On Friday, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consultant, submitted the final draft report and suggested a host of recommendations on various issues, including models for diversification and transfer of assets of MRTS, sources said.
“The stations will undergo a major overhaul and the trains of MRTS will be replaced by new trains from Chennai Metro Rail. Since the trains will change, the signalling system will undergo improvements. But we can continue to run broad gauge as we don’t see a necessity to change that. In Delhi, for instance, there is a line that runs on broad gauge” an official said.
The priority will be to bring about this merger without causing any disruption, officials said. “The schedule will remain the same for MRTS and whatever their existing works are, we will take over that as well. This will mean quite a heavy capital investment,” a CMRL official said.
Though no deadline has been fixed for the merger, officials said it will take a few years.
“At first, the State government and Indian Railways will have to agree to this merger officially. After that, the Railway board has to approve it. Then, the detailed project report will be prepared by Chennai Metro Rail, funds have to be sought and, then the merger can happen,” an official said.
“If this happens, it will benefit commuters as phase II of Chennai Metro Rail intersects MRTS in some stations and it will be a seamless integration,” he points out.
“Also, a common ticketing system will be introduced and commuters can use smart cards in both systems,” he adds.
But employees in MRTS will go back to Railways and to operate the system, Chennai Metro Rail will redeploy its own staff after training, officials said.