Recently, India’s deepest underground rail ventilation shaft, which is an important part of Kolkata’s East-West Metro line, has been completed. The underground rail ventilation shaft is equal to a 15 storey building. According to officials quoted in a PTI report, the underground rail ventilation shaft, which is 43.5 metres deep, was completed jointly by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) and a private engineering firm, Afcons. According to Kolkata Metro, such shafts are used to provide ventilation to the tunnels. Also, they are utilized for evacuation during an emergency. The Kolkata Metro Rail officials, further stated that the evacuation shaft is situated on Strand Road near the river Hooghly.
Afcons project manager Satya Narayan Kunwar was quoted in the report saying that to construct the underground rail ventilation shaft, innovative engineering techniques and methodology were adopted in order to navigate geological challenges as well as to overcome any impact on Kolkata’s circular railway track along the river Hooghly.
According to the report, the underground rail ventilation shaft is located very close to the river Hooghly. Also, its deep excavation was very challenging because of the abutting of the shaft with the circular railway. It further stated that the circular rail line runs parallel to the river in stretches. The rapid transit project, which is going to be 16.6 km long, will link the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah.
Last month, trials were conducted by the Kolkata East-West Metro for operating the rakes in the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) mode. The trials were done to facilitate increased frequency between two metro trains from the current five-six minutes to four minutes. In the East-West Metro corridor, trains are run on Automatic Train Protection (ATP) mode. According to Kolkata Metro, in the ATO mode, the metro trains will do away with the time loss that is caused by the manual driving of the motormen, thereby ensuring increased frequency of trains.