Chennai Metro Rail’s much awaited north line, connecting Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar, is likely to be opened in the last week of January or the first week of February next.
At a recently held high-level meeting, officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited informed the State government that the stretch would be open for operations in two months.
Delay due to pandemic
The phase I extension should have been inaugurated by June but the construction schedule was delayed due to the pandemic and the deadline was pushed by several months.
The extension will provide better transport options for commuters residing in north Chennai. The signalling system for this project would likely be installed by mid-January. After that, the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) and his team will conduct an inspection.
According to officials, the CMRS will check the construction of the stations, facilities for emergency evacuation, the quality of construction and the working of passenger-related amenities like information display systems and automated fare collection gates.
“When the CMRS issues certification saying that the Washermenpet-Wimco Nagar stretch is fit for operations, the train services will begin,” an official said.
Sources said the existing frequency was likely to be maintained when the phase I extension is opened.
While some sources said the delay in the signalling system could be the reason for the project inauguration being deferred till the end of January, others said the pace of construction of stations also contributed to it.
“We are expecting a marginal increase in patronage after trains services commence in north Chennai,” another official said.