Come March 2023, and India’s first, much-awaited underwater tunnel in West Bengal, will be fully operational for India’s first underwater metro train, according to a LiveMint report. The station was recently inaugurated by Union Minister Smriti Irani, as part of the extension of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation’s East-West corridor.
The project, estimated to have cost ₹8,600 crores, features construction material that would decrease water permeability in the underwater underpass—located 13 metres below the Hooghly riverbed with twin tunnels and boasting 1.4-metre-wide concrete rings and hydrophilic gaskets. The innovation is already drawing comparisons with the Eurostar—the train that connects London and Paris through the famed Channel Tunnel. It’s been reported that the train will be travelling at an astonishing depth equivalent to a 10-storey complex underwater.
What’s more—built 33 metres below ground, the Howrah metro station will be the deepest in the country (Hauz Khas on the Delhi Metro, with a depth of 29 metres, currently holds the title). The tunnels, which will be 500 metres long, will have exits and walkways for evacuation in case of an emergency situation.
Four more stations have been added (Esplanade, Howrah, Mahakaran, and Howrah Maidan) on the route, which stretches from Sector V to Howrah. The new route will also cut down travel time significantly, completing the journey in well under half an hour.
Vamika Singh is a visual-narrative artist working closely towards exploring gender disparity and social dynamics in the South-Asian culture. You can also find her making music playlists, browsing sneakers and getting profusely attached to non-living things—even a laptop sticker for that matter.