MRTS suburban services in Chennai have been extended from Tiruvanmiyur to Velachery, following inauguration of the line by Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister Dr Kalaignar M Karunanidhi on November 19.

Completed as Phase II of the MRTS project, the 11 km extension has cost Rs7·7bn to build. The broad-gauge line is served by four trains/h from Chennai Beach, replacing an hourly stopping train on the adjacent metre-gauge main line. The work has taken a year longer than anticipated, because of poor ground conditions requiring an 850 m viaduct between Perigundi and Velachery.

Minister of State for Railways R Velhu confirmed that Rites is already working on feasibility and alignment studies for a further 5 km extension from Velachery to St Thomas Mount. This is costed at Rs4·9bn, which would be funded one-third by IR and two-thirds by Tamil Nadu state government. In the longer term, he suggested the MRTS could be continued north to Egmore to create a circular route.