After much delay and breach of deadlines, Central Railway (CR) officials have now set a new completion date for setting up escalators at Thane railway station. CR officials expect the escalators to become operational from May 15 for commuters’ use. This is the third extension of the opening deadline in three months, after the March 31 and April 15 cut-off dates lapsed. Work on installing escalators began in March, which is a part of the makeover plan to transform Thane station into a ‘world-class’ station, as announced in the Railway Budget, a couple of years ago.
Providing escalators is part of the Railway’s plan to spare commuters the effort of climbing stairs to get to the platforms, especially at crowded stations. The city is earmarked to get 31 escalators at various railway stations by July 2014, which shall be funded by both Indian Railways and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). After installation, Thane would be the first suburban railway station to have escalators in the city.
It has been a long drawn demand of Mumbaikars to have escalators at railway stations, instead of using the foot over bridge (FOB), which can be exhausting. Sources within CR said that work on these escalators at Thane has already commenced with foundation stone laying activity already completed in March. “We have already bought escalators, which shall be fitted at various stations”, said a railway official, on condition of anonymity. Thane station is one of the busiest stations on the CR rail network, wherein over five lakh commuters pass through the station daily.
What’s in store?
>> Suburban rail commuters can look forward to escalators at nine different stations, mainly at Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Thane, Dombivli, Kalyan, Andheri, Goregaon and Borivali in the next two years
>> Each escalator is expected to cost around Rs 75 lakh, including maintenance for three years
>> These heavy-duty escalators will be one-metre wide and six-metre high, which is the average height of FOBs in the city.
>> Each escalator is equipped to carry 9,000 commuters every hour.