studied these systems as well. The metro needs less than 2 metre width of any road for constructing pillars. But a wider road is needed to exclusively dedicate space for other modes of transit. We already have traffic survey data of the corridor and will send a revised proposal.”

This might take a couple of months. The process to widen the road can begin even if there is delay in obtaining the Centre’s sanction for the extension.

The delayed services of Kochi metro will continue on September 18 as the testing of train and new software in the combined Reach 1 and Reach 1-A sections. The services will only start at 2 p.m. on September 18, said a press release here.

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