123-year-old Udvada railway station to be spruced up as pilgrimage destination

Feb 15, 2018, 08:30 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

The Parsi holy town's station, which was repaired following a series of mid-day reports, to now get air-conditioned waiting rooms and other passenger-friendly amenities

Udvada station is already undergoing a basic upgrade with platforms being raised and paved
Udvada station is already undergoing a basic upgrade with platforms being raised and paved

Udvada, the holiest Parsi town in the world, will finally get the railway station it deserves. Six months after Parsi museum caretaker Aspi Sepoy lost his legs in a railway accident here, the Western Railway has decided to overhaul the complete look and ambience of the 123-year-old station and turn it into a 'pilgrimage destination station'.

WR is also improving passenger amenities at Udvada station
WR is also improving passenger amenities at Udvada station

Built in 1895, Udvada station is the gateway to the town that is home to Iranshah, one of the oldest and holiest fire temples for Zoroastrians. Through the year, hundreds of visitors pour into the town to pray at the agiary, but the tiny station is not equipped to deal with such heavy traffic.

Several commuters have had nasty accidents because of the gap between the train and platform. This is how Aspi Sepoy lost his legs on September 15, 2017. Aspi is finally back on his feet and on the road to recovery with prosthetics. Meanwhile, following mid-day's relentless coverage of the accident and the state of the station, WR finally commissioned an upgrade of the station. Platforms have been raised and paved, and passenger amenities have been improved. The old foot overbridge (FOB) has also been strengthened.

Heritage look
Now, however, the authorities have also decided a complete overhaul of the station, so it's look and ambience match its importance for the Zoroastrian community. The old station will retain its original glory, and the entire project will be monitored by a conservation architect of repute. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 3.2 crore, while an additional Rs 1.2 crore will be spent to rebuild the FOB. The process of issuing tenders has already been completed and they will be opened this month. The entire project is expected to complete in a year or so.

WR will give the station building a heritage look, by using heritage revival bricks, replacing old doors with Burma teak wood heritage doors and windows and new Mangalore tiles. Other features include wall murals, heritage-style benches, domes and gables, and high-end toilets.

Improved amenities
An official said the basic work involves adding a host of passenger amenities to make it more convenient for the visitors. The additional amenities include new first and second-class air-conditioned waiting halls, five retiring rooms where one can stay overnight, as well as providing easier access to the station.

"Udvada is an important station and we have worked out a plan to completely revamp and convert it into a pilgrimage destination with enhanced facilities and infra. The station will get a makeover over the next year," said Ravinder Bhakar, Western Railway's chief public relations officer.

Rs 3.2 cr
Cost of overhauling the station

Rs 1.2 cr
Additional cost of rebuilding the FOB

123
Age of the railway station

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