Kochi Metro is a proposed rapid transit system for the city of Kochi in Kerala, India. The 25.612km metro line will run from Aluva to Petta and will include 22 stations. The metro rail project is also known as Komet or K-3C.
The $950m project will be operated by Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), a 50:50 joint venture between the Government of India and the Government of Kerala. KMRL will operate the project under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis for a 30-year concession period. The metro will be developed in phases.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and KMRL signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in New Delhi for executing the first phase of the project from Aluva to Petta in May 2013. According to the agreement, DMRC will manage the technical aspects, contract orders, supervision at the project site, procurement and construction on behalf of KMRL.
The construction on the first phase of the project began in June 2013. The 13.6km section from Aluva to Palarivattom of the first phase was inaugurated in January 2018.
KMRL is currently 18.4km section of phase one of the metro starting from Aluva to Thykoodam with 21 stations. The entire phase one stretch is expected to be completed by 2020.
Kochi Metro purpose and benefits
Heavy traffic congestion has necessitated the development of a metro rail system in Kochi. Buses are currently the major public transportation system in Kochi.
The new metro system will reduce traffic congestion, while providing safe and rapid transportation to commuters. It will also reduce pollution and noise levels, as well as congestion on city roads. The project will create employment opportunities for local people.
The metro will feature a single line route. Phase one will start from Aluva and pass through stations such as Kalamassery, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Pathadippalam, Edappally Junction, Changampuzha Park, Palarivattom, Nehru Stadium, Kaloor, Town Hall, Madhava Pharmacy, Maharajas College and Ernakulam Junction.
Phase IA of the metro includes a 1.5km extension from Petta to SN Junction.
KMRL received approval for the Kochi Metro Phase 1B extension from SN Junction to Tripunithura railway station with an estimated investment of Rs3.56bn ($51.5m) in June 2019. The extension will include two elevated stations at Vadakkekotta and SN Junction and a two-lane bridge across Panamkutty River along with metro viaduct.
KMRL acquired two acres of land for construction of two stations and 2.75 acres of land for preparatory work.
Phase II includes an extension from JLN Stadium to Infopark, while Phase III, which is still under planning stage, will extend the line from Aluva to Angamaly.
Kochi metro rail project details
The government of Kerala selected DMRC to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for the project in December 2004. The project was initially expected to start by 2006 but was delayed due to poor economic conditions.
The Kerala government requested DMRC to extend the metro route to Nedumbaserry International Airport in February 2008. The proposal was approved in April 2008.
The project received public investment board (PIB) clearance in March 2012 and union government clearance in July 2012.
DMRC began preliminary works for the project following the clearance. Preliminary work included the widening of three arterial roads, Banerjee Road, MG Road and South Railway Station Road, as well as the construction of a new rail over-bridge (RoB) near KSRTC station and a foot over-bridge.
The Vyttila-Petta route was widened by 26m to facilitate the construction of the metro rail. KMRL resurfaced 21 roads in Kochi to reduce traffic congestion during the metro rail construction.
Phase two extension will require the widening of SeaPort to Airport Road from Kakkanad Collectorate Junction to Infopark Expressway Entrance. The 2.5km link will be converted into a four-lane road at an estimated cost of Rs7.4bn ($10.6m).
The foundation work for the much-delayed project started in September 2012. Construction work for phase one began in June 2013. The Aluva to Palarivattom section of phase one includes 11 stations.
The second stretch from Palarivattom to Maharaja’s College with six stations was commissioned in October 2017.
The metro’s 5km-long phase one extension from Maharaja’s College to Thykoodam became operational in September 2019. The last stretch of phase one from Thykoodam to Petta is currently undergoing trial runs and is expected to be opened in 2020.
The construction of the Phase IA extension from Petta to SN Junction commenced in September 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2021.
Facilities at Kochi Metro stations
The metro stations are installed with solar power, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system, CCTV cameras and a manned ticket office machine for providing paper tickets and smart cards to passengers.
It is installed with automatic fare collection system with a combination of smart cards and RFID or QR code tickets.
Each station also features special facilities for the disabled, such as engraved paths and tactile tiles for visually challenged people, toilets with wheelchair access, and Braille and auditory signals in elevators.
KMRL started a new electric bus service named Pavan Doot from Aluva Metro Station to Cochin International Airport every 40 minutes in February 2020.
Signalling and communication
Computer Based Interlocking (CBI) system is used on the Kochi Metro for better signalling and communication. The automatic signalling is provided with protection and warning system.
The telecommunication systems are integrated with fibre-optic cables, SCADA, train radio and public address (PA) systems.
Rolling stock for Kochi Metro
Kochi Metro is using Alstom’s Metropolis trains having three coaches per train. Each train is 66.55m long and has the capacity to accommodate up to 975 passengers with 136 seats.
KMRL added a new fleet at Muttom Yard, which increased the total number of trains to 25.
The metro trains have a top operational speed of 80km/h. The design speed is 90km/h and the average speed is 35km/h.
Contractors involved in the project
DMRC issued a tender for the KC-3 project in January 2013. The tender included the construction of the elevated viaduct, six elevated stations at CUSAT, Pathadipalam, Edapally Junction, Changampuzha Park, Palarivatom and JL Nehru stadium.
DMRC also issued four tenders collectively worth $62.98m for the construction of the metro rail in April 2013. The contract includes the construction of the elevated viaduct and six elevated stations at Aluva, Pulinchodu, Companypady, Ambattukavu, Muttom and Kalamassery.
DMRC appointed Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for the construction of the viaduct on the Kalamassery-Kaloor stadium stretch, in April 2013. The contract will also include the construction of metro stations on the stretch.
L&T construction unit Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business received a $155.85m contract for the project in May 2013. The contract includes the construction of elevated viaduct and elevated stations on Aluva-Petta line.
L&T is responsible for a total of 12 station buildings, including six each from Aluva to Kalamassery and Kalamassery to JLN Stadium, and an elevated viaduct in each of the two segments.
Soma Enterprises is responsible to build a viaduct and five station buildings from JLN Stadium to Ernakulam Junction Station, while Era & Ranken (JV) will build viaduct and five station buildings from Ernakulam Junction to Petta.
Spanish company Ardanuy Ingenieria was awarded the power supply and traction contract while DB International was appointed as the quality and safety monitoring consultant for the project.
Alstom was awarded an €85m ($107m) contract to supply, install and commission 25 Metropolis train sets. The contract also includes an option to supply an additional 25 train sets. Alstom delivered the first Metropolis trainset of 25 trains in January 2016.
L&T Infrastructure Engineering Limited and EQMS India are constructing the Phase 1B extension from SN Junction to Tripunithura. Seguro Foundations & Structures will be responsible for the widening of road for the extension.
Financing of the Kochi Metro project
The Komet project is being jointly financed by the Indian Government (64.14%) and the government of Kerala (35.86%). In 2012, the project received $180m and $320m from the central and state governments respectively.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided a $400m loan for the project. AFD agreed to provide a 25-year (including a five-year grace period) loan of $180m for the project in February 2014.
The project is expected to raise $43m from the taxes, which will be managed by the state government with escalations.
The Government of India has allotted a total of Rs1.23bn ($17.6m) for the Phase IB extension project.