When Bengaluru slept, these engineers and workers quietly built its Metro

6th May 2016
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This story tells you about all those who toiled during the night and into the wee hours of the morning to keep to deadlines and give Bengaluru its metro without disturbing its citizens. If one did not see heavy equipment and materials being moved during peak traffic hours in the day, it was because engineers and contractors moved them at night.

Representational Image, Source - Rail.co.uk
Representational Image, Source – Rail.co.uk

With rules prohibiting the movement of heavy vehicles during the day, most of the work was carried out at night, recalled several contractors and engineers during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday, reported The Hindu. The restriction slowed down the pace of work, but they had to adhere to deadlines. “We had to raise transformers, some of which weigh 10 tonnes to a height of 13.5 m or lower them to underground stations. Cabling work would disrupt traffic in the day,” said S. Sunderesan, representative of ABB, which handled the traction systems.

Aram, representing Bluestar, which supplied air-conditioning equipment, said, “Movement of material was an issue. It had to be done between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.” For him, the greater challenge will come when they take up work at stations in congested areas, such as K.R. Market and Chikpet. It took more than one year after the first train was run on the 4.8 km underground section between Cubbon Park Station and Magadi Road to make the stretch operational.

“Finishing work at stations and testing took time,” said N.M. Dhoke, Director (Rolling Stock), BMRCL. Work on Kempe Gowda Station was completed in about four years after several delays. “The process was delayed as it was tendered three times. Two times, tenders were cancelled due to various issues. Work eventually started in 2012,” said Hegga Reddy, Chief Engineer, BMRCL. According to Mr. Reddy, the East-West corridor could have been opened earlier but it was decided that Kempe Gowda station was absolutely vital to operations and could not be skipped.

In order to begin operations on the Purple Line, it was decided to separate the construction schedule of the interchange station. “Purple Line was prioritised. We chose the same contractor who had constructed it to do the finishing. This was different from the other stations on the underground stretch where finishing work took a long time. Here, we completed it in just four months,’ Mr Reddy said.

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