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Chennai express

Chennai’s biggest infrastructure project, the metro rail line, is close to completion

RA Chandroo

Chennai’s most ambitious urban infrastructure project is one step closer to reality. Stretching over 45 km, the ₹14,600-crore metro rail will link north Chennai to the southern suburb of Meenambakkam and ease peak congestion. The Chennai Metro Rail will run services on two routes, the 23-km Washermanpet-Airport stretch and the 21-km Chennai Central-St Thomas Mount section. Operations will commence from mid-2014, when a portion linking Koyambedu to Alandur starts transporting commuters. The four-rake trains, which can reach speeds of up to 80 kmph, are capable of seating 176 commuters and accommodating 1,100 standees. French firm Alstom had bagged the contract for making the 42 trains, with some being manufactured at its Brazil facility and the rest at its Andhra Pradesh plant. While the Centre and state government have contributed 15% each for the metro, Japan is funding the rest of the project under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).