Chennai Metro: All you need to know about the CMRL network

[] In this article, we will discuss the Chennai Metro project in detail and how it has impacted connectivity and real estate in the Tamil Nadu capital

Chennai is among the cities in India, which boasts of an operational metro rail network. The Chennai Metro has not only improved connectivity in the Tamil Nadu capital but also positively impacted the southern city’s real estate market. In this article we examine the CMRL metro network, which is the third-longest metro rail network in India after Delhi and Hyderabad.

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Chennai Metro inception

Planning for the Chennai Metro project started in 2007, when the Tamil Nadu government sanctioned Rs 50 crores to launch the mass transit network project in Chennai and took on board the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to prepare a detailed project report for the same. In the same year, the Tamil Nadu cabinet approved the Chennai Metro rail project and subsequently, the Chennai Metro Rail Corporation (CMRC), a special purpose vehicle, was incorporated to execute the metro rail project. After the central government approved the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) project on January 28, 2009, actual work for the project started in June 2009, to create a metro rail link between Koyambedu and Ashok Nagar, under phase-1.

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CMRL launch

The Chennai Metro (CMRL) opened to the public on June 29, 2015, with the inauguration of the 4.5-kilometre stretch between Alandur and Koyambedu stations. On September 21, 2016, the Chennai Metro also started services between the Chennai International Airport Metro Station and Little Mount.

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Chennai Metro estimated cost

The estimated cost of the Chennai Metro project is Rs 14,600 crores, including escalation, central taxes and interest during the period of construction, but excluding state taxes and value of vacant state government land. The centre and the state government are expected to contribute about 41% of this cost while the remaining cost will be in the form of debt from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A loan agreement was signed between the government of India and the government of Japan on November 21, 2008, at Tokyo, in this regard.

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Chennai Metro Phase 1

Under phase-1 of the Chennai Metro project, two corridors with a combined length of 45 kms are to be constructed. Of this, 24 kms of the metro rail network will be underground while 21 kms will be elevated.

The 22-km-long second corridor of the Chennai Metro will run from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount via Koyambedu.

The CMRL projects connect all key junctures and major transport hubs of the Tamil Nadu capital, including Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Central Mofussil Bus Terminal (CMBT), Chennai Airport, St Thomas Mount, Guindy, Government Estate and the High Court, under phase 1 itself.

Planned along the three arterial roads of Chennai – Anna Salai, EVR Periyar Salai and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai – these two corridors under Phase-1 of the Chennai Metro were planned keeping in mind the traffic situation on these highly busy roads.

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Chennai Metro route: Phase 1 corridor 1

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The 23.1-km-long first corridor, also known as the Chennai Metro Blue Line, will run from Washermanpet to the Airport via Anna Salai. Under corridor 1, the CMRL has proposed to build 17 metro stations. While the first 11 stations in the list are underground, the remaining are elevated.

Chennai Metro station: Phase 1 corridor 1

  1. Washermanpet Metro
  2. Mannadi
  3. High Court
  4. Central Metro
  5. Government Estate
  6. LIC
  7. Thousand Lights
  8. AG-DMS
  9. Teynampet
  10. Nandanam
  11. Saidapet Metro
  12. Little Mount
  13. Guindy Metro
  14. Alandur
  15. Nanganallur Road
  16. Meenambakkam Metro
  17. Chennai Airport

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Chennai Metro route: Phase 1 extension

In 2015, an extension of 9.05 kms to the existing Chennai Metro Blue Line network was approved, under phase-1 extension. At an estimated cost of Rs 3,770 crores, the CMRL phase-1 extension covers the distance between Sir Thiyagaraya College and Wimco Nagar, with eight metro stations along the way.

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Chennai Metro station: Phase 1 extension

  1. Sir Thiyagaraya College
  2. Tondiarpet
  3. New Washermenpet
  4. Tollgate Metro
  5. Kaladipet Metro
  6. Thiruvottiyur Theradi
  7. Thiruvottiyur
  8. Wimco Nagar

The phase-1 extension of the CMRL became operational in February 2021. In fact, this route already contributes nearly 20% of the metro service’s total ridership.

Chennai Metro route and stations: Phase 1 corridor 2

The corridor-2 of the Chennai Metro, also known as the Chennai Metro Green Line, will have the following 17 stations:

  1. Central Metro
  2. Egmore Metro
  3. Nehru Park
  4. Kilpauk
  5. Pachaiyappa’s college
  6. Shenoy Nagar
  7. Anna Nagar east
  8. Anna Nagar Tower
  9. Thirumangalam
  10. Koyambedu
  11. CMBT
  12. Arumbakkam
  13. Vadapalani
  14. Ashok Nagar
  15. Ekkattuthangal
  16. Alandur
  17. St Thomas Mount

While the first nine stations on this stretch will be underground, the remaining will be elevated.

Chennai Metro map – Phase 1

Chennai Metro CMRL

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Chennai Metro Phase 2

Under Phase-2 of the Chennai Metro, the state proposes to build three additional corridors – corridor 3, corridor 4 and corridor 5. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 61,843 crores, Chennai Metro Phase-2 will cover a total distance of 109 kms, expanding the connectivity network to key suburban areas of the city. While construction work for this phase was expected to start in 2019, its completion is projected to take place in 2026.

Chennai Metro Corridor 3 route

The CMRL Corridor 3 will starting at Madhavaram Milk Colony and end at St Joseph College.

Chennai Metro Corridor 3 stations:

  1. Madhavaram Milk Colony
  2. Thapalpetti
  3. Murari Hospital
  4. Moolakadai
  5. Sembiyam
  6. Perambur Market
  7. Perambur Metro
  8. Ayanavaram
  9. Otteri
  10. Pattalam
  11. Perambur Barracks Road
  12. Doveton Junction
  13. Purasawalkam High Road
  14. Kellys
  15. KMC
  16. Chetpet Metro
  17. Sterling Road Jn
  18. Nungambakkam
  19. Gemini
  20. Thousand Lights
  21. Royapettah Government Hospital
  22. Radhakrishnan Salai Jn
  23. Thirumayilai Metro
  24. Mandaveli
  25. Greenways Road Metro
  26. Adyar Jn
  27. Adayar Depot
  28. Indira Nagar
  29. Thiruvanmiyur Metro
  30. Tharamani Link Road
  31. Nehru Nagar
  32. Kandanchavadi
  33. Perungudi
  34. Thoraipakkam
  35. Mettukuppam
  36. PTC Colony
  37. Okkiyampet
  38. Karapakkam
  39. Okkiyam Thoraipakkam
  40. Sholinganallur
  41. Sathyabama
  42. St Joseph College

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Chennai Metro Corridor 4 route and stations

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Corridor 4 of the CMRL will have the following 30 stations:

  1. LightHouse
  2. Kutchery Road
  3. Thirumayilai Metro
  4. Alwarpet
  5. Bharathidasan Road
  6. Adyar Gate Junction
  7. Nandanam
  8. Natesan Park
  9. Panagal Park
  10. Kodambakkam Sub Urban
  11. Meenakshi College
  12. Power House
  13. Vadapalani
  14. Saligramam
  15. Avichi School
  16. Alwarthirunagar
  17. Valasaravakkam
  18. Karambakkam
  19. Alapakkam
  20. Porur Junction
  21. Chennai Bypass Crossing
  22. Ramachandra Hospital
  23. Iyyappanthangal Bus Depot
  24. Kattupakkam
  25. Kumananchavadi
  26. Karayanchavadi
  27. Mullai Thottam
  28. Poonamallee bus terminus
  29. Poonamallee Bypass
  30. Poonamallee Bus Depot

CMRL Corridor 5 route and stations

Corridor 5 of the CMRL will have the following 18 stations:

  1. Madhavaram Milk Colony
  2. Venugopal Nagar
  3. Assisi Nagar
  4. Manjambakkam
  5. Velmurugan Nagar
  6. MMBT
  7. Shastri Nagar
  8. Retteri
  9. Kolathur
  10. Srinivasa Nagar
  11. Villivakkam Metro
  12. Villivakkam Bus Terminus
  13. Nadhamuni
  14. Anna Nagar Depot
  15. Tirumangalam
  16. Kendriya Vidyalaya
  17. Kaliamman Koil Street
  18. CMBT

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Chennai Metro fare

In February 2021, the CMRL brought down the maximum metro fare by Rs 20 – from Rs 70 earlier to Rs 50. It, however, maintained the minimum metro fare at Rs 10, which is applicable on the travel distance of 2 kms.

“Accepting the demands of the people that the metro rail fares should be decreased in order to further enhance the patronage of CMRL service, the government has announced a cut in the fares for the benefit of the public,” former Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami said, while announcing the reduction in fares.

Under the new fare structure, the rate for a distance of between 2 kms and 5 kms will be Rs 20; Rs 30 will be charged for travelling a distance of 5 kms to 12 kms in the Chennai Metro. Further, commuters will have to pay Rs 40 for a distance between 12 kms and 21 kms. Beyond 21 kms, the CMRL commuters will have to pay Rs 50. A discount of 20% of the fare will be provided to those opting to book tickets using the QR code or CMRL smart cards.

To view the entire table of CMRL fares, click here.

Chennai metro timings

The Chennai metro operates from 5.30 am to 11 pm from Monday to Saturday, with a headway of 5 minutes during peak hours and a headway of 10 minutes during non-peak hours.

Chennai Metro impact on connectivity

Official data show the CMRL carried about 1.15 lakh passengers a day on an average, with a train available every five minutes during peak hours, before the Coronavirus pandemic. However, post-pandemic, this number has reduced to 65,000 a day. As the CMRL expands to the other parts of the city under Phase-2, a large part of Chennai will be connected through the metro network.

The new corridors of the CMRL have been planned, keeping in mind the areas which are not currently connected via suburban trains and in fact currently lack regular mass public transit. These areas include Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and East Coast Road (ECR) that are on home buyers’ radar, because of the affordability factor.

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Chennai metro impact on housing market

Cities, where a metro network is established, invariably see value appreciation for housing markets that become better connected and also start to enjoy higher demand from buyers, investors and tenants. This is particularly true of housing markets in the suburbs, where the scope for appreciation is much higher than the central areas, which have exorbitant property prices.

According to a report by property brokerage JLL India, land values within 500 metres of the metro rail corridors and upcoming corridors, are expected to increase by 10%-15% in cities like Chennai. According to JLL, as soon as the CMRL Phase-I became completely operational in 2019, its impact on real estate prices became visible. “The residential prices almost a decade ago before the start of the metro were Rs 3,600 per sq ft and now have surged to Rs 7,000 per sq ft,” JLL said. The brokerage firm is also of the view that the demand for retail and office spaces around metro stations has seen a spike. Commercial and retail rental prices along the 100-ft road of the CMRL saw about 50% to 70% increase, JLL said.


What is the traffic target that the Chennai Metro Rail’s detailed project report envisages?

According to projections, the Chennai Metro will help 12.85 lakh passengers travel in a day by 2026.

What is the length of the total operational metro network in India?

Currently, the length of the metro rail corridor is 760.62 kms across India. Another 578.34 kms of metro network is under-construction in the country.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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