The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor of India's first rapid rail saw its first tunnel breakthrough for the Delhi section, achieved by the tunnel-boring machine Sudarshan 4.1 in Khichdipur, East Delhi. The 3-km tunnel, which started construction in January 2022, is the longest in Delhi made by any tunnel-boring machine, and more than 14,000 high-precision pre-casted tunnel segments have been used to ensure a long tunnel life. Four tunnels are being constructed in Delhi for the 82-kilometre Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) for movement in both directions. NCRTC, the National Capital Region Transport Corporation, informed that two parallel tunnels of about 3 km are being constructed between Anand Vihar and Khichdipur towards New Ashok Nagar RRTS station, and another set of parallel tunnels of about 2 km are being constructed between Anand Vihar and Vaishali towards Sahibabad RRTS station.
The RRTS tunnels have a diameter of 6.5 metres, which is highly optimised when compared to global benchmarks of tunnels for a similar design speed of 180 kmph, with wider and higher rolling stock. The breakthrough in the Delhi section of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor was initiated by Manoj Joshi, secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, by pushing the lever in the presence of Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, NCRTC. "RRTS is aimed at easing regional mobility in NCR thereby reducing vehicular congestion on roads and lowering air pollution," said Joshi. "Multi-modal integration has been an important consideration while planning and implementing RRTS. I am confident that it will enhance the quality of life in NCR." The tunnel, going towards New Ashok Nagar, has negotiated very closely with existing metro station piling structures, the foundations of expressways, and non-engineered buildings in Patparganj and Khichdipur.
NCRTC aims to open the entire 82-km-long RRTS corridor to the public by 2025, and before that, it will operationalize a 17-km long priority section between Sahibabad and Duhai. Other tunnel boring machines, including Sudarshan 4.2, have completed tunnelling of about 2.5 km in the same direction, while Sudarshan 4.3 and 4.4 are boring tunnels in the direction of Sahibabad from Anand Vihar, and they have completed tunnelling more than 1.5 km and 1 km, respectively.