Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) is likely to get funding assistance from the Asian Development Bank for its ₹2,580 crore proposal to procure 6-coach trains to operate on its network.

The Tamil Nadu government has sent the proposal to the Centre and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has recommended the proposal to the Department of Economic Finance (DEA) of the Union Ministry of Finance. After the completion of consultation with Niti Aayog, the proposal is expected to be forwarded to by DEA to ADB for funding.

CMRL has planned to operate 6-coach trains instead of the current 4-coach trains on its upcoming network as it seeks to support the expected demand and ridership on the metro network in the city in the future. It is planning to procure 28 trains of 6 cars each and the cost of the same is estimated at ₹2580 crore, including rolling stock cost, depot augmentation, signalling, modifications in stations etc.

“ICB (international competitive bidding) for rolling stock will be floated as per ADB norms,” M A Siddique, Managing Director of CMRL told businessline.

After the finalisation of funds, it is likely to take two years to procure the 6-coach trains. These trains could be procured locally as there are a few companies in the country that manufacture these trains.

Passenger flow

Siddique said the Chennai metro network has been witnessing good growth in passenger flow and it is now attracting all sections of people.

“In pre-Covid time, only white collar people, mostly people working in big corporates and IT firms, used to travel on Chennai metro. In the post-Covid period, we reduced the tariff by 20 per cent and it has had a positive impact. While passenger traffic continues to surge, people of all hues are now travelling. Labour class is also now travelling on the metro,” he added.

CMRL expects the passenger flow to increase from 3 lakh a month in FY23 to 5 lakh a month in the next 1-2 years.

He said the 116-km Phase II expansion of the Chennai metro was moving fast after some delays due to issues relating to land acquisitions. Thanks to the government’s liberal land compensation policy, land issues were solved and the project was brought back on track.

“While civil works will be completed by next year, it will take more than a year to test trains. We hope to commission the first line by December 2025, he added.