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KOLKATA
 West Bengal . India

Kolkata Metro Railway  © UrbanRail.NetKolkata Tram

 METRO

With over 11 million inhabitants, Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) is one of the biggest cities in Asia. It lies in the state of West Bengal, in the east of India.

Tollygunge station © Calcutta Metro Railway In 1971, a Master Plan was designed which included 5 rapid transit lines, of which the north-south route was considered the most important one. Construction (mainly cut-and-cover) began in 1973 and the first section opened for public service in 1984 between Esplanade - Bhowanipur (3.4 km). This was the first subway line in India. In 1995, the Kolkata Metro Railway reached a total length of 16.5 km and remained unchanged for the next 14 years. Along the route there were 17 stations (15 underground, 1 elevated and 1 on surface), with 160 m long platforms designed for 8-car-trains. Power supply is via third rail at 750 V dc. Eventually in 2009, the first 5.9 km section of a long-planned elevated southern extension was brought into service from the former southern terminus Tollygunge, now renamed Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, to Nazrul (planned as Garia Bazar).

 

 History

24 Oct 1984: Esplanade - Bhowanipur (now Netaji Bhaban) (3.4 km)
12 Nov 1984: Dum Dum - Belgachhia (2.15 km - shuttle operating until 26 Oct 1992)
29 Apr 1986: Bhowanipur (now Netaji Bhaban) - Tollygunge (now Mahanayak Uttam Kumar) (4.25 km)
13 Aug 1994: Dum Dum - Shyambazar (3.8 km)
02 Oct 1994: Esplanade - Chandni Chowk (0.7 km)
19 Feb 1995: Shyambazar - Girish Park (1.9 km) and Chandni Chowk - Central (0.6 km)
27 Sept 1995: Central - Girish Park (1.8 km)
23 Aug 2009: Mahanayak Uttam Kumar (ex Tollygunge) - Kavi Nazrul (5.9 km)
07 Oct 2010: Kavi Nazrul - Kavi Subhash (3 km)
10 July 2013: Dum Dum - Noapara (2.2 km)

 Projects

A northern Line 1 extension is further under construction to Dakshineshwar with one intermediate station (4.3 km).

Construction of Line 2 started in 2009. It will run from Salt Lake (Bidhannagar) Sector 5 (in east) to Howrah Railway Station (in west). Unlike line 1, which is operated by Indian Railways, line 2 will be operated by a new company - Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC). Trains will be air conditioned, and underground stations would have platform screen doors. It will use standard gauge, like Kolkata tram, but unlike line 1, which uses broad gauge. Proposed stations are - Salt Lake Sector 5, Karunamayi Housing Estate, Bikash Bhaban, Salt Lake City Center, Bengal Chemical Office, Football Stadium, Phool Bagan, Sealdah Railway Station, Central (crossing with line 1), Mahakaran, Howrah Railway Station and Howrah Maidan. Between Mahakaran and Howrah Railway Station, the metro will run under the Hoogly River. It will run elevated along the eastern section through Salt Lake City.

Several other lines are planned and/or even under construction, click here for details.

 Photos

Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro Kolkata

Metro Kolkata map

Craig Moore reports from Kolkata in Feb 2016:

Kolkata might not have the order and power of Delhi, nor the dynamism, wealth and vibrancy of Mumbai, but it is, I feel, the most charismatic of the big Indian cities. As the first city on the sub-continent to have a Metro, the city is proud of its urban rail offer, although this is not stylish nor comprehensive. The Metro Railway is a 28.1km single line (1676 mm gauge/third rail power) which runs from Noapara in the north to Kavi Subhash in the southeast. Of the 24 stations, 15 are underground (18.2km is underground) with the remainder of the line on elevated structures or at grade.

The stations in the centre are very closely spaced down the main Chowringhee Road (JN Road). Despite this, the station entrances are not conspicuous. This is mainly because they don’t have totems or a distinctive colour scheme and they also form part of the intensive, messy and hectic street life with hawkers, impromptu markets and general activity. Once in the station, you notice how shallow this cut-and-cover system is. A short set of stairs brings you to the ticket hall with ticket office, ticket machines and ticket barriers. These allow you to scan the RFID tokens and provide access to another set of short stairs leading to the platform. The platforms are dated but smart with tiled pillars, murals, seating areas and basic but effective directional signage. There are next-train indicators at the station entrances and on the platforms. Conversely, the elevated stations are quite spacious and bright, although they have aged quickly. The underground stations have island platforms except Park Station, whilst the elevated/grade stations have side platforms.

The age of the Metro shows. This is not a clean, bright, air-conditioned journey. There are two stock types and I only got a chance to ride the older ICF stock. These are 8-car through-trains (first carriage is women only), with the gaps in the carriages quite open and possibly lethal. The interior has metal side seating and is dirty, and rusting, and the ride is jerky and slow at 54 mins for the entire line. Trains have a crude strip map above exit doors and there are ‘next station’ audio announcements in Bengali, Hindi and English. Service levels are quite poor with a 0700 start time and a finish at approx. 2200. Before 0900 services are at a 10min frequency but lessen to 6 min during the day. On Sundays, services don’t start until 1000. The trains are very busy indeed and it seems that the provision does not meet the demand or match the scale of the city. Fares are distance-based and range from 5 to 15 Rupee (€0.07 - €0.20).

The Metro in Kolkata is a very different experience from the other systems within India. It has not aged well and the slow, hot, cramped ride on uncomfortable stock is not too pleasant. However, this is a truer reflection of India than the gleaming coolness of the newer systems. India has clearly come a long way in metro development, and this should be applauded, but the Kolkata Metro, like the city, is one to treasure.

Kolkata Metro Kolkata Metro

 Links

Metro Railway Kolkata (Official Site)

KMRC (Line 2 - Official Site)


Kolkata Metro at Wikipedia

Kolkata Metro Projects (TheMetroRailGuy)

Calcutta Tramways

Sridhar Narayanan's Kolkata Railway Map

Kolkata Tram Kolkata Tram at UrbanRail.Net

 

 

MAIL

2007 © Robert Schwandl (UrbanRail.Net)

Local map, clearly based on UrbanRail.Net's map (Photo C. Moore, 2016):

kolkata metro map