Feasibility studies are to be undertaken for what could become India’s first modern light rail system, in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. ‘Metrolite’ (see TAUT 979) elevated or at-grade routes would reportedly cost 20%-50% of the amount required for expansion of the city’s metro.
The first stretch under consideration is a south to south-eastern route between Tambaram and Velachery in the city formerly known as Madras. The study, being undertaken by Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) and the Tamil Nadu Government, will recommend possible alignments, as well as providing estimated costings.
CMRL already operates the city’s elevated metro, covering two lines and 45km (28 miles).
A further 9.1km (5.6 miles) is under construction on Phase 1 of the system, due to open in early 2020. Planning for a second phase envisages a new driverless system – with driver-operated trains remaining in place on Phase 1.