On the Rise: Urban rail projects under implementation and planning

Urban rail projects under implementation and planning

Metro rail systems provide high capacity public transit services in urban areas. In India, the first metro system was introduced in Kolkata in 1984. After almost two decades, the next metro system opened in Delhi in 2002. Currently, India has an operational network of around 417 km.

India Infrastructure Research analysed 139 urban rail stretches that became operational or those on which work commenced between January 2016 and January 2018, including metrorail, monorail and light rail projects. During the period, a total of 117 km was added to the urban rail network and there are plans to add another 2,500 km, which includes 57 stretches under construction (593 km), four stretches under bidding (38 km), five awarded stretches (72 km) and 58 announced/approved stretches (1,743 km).

Key operationalised projects

A total of 15 stretches, spanning around 117 km, were operationalised between January 2016 and January 2018. In 2016, three stretches spanning 14 km were added to the operational network – 5 km to the Bengaluru metro and 9 km to the Chennai metro. Further, in 2017, operations commenced on 12 stretches spanning 103 km. This comprises extensions on four existing networks – the Delhi metro (18 km), the Gurugram metro (7 km), the Bengaluru metro (12 km) and the Chennai metro (9 km)  and operations on three new systems – the Kochi metro (18 km), the Hyderabad metro (30 km) and the Lucknow metro (9 km).

The Hyderabad metro rail project is the first in the country to commence operations on such a long stretch (Line 1 spanning 12 km and Line 3 spanning 18 km). The project has been developed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model by Larsen & Toubro.

Key projects under implementation

Of the projects tracked, a total of 57 stretches are currently under construction. These are 56 metro projects and one monorail project. Together, these projects will add 593 km to the urban rail network across 11 states – Delhi (109 km – includes the 9 km Dilshad Garden-Ghaziabad stretch in Delhi/Uttar Pradesh), Gujarat (39 km), Haryana (3 km), Karnataka (54 km), Kerala (7 km), Maharashtra (161 km), Rajasthan (2 km), Tamil Nadu (21 km), Telangana (45 km), Uttar Pradesh (49 km) and West Bengal (103 km).

The biggest ongoing project in terms of investment is the Mumbai metro project (Phase I, Line 2A; Phase I, Line 3; and Phase III, Line 7) spanning 69 km and being developed at an estimated investment of Rs 417 billion. This is followed by the Delhi metro (Rs 375 billion) and the Bengaluru metro (Rs 264 billion).

Further, a total of four metro rail stretches spanning 38 km are currently at the bidding stage. The biggest investment opportunity lies in the 23 km Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar stretch of the Pune metro, Corridor 3 project. Further, contracts for the 12 km Mumbai metro, Phase I, Line 2B project (Part 2), the 2 km Dwarka Sector 21-Dwarka Sector 25 extension of the Delhi Airport Express Link and the 1 km Najafgarh-Dhansa bus stand stretch of the Delhi metro, Corridor 6, are yet to be awarded.

Projects awarded

A total of five stretches, together spanning 72 km, were awarded between January 2016 and January 2018. The Kolkata monorail, entailing the highest investment worth Rs 42 billion and spanning 30 km, is expected to be completed by 2020. Contracts were also awarded for the 2 km stretch of the Kochi metro project, Phase IA (being developed at an investment of Rs 4 billion), the 21 km Gottigere-IIM B-Nagawara (Reach-6) stretch of the Bengaluru metro project (Phase II), the 7 km Korrukupet-Wimco Nagar section of the Chennai metro project (Phase I Extension) and the 12 km section of the Mumbai metro, Phase I, Line 2B project (Part 1).

Projects on the drawing board

Currently, a total of 58 urban rail stretches, spanning around 1,743 km have been announced/approved for development, at an investment of over 4,763 billion. These comprise 48 metro rail stretches (around 1,531 km, Rs 4,327 billion), four monorail projects (58 km, Rs 74 billion) and six light rail projects (154 km, Rs 362 billion). The biggest project that has been announced is the Chennai metro project, Phase II, spanning 107.55 km and to be developed at an estimated investment of Rs 800 billion. The Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide funds covering 50 per cent of the project cost. This is followed by the Delhi metro project, Phase IV, which is planned to be developed at an estimated investment of Rs 552 billion and the Gurugram-Manesar-Bawal metro project, to be built at an investment of Rs 274 billion.


Several initiatives are being taken to develop the rapid rail network in India at a greater pace. One major step in this direction is the launch of the new Metro Rail Policy, 2017, for expanding and regulating metro rail services across the country. It seeks to raise private investment by making PPP contracts mandatory and bringing about urban transformation through the development of metro rail projects. It also focuses on last-mile connectivity, transit-oriented development, commercial/property development at stations, raising non-fare revenue through advertisements and leasing of space, etc.

The successful implementation of the policy is expected to give a major fillip to the sector.