Indian Railways planning airport-like upgrades for Stations

Indian Railways is among the most important departments of the Indian Government with the large asset base and manpower it employs throughout the country. To keep up with the urban trends, the department is constantly looking for ways to upgrade processes, systems, and infrastructure at Indian Railways. Such initiatives have given us the new executive trains with modern interiors and the construction of smart stations across several locations across the country.

As per several reports, Railways are planning a major upgrade across the country with the renovation of existing railway stations into extravagant buildings with airport-like facilities, helipads, executive lounges, retail outlets and waiting areas.

To revolutionize the railway experience for passengers, the railway ministry is planning to transform train journey in India into an altogether fantastic experience with futuristic world-class stations that will sweep clear the long, tiring queues at station entry, re-organize the disorderly waiting halls, and maintain cleanliness at the station, including all toilets.

Stations to be renovated in 1st phase

The Railway Ministry has chosen to redevelop 90 railway stations into world-class transit hubs which include Tirupati, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada station in Andhra Pradesh, Guwahati station in Assam, Patna, Patliputra & Sonpur station in Bihar, Chandigarh station, Raipur station in Chhattisgarh, Safdarjung, Anand Vihar stations of Delhi, Madgaon station of Goa, Gandhinagar, Surat & Ahmedabad station in Gujarat among several others.

Some stations like Habibganj station in Bhopal and Gandhinagar station in Gujarat are already undergoing a major renovation and are expected to complete the process by mid-2019. Habibganj station is the first station in the country to fall under the PPP-model (Public-private partnership) and may set a benchmark model for all to follow throughout major stations across the country.

What the new stations will look like

Structurally, the planned stations may have three levels. The top level will be used by outbound passengers while those transmuting from trains will use subways in the basement as the exit from the station building. This suggestion is being considered as the ministry aims to control passenger traffic. Anil Saxena, a spokesperson for the railway ministry said that “the world-class stations will be sketched as a multi-modal transit hub. The stations will have sufficient seating and waiting areas to avoid overcrowding”.

These stations will have organized pick up and drop off parking facilities too. To add to the glamour, the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) is in talks with retail giants like PVR Cinemas, Big Bazaar and Shoppers Stop to set shop on these coveted railway stations.

The redevelopment plan also includes proposals to establish facilities like CCTV camera systems, Wifi-connectivity, modular water kiosks for drinking water, ATMs, LED lights, lifts, escalators, stainless steel benches, modular catering kiosks among other. Apart from these facilities, the waiting halls, waiting rooms, retiring rooms, and washrooms at the stations will also be upgraded.

Additionally, to function like Airports, the Indian Railways is planning to seal platforms for all except the passengers. In this system, passengers will have to arrive 15-20 minutes before the scheduled departure of their trains to perform a security check. The security plan – with high-end technology – has already been put in motion at Prayagraj, in the apprehension of the Kumbh Mela.

While plans like these are extremely attractive prospects, history suggests that the implementation of these upgrades to the railway system of our country will take years, and more years after practical challenges come into play and delay projects.

Sources: UNI, TOI, Financial Express
Image Credits: Financial Express

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