Harman Patil (Editor)

Kolkata Metro

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Transit type  Rapid Transit
Daily ridership  Over 650,000
Kolkata Metro
Native name  মেট্রো রেলওয়ে, কলকাতা কলকাতা মেট্রো রেল কর্পোরেশন
Locale  Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Number of lines  1 (Operational) 5 (Under Construction)
Number of stations  24 Stations (Line 1) 12 Stations (Line 2/ East West Metro) 15 Stations (Line 3/ Joka - B.B.D. Bagh) 24 Stations (Line 6/ Airport - New Garia)

The Kolkata Metro (Bangla: কলকাতা মেট্রো) is a rapid transit system serving the city of Kolkata and the districts of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas and will soon serve Howrah in the Indian state of West Bengal. The network currently consists of one operational line of 27.22 km from Noapara to Kavi Subhash with five other lines in various phases of construction. The Kolkata Metro was the first metro railway in India, opening for commercial services from 1984. On 29 December 2010, Metro Railway, Kolkata became the 17th zone of the Indian Railways, operated by the Ministry of Railways. There are 300 metro services daily carrying over 650,000 passengers making it the second busiest metro system in India.



After independence in 1947, the transport problem of Kolkata drew the attention of city planners, the state government and also the Government of India. It was soon realized that something had to be done quickly in order to cope with the situation. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, first conceived in 1949, the idea of building an Underground Railway for Kolkata to try to solve the problems. A survey was done by a team of French experts, but nothing concrete came of this. Efforts to solve the problem by augmenting the existing fleet of public transport vehicles hardly helped, since roads accounted for only 4.2% of the surface area in Kolkata, compared with 25% in Delhi and even 30% in other cities. With a view to finding alternative solutions to alleviate the suffering of commuters, the Metropolitan Transport Project (Railways) (MTP) was set up in 1969. The MTP (Rlys), with help of Soviet specialists (Lenmetroproekt) and East German engineers, prepared a master plan to provide five rapid-transit (metro) lines for the city of Kolkata, totalling a route length of 97.5 km in 1971. However, only three were selected for construction. These were:

  • Dum Dum - Tollygunge
  • Salt Lake City - Ramrajatala (Presently truncated till Howrah Maidan, proposed to be expanded to Santragachi Bus Terminus)
  • Dakshineshwar - Thakurpukur (route changed to Joka - BBD Bagh and Noapara - Dakhineshwar)
  • Of these, the highest priority was given to the busy north-south axis between Dum Dum and Tollygunge over a length of 16.45 km, and the work on this project was sanctioned on 1 June 1972. The foundation stone of the project was laid by Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, on 29 December 1972 and the construction work started in 1973-74. In those early days of Kolkata Metro, the planning, thought processing, and political facilitation of the whole project was borne almost single-handedly by the then Union Railway Minister from West Bengal - A. B. A. Ghani Khan Choudhury - often against (and to the chagrin of) the prevailing socio-political stance of his contemporaries in the West Bengal government. From the start of construction, the project had to contend with several problems including insufficient funds (until 1977-78), a shifting of underground utilities, court injunctions, and an irregular supply of vital materials. Despite the difficulties faced, services began on 24 October 1984, with the commissioning of a partial commercial service covering a distance of 3.40 km with five stations served in between Esplanade and Bhowanipur (currently Netaji Bhavan). The first metro was driven by Tapan Kumar Nath and Sanjoy Sil. The service was quickly followed by commuter services on another 2.15 km stretch in the north between Dum Dum and Belgachhia on 12 November 1984. The commuter service was extended up to Tollygunge on 29 April 1986 covering a further distance of 4.24 km making the service available over a distance of 9.79 km and covering 11 stations. However, the services on the north section were suspended with effect from 26 October 1992, as this isolated small section was little used. After a gap of more than eight years, the 1.62 km Belgachhia-Shyambazaar section, along with the Dum Dum-Belgachhia stretch, was opened on 13 August 1994. Another 0.71 km stretch from Esplanade to Chandni Chowk was commissioned shortly afterwards, on 2 October 1994. The Shyambazaar-Shobhabazar-Girish Park (1.93 km) and Chandni Chowk-Central (0.60 km) sections were opened on 19 February 1995. Services on the entire stretch of the Metro were introduced from 27 September 1995 by bridging the vital gap of 1.80 km in the middle.

    In the final stage, the extension of Line 1 to an elevated corridor from Tollygunge to New Garia was constructed and opened in two phases, Mahanayak Uttam Kumar to Kavi Nazrul in 2009 and Kavi Nazrul to Kavi Subhash in 2010. The latest extension constructed was the 2.59 km elevated corridor from Dum Dum to Noapara on 10 July 2013.

    The state government has also prepared a detailed project report on a proposed extension of East West Metro (Kolkata Metro Line 2) from Howrah Maidan to Santragachhi. Rites, the implementing agency for the 10 km East-West Metro extension project from Howrah Maidan to Santragachhi bus terminus, is set to start work on the corridor early in 2017.

    Master plan

    In 2010, the Railway Ministry announced plans for the construction of five new metro lines and an extension of the existing North-South corridor. These new projects are:

  • Salt Lake City - Howrah Maidan (East-West Metro Corridor)
  • Joka - BBD Bagh
  • Noapara - Barasat via Biman Bandar (Airport)
  • Baranagar - Barrackpore
  • Noapara - Dakshineswar
  • New Garia - Biman Bandar (Airport)
  • Extension of Line 1 from Dum Dum to Dakshineshwar via Noapara
  • Major modifications

  • Construction of station at Noapara: A new 4-platform station has been constructed at Noapara. Commuters of Line 1 will be able to interchange trains going towards the Airport via Line 4 (Noapara-Barasat). For the time being only two platforms are in use, but once Line 4 gets started, all four platforms will become operational.
  • Upgrade of Esplanade metro station: A subway is going to be constructed in the existing Esplanade station to provide an interchange between Line 1 and Line 2.
  • "India's Highest metro station": Line 2 of Kolkata metro will have an extension towards Airport from its existing Central Park station. In that extension, A new Station at the Haldiram Crossing on VIP road will be constructed at a height of 22 metres, going to be the highest in the country.
  • Line 1 (Noapara-Kavi Subhash Metro)

    Line 1 has a total length of 27 kilometres (17 mi) serving 24 stations of which 15 are underground. It has a combination of elevated, ground-level and underground lines and uses five and a half feet (1676 millimetres) of Indian gauge, a broad gauge rolling stock. It was the first underground railway to be built in India, with the first trains running in October 1984, and the full stretch that had been initially planned was completed and operational by February 1995. On 28 December 2010, it became the 17th zone of the Indian Railways. The New Delhi Metro, which opened in 2002, is the second such urban metro rail network in India. It had benefitted from the expertise gained during the Kolkata metro construction. In being the country's first metro and constructed as a completely indigenous process, the Kolkata Metro was more of a trial-and-error affair, in contrast to the Delhi Metro, which has also seen the involvement of numerous international consultants. As a result, it took nearly 23 years to completely construct a 17 km underground railway.

    Line 2 (East-West Metro)

    East-West Metro, a 4874.6 crore (US$750 million) project to connect Kolkata with Howrah by an underwater metro line, below the Hooghly river, was given the go-ahead by the central government. The length was supposed to be 14.67 km (8.9 km underground and 5.77 km elevated). This line will be constructed and maintained by a separate body named Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC). However, in January 2011 KMRC and the entire East West (EW) metro corridor, was taken over by the Ministry of Railways from the Ministry of Urban development and the state government of West Bengal. Now the East-West Metro's majority stake is with the Indian Railways and the remainder is as a loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

    The West Bengal government had earlier appointed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited to conduct a feasibility study of the project, after which the government had to then put the project on hold due to funding issues. The underwater metro plan was thought of when the first metro service was inaugurated in Kolkata in 1984 by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The route is to cover 12 stations (6 elevated, 6 underground) and go under the river through a tunnel. The foundation stone was laid on 22 February 2009.

    The construction of line 2 started in March 2009. However the project was stalled several times due to land acquisition and slum relocation issues. A major realignment was done in June, 2016 which increased the length to 16.55 km (10.81 km underground, 5.77 km elevated). The Proposed Intersection with Line 1 and Line 3 will be at Esplanade. The delays along with foreign currency losses has led to a 80% cost escalation of the project to nearly 9000 crore (1.5 billion USD).

    The East-West Metro will run from Salt Lake, Sector 5 (in the east) to Howrah Maidan (in the west). The Phase I of the project from Sector V to Sealdah and a distance of 9 km is expected to be operational by June, 2018. The Phase II of the project between Sealdah and Howrah Maidan, a distance of 7 km is expected to be operational by August, 2019.

    The rolling stock will be supplied by BEML at a cost of 900 crore, which will consist of 14 train sets, of 6 coaches each, with Propulsion system by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan . Trains will be air conditioned, and all stations will be equipped with platform screen doors. It will run on standard (4 ft 8.5 in or 1,435 mm) gauge, unlike line 1, which runs on broad (5 ft 6 in or 1,676 mm) gauge.

    Between Lal Dighi and Howrah Station, the metro will run under the Hooghly River — the first underwater metro in India. The line will be elevated between Salt Lake Sector 5 and Salt Lake Stadium, and the remaining stretch will be underground. Transfer stations will be located at Sealdah and Howrah. A new elevated extension from Central Park to Haldiram has been sanctioned, a distance of 5.5 km at a budget of 674 crore. From Haldiram the passengers can take the Line 6 metro to Airport.

    Line 3 (Joka-Esplanade Metro)

    A 16.72 km long metro line from Joka (in extreme South Kolkata) and Esplanade(in central Kolkata) is under construction. It is being built by RVNL and the tender has gone to Simplex Infrastructures.

    Proposed stations on this route:

    1. Joka 2.00 km
    2. Thakurpukur 3.455 km
    3. Sakherbazar 4.67 km
    4. Behala Chowrasta 6.13 km
    5. Behala Bazar 7.460 km
    6. Taratala 8.50 km
    7. Majerhat 9.74 km
    8. Mominpur 10.755 km
    9. Kidderpore 11.87 km
    10. Victoria 14.025 km
    11. Park Street (Intersection with Line 1) 15.29 km
    12. Dharamtala(Esplanade) 16.215 km ( Intersection With Line 1 and Line 2 ).

    The proposed Esplanade station will not to be the same as that of Line 1 (North-South Metro) but a completely different station which will also serve Line 2 . Park Street will also serve as an interchange between Line 3 and Line 1.

    Line 4 (Noapara-Barasat Metro)

    The project to build an 18.5 km line from Noapara to Barasat via Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is sanctioned and construction work has commenced.

    The proposed stations on this route are

    1. Noapara (Intersection with Line 1) 0.00 km
    2. Dum Dum Cantonment 2.80 km
    3. Jessore Road 5.08 km
    4. Biman Bandar (Intersection with Line 6) 6.245 km
    5. Birati 7.90 km
    6. Michael nagar  
    7. New Barrackpore 10.405 km
    8. Madhyamgram 12.310 km
    9. Hridaypur 14.80 km
    10. Barasat 17.13 km

    The route was further altered in 2016, and now the New Garia line will continue till Barasat and the Dum Dum Noapara line will extend and terminate at Biman Bandar. According to the altered plan, the Dum Dum-airport-Barasat link on an elevated corridor will end at Biman Bandar station of the suburban network.

    Line 5 (Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro)

    The Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro (Line 5) (12.40 km) was meant to enable a quicker commute from the northern suburbs to South Kolkata. As of February 2015, however, this project was unlikely to be executed as metro construction would affect the water pipelines along Barrackpore Trunk Road.

    Eleven metro stations were planned on this route. The stations are -

    1. Baranagar 0.00 km
    2. Kamarhati 1.20 km
    3. Agarpara 2.80 km
    4. Sodepur 4.20 km
    5. Panihati 5.40 km
    6. Subhash Nagar 6.50 km
    7. Khardah 7.90 km
    8. Tata Gate 8.80 km
    9. Titagarh 10.10 km
    10. Talpukur 11.40 km
    11. Barrackpore 12.40 km

    There is a proposal to continue this line through the Kalyani Expressway.

    Line 6 (Kavi Subhash-Biman Bandar Metro)

    A connection between New Garia and the Airport (29.1 km) via E M Bypass, Saltlake and Rajarhat has started; it will help to reduce travel time between the southern fringes of Kolkata to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. The work on this New Garia-Airport line was inaugurated by Mamata Banerjee on 7 February 2011 with a project deadline of six years. The link between Kavi Subhas (New Garia) and the airport, to be set up at a cost of Rs4 billion, will have 24 stations with the terminal Airport station being an underground one.

    The stations, as declared of now, will be named after eminent personalities.

    1. Kavi Subhash Metro Station (Intersection with Line 1) 0.00 km
    2. Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute 1.6 km
    3. Mukundapur 3.0 km
    4. Kalikapur 4.1 km
    5. Ruby Hospital 5.1 km
    6. VIP Bazar 6.40 km
    7. Bantala 7.30 km
    8. Science City 8.6 km
    9. Beliaghata 9.5 km
    10. Chingrighata 11.2 km
    11. Nicco Park 12.6 km
    12. Salt Lake Sector V (Intersection with Line 2) 13.9 km
    13. Technopolis 15.1 km
    14. Bidhan Nagar 16.2 km
    15. Sub CBD-1 17.5 km
    16. CBD-1 18.6 km
    17. CBD-2 20.0 km
    18. New Town 20.9 km
    19. Convention Center 22.1 km
    20. Sub CBD-2 23.30 km
    21. City Centre 24.2 km
    22. Rabindra Tirtha 25.1 km
    23. VIP Road 26.7 km(Intersection with Line 2)
    24. Airport (Intersection with Line 4) 29.1 km

    This line will continue till Barasat and Dum Dum - Noapara Line will extend and terminate at Biman Bandar.

    Rolling stock

    The rolling stock of Kolkata Metro Line 1 uses Indian gauge a broad gauge track which is manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai (ICF), and the electrical components are manufactured by NGEF, Bangalore. Initially, the rolling stock fleet was composed of 4-car rakes. Over the years there has been considerable expansion to the network, both underground and on elevated sections. With the increase in traffic, 8-car rake formation has become a standard for the Kolkata Metro. Presently there are 18 Non AC rakes and 13 AC rakes. Out of the 18 Non AC rakes, 11 will be phased out gradually since they have outlived their normal life of 25 years. The remaining 7 rakes are still in good condition so they will be refurbished and put into service in a phase manner. Until now, three types of trains have been used by Kolkata metro; these are - *BHEL Rake(1000 Series): 9 Rakes were manufactured by ICF, Chennai and were passed into service in the first phase when the metro initially ran from Esplanade to Bhowanipur. These trains were dark green in colour and had a yellow stripe at the bottom. Later the colour was changed to white with a dark blue stripe. Presently they are yellow with a wide brown band at the bottom. The rakes are usually numbered from B1 to B9.

  • NGEF Rake (2000 Series): 9 more rakes manufactured by ICF were put into operation in the next phase of service when the Metro rail expanded. These rakes were tougher and had higher acceleration than the previous ones. The colors of these trains were dark yellow with a maroon stripe at the bottom, later they were repainted in white with a maroon stripe and now they are white with a blue band at the bottom. The rakes are marked with 8N symbols
  • BHEL/Knorr Bremse AC(3000 Series): These are the latest trains that were passed into service in 2010, after the elevated corridor from Mahanayak Uttam Kumar to Kavi Nazrul was completed. Later, as the last extension from Kavi Nazrul to Kavi Subhash was finished, more 3000 Series rakes were introduced. These trains are manufactured by ICF in collaboration with BHEL and Knorr Bremse, Germany. They have microprocessor controlled temperature and humidity, LCD displays inside the motorman's cabins and multilingual electronic LED sign boards both inside and outside the train. Presently there are 13 (3000 series) rakes, which are operating on Line 1.
  • BEML : The Bidding by the Spanish company CAF for Line 2 was cancelled due to fund related problems. Re-bidding was done and BEML was given the contract for 14 rakes of 6 coaches each at a cost of 900 crore. The rakes will be microprocessor controlled with 3 phase AC motors. The rakes will be supplied to Kolkata by mid-2017.
  • CNR Dalian Locomotive Company :
  • 14 new rakes composed of 8 coaches each will be supplied to Kolkata metro by CNR Dalian Locomotive Company, which will be running on Line 1. These rakes will be of ultra-modern technology. They will have doors that will be 20 cm wider than any other metro rails in India. They will have wide vestibules, 2.5 feet wider than the existing trains. The design consists of aerodynamic front with large doors and LED lights, and a violet colored stripe on silver color body. The 1st of the 14 rakes is going to join the fleet on June 2017, after it gets delivered from China. These rakes are capable of a top speed of 80 kmph and an average speed of 65 kmph (10 kmph higher than the existing ones).

  • ICF/MEDHA : 2 prototype rakes manufactured by ICF Chennai and MEDHA will soon be supplied to Kolkata Metro fleet by December 2016 . These State-of-the-Art trains will be completely different from existing AC trains made By ICF BHEL/KNORR. These will have 3 phase alternating current motors, regenerative braking, stainless steel body, CCTV cameras and better passenger information system . Recently, 10 more rakes were ordered .
  • Stations and electrification

    Kolkata metro has 24 stations, 15 of which are underground, 7 are elevated and 2 stations are at grade. All the underground stations have island platforms except Park Street which has side platforms. While all the elevated stations have side platforms, Noapara has island platforms and since it will be the hub station for Line 1 and Line 4 it has 4 platforms having a length of 182m. The standard length of platforms in Kolkata Metro is 170m. The metro stations of Gitanjali & Netaji have the shortest platforms of 163m. The average length between any two stations is 1.14 km. The shortest distance is 0.597 km between Central and Chandni Chowk, whereas the longest distance is 2.15 km between Dum Dum and Belgachia. Since the electrification of Kolkata metro is of the 3rd Rail, 750 V DC, electricity substations were built in Jatin Das Park, Central, Shyambazar. The type of tracks are ballast-less with M1A track fittings.

    Signalling and frequency

    Kolkata metro trains operate on typical Indian Railways automatic signalling technology. A Route Relay Interlocking System has been provided at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Noapara carshed and are in operation to facilitate the prompt withdrawal and injection of rakes as well as performing shunting operations inside the car shed, required for maintenance purposes. Train Protection & Warning System(TPWS) is provided on the entire stretch of the Metro Railway. This system is designed to prevent collision caused by human (operator) error. Train Describer System and Auto Train Charting have also been provided to help the operartion control centre to monitor and plan train movement on a real time basis. The Metro operates between 06:45 and 21:55 hours, running every 10 minutes and every 5 minutes during peak hours on weekdays. Metro runs on Sundays between the hours of 09:50 to 21:55 hours. A number of 270 trains run during week days, 205 on Saturdays and 92 on Sundays.

    Facilities and services

    The Kolkata Metro provides special seats in every compartment which are reserved for women and senior citizens. The Kolkata Metro has also recently introduced functionality to support mobile signals in underground tunnels. Metro stations are equipped with very large fans and few Metro rakes are air conditioned. The Kolkata Metro has introduced a smart card system.


    After using the magnetic ticketing system for 27 years from 1984 to 2011, Kolkata Metro introduced Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tokens by Centre for Railway Information Systems(CRIS) from 2011. The old magnetic strip reader gates were replaced by new RFID readers.

    Smart card

    After introducing RFID tokens, Kolkata metro introduced a Smart Card service introduced by Centre for Railway Information Systems(CRIS). These smart cards are multi-programmable and commuters can opt for the various multi-ride schemes. To buy a new card a commuter needs to deposit 60, which will be refunded after the card is returned in good condition, before its expiry date. A commuter can recharge the smart card for the sums of 100, 200, 300, 500 or 1000 and receive 110% value on every recharge and the card is valid for a year. Kolkata metro also introduced smart card recharging machines, in Park Street station, on an experimental basis, where money could be credited onto the smart card by inserting 100 notes into the machine and placing the card in its slot. Another type of Smart Card is the multi-ride card. These cards are bought on the basis of how many rides a commuter takes. The multi-ride smart cards were of 3 types but these services are currently closed. These were however withdrawn after the fare revision in November 2013. The most popular among daily commuters is the general smart card to avoid the queue.


    All the stations are equipped with closed-circuit cameras, metal detectors, and X-ray baggage scanners, making the metro the safest form of transport in Kolkata. The taking of photographs, eating, drinking and smoking are all prohibited on the metro premises.

    Departments of Metro Railway, Kolkata

    Public Relations, Accounts, Electrical, Vigilance, Traffic, Engineering, Signal & Telecommunications, Personnel, Medical, Stores etc.


    Kolkata Metro Wikipedia