10 stations on the Western line, 8 on Central and 2 on Harbour have been identified for the Indian Railways and state government’s grand plans; apart from having improved facilities, these stations will also be connected to other transport modes such as Metro and Monorail
News trickling in from the first ever high-level joint meeting between the Maharashtra government and Indian Railways will surely bring a smile to the faces of Mumbaikars, who can now look forward to swankier suburban stations and more seamless connectivity.
The Andheri station, which was recently renovated, is an example of how other stations might look in the future. Pics/Satyajit Desai
The Central railway ministry and the state government have reportedly given the green signal to an ambitious Rs 2,000-crore joint project, in which 20 railway stations on the Central and Western lines will be completely revamped.
The recently renovated Andheri station is an indication of what suburban stations in the city might look like in the future once the Rs 2,000-crore project takes off
According to a senior railway official who attended the meeting on January 8, the renovation will be undertaken at the stations and the area around them.
Not only would they be renovated to ensure more space and better facilities escalators, foot overbridges, ATVMs, etc these stations would connect commuters to other transport modes such as the Metro rail or buses. “The whole idea is to provide seamless transfer for commuters using the railways, Metro rail, Monorail and BEST,” said the official.
Andheri, an example?
Presently, the Andheri station, which was recently renovated, is a clear example of how a railway station in Mumbai might look in the future. The authorities have already made ample changes at the station, especially on the west side.
Ticket counters have been shifted to the first floor along with the ATVMs to make the ticket booking process smoother. There are open spaces to accommodate the peak hour commuter traffic, and the gleaming concourse is clean and well-lit.
On the east side of the station, the suburban rail connects with the Metro rail through the skywalk, making the transit from one service to another easier. Below, work is going on to extend the Harbour line till Goregaon. Sources said that this will slowly become the model that they will follow at all 20 selected stations.
“We will be implementing this project under the phase-III of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP),” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity. It must be noted that Andheri station is one of those stations, and it will continue to see more changes.
As per the plans, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will transfer the eatery counters and all other stalls and restaurant chains to upper floors, leaving the ground floor free for commuter movement.
Where possible, the authorities might even create commercial office spaces on the upper levels. “We will use the air space at these railway stations and everything will be shifted there,” said an MRVC official.
“Railways is important for the Government of India. Yesterday (Thursday) we met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and discussed having an integrated transport system that can be developed in Mumbai in a holistic manner,” said Suresh Prabhu, Union railway minister.
Possible new features
>> Ample space to walk on platforms after book stalls and food stalls are shifted
>> More facilities such as foot overbridges, walkalators, escalators and elevators
>> Interconnectivity with different modes of transport with pathways to bus stops, auto rickshaw and taxi stands, Metro rail and Monorail
>> Electronic boards to display schedules for different modes of transport wherever they intersect
>> Additional ticket booking counters, ATVMs, cash/coin ticket vending machines
>> Commercial office spaces on the upper levels of the stations
Saiesh Chodankar, Thane resident
Stations should have small chemist stalls that could be useful in time of crisis. Further, people spitting should be heavily fined so that they will not repeat such acts. Seating arrangements and platform height should be improved at the stations.
Ganesh Padmanabhan, Chembur resident
WiFi connectivity at stations would be a boon. In addition, clean toilets and drinking water facilities at platforms should be top priority, especially at Harbour line stations.