The Dhaka Metro Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a new metro rail system being developed by the Dhaka Mass Transit Company (DMTC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The public transport system will aid in the economic and social development of the greater Dhaka area, which is facing traffic congestion and pollution issues.

A total of five lines, MRT Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, have been proposed for the project. MRT Line-6 is the first line to be approved under the project and is estimated to cost $2.82bn.

Construction of the A trial operation of the route extending to Agargaon is expected to be conducted towards the end of 2019.

Feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments for the MRT Lines 1 and 5 have been completed.

Dhaka Metro development history

The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) created a 20-year strategic transport plan (STP) in 2005 to transform and develop a more integrated transit system for the rapidly growing capital.

The Dhaka Metro MRT system was conceived subsequently to provide more transport options. The project is proposed to be combined with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) projects.

The Dhaka Urban Transport Network Development Survey (DHUTS 1) funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assessed Dhaka’s STP and selected the first MRT Line-6 from Uttara, a northern suburb to Motijheel, for development. The design work on the project was started in 2014.

Details of MRT Line-6

MRT Line-6 is a 20km-long line extending from Uttara in the north to Motijheel in the south. The line runs parallel to the Turag River in the west of Dhaka and curves as it moves south-east following the path of the Buriganga River.

The line will be a standard gauge track, including a total of 16 elevated stations crossing busy areas such as Pallabhi and Mirpur. The travel time from north to south Dhaka will be approximately 35 minutes.

Construction of the line has been divided into eight packages.

Rolling stock and infrastructure details for MRT Line-6

The MRT Line-6 will feature 24 six-car train sets made of lightweight and highly durable stainless-steel. The commuter cars will measure 19.8m long, 2.95m wide, and 4.1m high. The maximum speed of the train is expected to be 100km/h.

CCTV cameras will be deployed inside and outside of the commuter cars to ensure the safety of passengers. Additionally, each car will have two air-conditioning units to beat the high temperatures and humidity in Dhaka. Each car will have four doors on each side.

The line-6 infrastructure includes automatic fare collection systems, platform screen doors, staircases, elevators, and escalators. The length of each platform is expected to be approximately 180m.

Financing for MRT Line-6

JICA is providing approximately 75% or $2.13bn of the estimated investment of Line-6, while the Government of Bangladesh is funding the remaining 25%, which amounts to $690m. Other forms of grants for training and preparing studies are also being provided by JICA.

MRT Line-1 details

MRT Line-1 will be 30.6km long, including an 18.8km underground section and an 11.8km viaduct section that will cover 19 stations. The line comprises two routes, the Airport Line and the Purbachal Line.

“The public transport system will aid in the economic and social development of the greater Dhaka area.”

The Airport line will connect the Kamalapur station with the Dhaka International Airport. It will include 12 stations, running through an underground tunnel starting from Kamalapur, Rampura DIT, and Pragati Sharani Road, crossing the Kuril flyover, and continuing under the New Airport Road to the airport. The expected travel time in the route is 24 minutes and 40 seconds.

The Airport Line will branch out to the Purbachal Line at the Notun Bazar station, which will include seven stations. It will include underground and elevated sections and run from Kamalapur to Purbachal New Town, the biggest planned township in the country. The expected travel time in the route is 36 minutes and ten seconds.

Dhaka Metro Line-5 details

The MRT Line 5 will have two routes, northern and southern. MRT Line-5 northern route will be 20km long, extending from Hemayetpur to Vatara. It will include a 13.5km underground stretch to cover high-density areas from Gabtoli to Notun Bazar.

The line will also include a 6.5km viaduct running between Hemayetpur and Amin Bazar and from Notun Bazar to Vatara. It will cover 14 stations, including Gabtoli, Dar-us-salam, Mirpur1, Mirpur10, Mirpur14, Kochunkhet, Banani, Gulshan2 and Notun Bazar.

The Line-5 will connect with MRT Line-6 at Mirpur and Line-1 at Notun Bazar. The expected travel time in the route is 30 minutes and 30 seconds.

The southern route of MRT Line-5 is proposed to be an underground route running from Gabtoli through Adabor, Mohammadpur, Kalabagan, Karwan Bazar, Hatirjheel, and South Badda to Aftab Nagar.

Contractors involved

A joint venture of Marubeni and L&T was awarded a contract valued $510m by DMTC to provide electrical and mechanical rail systems for the Line-6 in June 2018.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and Mitsubishi Corporation were awarded a $368m contract by DMTC in August 2017 for supplying rolling stock and maintenance equipment for MRT Line-6.

Pandrol, a rail infrastructure solutions provider, was sub-contracted by L&T to provide rail fastening solutions for MRT Line-6 in May 2019, while Himachal Futuristic Communications, a telecom infrastructure company based in India, was sub-contracted to implement telecommunication systems.

Sinohydro Corporation, an engineering and construction company based in China, and Italian-Thai Development Public Company, a construction company based in Thailand, were contracted to perform civil constructions for the MRT Line-6 in May 2017.

The preparatory study for the project was carried out by JICA, Almec Corporation, Oriental Consultants Global, and Nippon Koei. The environmental impact assessment was prepared by the NKDM Association comprising Nippon Koei, Katahira & Engineers International, Oriental Consultants, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (India), Nippon Koei India, Mott MacDonald, and Development Design Consultants.

Shah Cement, Sarens, Systra, and Amir Group are the other contractors involved in the project.