A monumental step has been taken by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) towards enhancing regional connectivity in the National Capital Region. This marks a significant achievement as the Sudarshan 4.4 achieves a significant breakthrough—the TBM Breakthrough at the Vaishali retrieval shaft in Ghaziabad. This event symbolizes the culmination of tunneling efforts spanning the entire Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut RRTS corridor. This achievement is highlighted by the successful completion of a 2-kilometer underground passage connecting Anand Vihar and Sahibabad. Overseeing this momentous occasion was Vinay Kumar Singh, the Managing Director of NCRTC, who orchestrated the pivotal moment by remotely activating the breakthrough. This significant event was witnessed by esteemed Directors and luminaries of NCRTC.
The descent of Sudarshan 4.4 commenced at the initiation shaft in Anand Vihar and culminated at the Vaishali retrieval shaft, now located in Ghaziabad. This intricate tunneling process, spanning an impressive duration of under 18 months, has reached its zenith. A constellation of seven advanced Sudarshan Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) collectively initiated the creation of the 12-kilometer dual tunnels that constitute the underground section of the nation’s inaugural RRTS corridor. The remaining portion of this 70-kilometer corridor takes the form of an elevated structure, with around 80% of the supporting viaduct already completed.
The meticulous construction of these tunnels involved the assembly of over 80,000 pre-fabricated segments, showcasing precision and engineering expertise. These segments, each measuring 1.5 meters in length, were intricately connected to form the tunnel rings. The RRTS tunnels boast an impressive diameter of 6.5 meters, meticulously designed to align with international tunnel standards and accommodate a design velocity of 180 kilometers per hour. This design also accommodates larger and more sophisticated rolling stock.
The urban landscape of Delhi has witnessed the emergence of four distinct tunnels, an underground maze designed to facilitate the passage of trains. Within this intricate network, a pair of parallel tunnels, each stretching approximately 3 kilometers, connect Anand Vihar and New Ashok Nagar stations. Another set of parallel tunnels, spanning nearly 2 kilometers combined, establish a connection between Anand Vihar and Sahibabad stations.
The journey of NCRTC began in February 2022, with the deployment of the tunnel-boring machine named “Sudarshan 4.1.” This machine was ceremoniously lowered into the initiation shaft at Anand Vihar, marking the commencement of tunneling between Anand Vihar and New Ashok Nagar. Shortly thereafter, Sudarshan 4.2 made its appearance, heralding the initiation of tunneling for its parallel counterpart. These parallel underground passages are among the longest tunnels in Delhi, each spanning nearly 3 kilometers.
The month of April in 2023 witnessed the successful emergence of Sudarshan 4.1 from the retrieval shaft located at Khichdipur, just over a year after its descent. June 2023 echoed with a similar success story as Sudarshan 4.2 completed its journey.
The saga of accomplishment continues with the introduction of Sudarshan 4.3 and Sudarshan 4.4, dispatched from Anand Vihar to create parallel tunnels spanning 2 kilometers. These tunnels mark the gateway to the Delhi-Ghaziabad Section, with Sudarshan 4.3’s triumphant emergence from the retrieval shaft near Vaishali Metro Station in May 2023. A crescendo of achievement reverberates with the successful emergence of Sudarshan 4.4, the final member of this distinguished quartet.
Delhi’s subterranean journey was marked by complexity and challenge. The path from Anand Vihar to Sahibabad required careful navigation through industrial structures, beneath a shallow overburden layer ranging from 4 to 6 meters, and under high-tension power cables, with a mere 0.5-meter clearance.
Similar challenges were encountered during the subterranean journey to New Ashok Nagar. This involved navigating around existing metro viaduct foundations, maneuvering through expressways, and navigating around unengineered structures in Patparganj and Khichdipur. These formidable challenges were overcome with strategic insight and innovative methods.
The story of Meerut is distinguished by the presence of three subterranean stations—Meerut Central, Bhainsali, and Begumpul. These locales were interconnected through the creation of six parallel tunnels. The subterranean exploration of Meerut began with the introduction of Sudarshan 8.1 in April 2022, culminating in the completion of all tunneling activities by July 2023.
The subterranean journey in Meerut involved threading through densely populated urban areas, navigating the intricate network of drain conduits and working around the foundations of historical structures. This was achieved with unwavering commitment and meticulous precision.
With the completion of the subterranean network, the focus now shifts to track laying and overhead electrification, which will accelerate the project’s progress. The process has already commenced at Anand Vihar’s subterranean terminus and Begumpul in Meerut.
NCRTC remains steadfast in its goal to unveil the entire 82-kilometer Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor to the public by 2025. As a precursor, a Priority Section spanning 17 kilometers, connecting Sahibabad and Duhai Depot, is set to be inaugurated shortly.