By Rajesh Saha: In 1984, Kolkata created history by being the first city in the country where the Metro services were started. Thirty nine years later, the City of Joy created history again as the Kolkata Metro undertook its first maiden under-river journey through a tunnel under the Hooghly river from Mahakaran to Howrah.
Metro Rail’s general manager P Uday Kumar Reddy, along with other senior officials of the Metro Rail and the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited, travelled from Mahakaran to Howrah Maidan station on rake no-613, which crossed Hooghly river around 11:55am on Wednesday. Uday Kumar offered a puja once the rake successfully reached Howrah station.
Terming it as a historic event, the general manager of the Metro Rail said trial runs on the 4.8km section from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade will be conducted for seven months, after which the Metro service on this route will be made available to the public.
Uday Kumar thanked all the staff and engineers of KMRCL under whose efforts and supervision the engineering marvel has been achieved.
Kausik Mitra, CPRO of Metro Rail, said, “This is a historic moment for Metro Railway as after overcoming many hurdles, we have succeeded in running rakes beneath the Hooghly river. This is a revolutionary step in providing a modern transport system to the people of Kolkata and suburbs. This is indeed a special new year gift from the Indian Railways to the people of Bengal.”
Commercial services on this stretch are expected to begin this year. Once this stretch is opened to the public, Howrah will be the deepest Metro station (33-meter below surface) of the country. The Metro is expected to cover the 520 metre-stretch under the river Hooghly in 45 seconds.
Once the trial run is complete, Metro service will be opened to the public from Howrah Maidan station to Saltlake Sector V on a regular basis. This in turn will help reduce traffic congestion and people can reach their desired destination in no time using the Metro service.