Delhi Metro uses 19 tunnel boring machines

India’s largest metro rail system, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is using a total of 19 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are simultaneously engaged in constructing Metro tunnels across the length and breadth of the national capital, Delhi, today, thus emerging as one of the largest tunneling projects ever undertaken below any major urban centre globally.   tunnel boring machine

As part of its third phase of expansion, Delhi Metro is constructing over 53 kilometres of underground Metro lines comprising of 74 different tunneling drives of about 37 kms. Approximately, 35 TBMs are to be used for this mammoth assignment during the entire third phase and about 21.kilometres of tunnels (or 41 kms of tunnels including up and down tunnels)and 33 tunneling drives have already been completed so far.  The entire tunneling work of Phase 3 is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

The use of 19 TBMs simultaneously within the confines of one city is probably among the highest used anywhere in the world. In Phase 2, Delhi Metro had used a total of 14 TBMs during the entire span of work.

For the current phase, so many TBMs are being used because the quantum of underground construction has increased significantly in comparison to the last two phases. While, Delhi Metro currently has an operational underground section of approximately 47 kilometres, phase 3 will alone have over 37 kilometres of underground Metro lines.

Delhi Metro is also taking meticulous care to ensure that such massive tunneling activity beneath the surface does not hamper the lives of the people and therefore, before every tunneling drive, detailed soil quality, building condition surveys are done and corrective measures taken if needed. In addition, the progresses of the TBMs are very closely monitored and custom made instrumentation is done above the TBM routes to monitor any movement in the earth’s surface or the condition of the structures above.

The tunneling drives of DMRC have so far passed below many important landmarks of the city such as railway tracks, flyovers, existing Metro viaducts, Metro tunnels etc.  The tunnels have passed below railway tracks (at Palam, ITO), flyovers (at Munirka, Hauz Khas, Palam), Metro viaducts (at Kalkaji, Janakpuri West, Lajpat Nagar), Metro tunnels (at IGI Airport) and  their construction did not cause any disruption to the flow of traffic on the flyovers or movement of trains on the railway tracks above.

The use of so many TBMs has ensured that Delhi Metro has been able to carry out construction work through many congested as well as traffic heavy areas such as Old Delhi, Ring Road, Outer Ring Road etc without any major diversion of the roads or demolition of buildings.

The exact location of the 19 TBMs are mentioned below:


Phase 3 corridor Location of TBM No. of TBMs
Central Secretariat – Kashmere Gate Kashmere Gate to Lal Quila 01


Jama Masjid to Delhi Gate 01


Majlish Park – Shiv Vihar Azadpur to Mukundpur 02


Delhi Cantt. to Naraina 01
Bhikaji Cama Place to Sarojini Nagar 02


South Extension to Lajpat Nagar 02


Janakpuri West – Botanical Garden Dasrathpuri to Dabri Mor 02
Terminal 1 – IGI Airport to Shankar Vihar 02


Munirka to RK Puram 02


IIT – Hauz Khas 01


Hauz Khas – Panchsheel Park 02



Kalkaji Mandir – Nehru Enclave 01