Stations in a state of disarray
There are many railway stations that are considered small, but are actually important, considering the number of passengers and the number of long distance trains that stop there.
These stations lack basic amenities and cause plenty of inconvenience to the travellers. Deccan Herald takes a look at some of these stations, situated on the periphery of the City.
Apart from many passenger trains, the Karmelaram station has important trains stopping over such as the Ernakulam Express, Mysore-Mayiladuthurai Express, Yeshwantpur-Cannanore Express and Mysore-Tuticorin Express. There are almost 1,000 people coming to the station per day. But the facilities are very poor.
“I usually catch the Kannur Express train from here and the platform is filled with passengers. The platform here is very low, which makes it extremely difficult for women and children to climb onto and get off the trains,” said George Koshy, a retired army man. The platform is also quite short in comparison to the length of Express trains. Beyond the platform, there are no lights, he said.
Even basic facilities such as drinking water, public toilets and waiting area with shelter are not to be found. There are no announcements made, coach numbers are not displayed on the platforms and reservation facility has not been provided. A common complaint among passengers is that they do not get tickets on time. The station master has to take care of everything, including issuance of tickets.
“We need extra staff to undertake these tasks. It becomes very difficult to handle everything on our own. When there is a point or signal failure, it adds to the burden of normal activities like issuing tickets,” a staffer at the railway station said.
The scene at the Banaswadi railway station is much better. The platform was recently extended, drinking water facility has been provided and regular announcements are made. The improvements follow various complaints to the authorities concerned.
But these amenities are not sufficient considering the number of trains that stop here, which include the Hubli-Chennai Express, Vasco–Chennai Express, Yeshwantpur–Howrah Express, Yeshwantpur–Kannur Express, Yeshwantpur–Kochuveli Express, Yeshwantpur–Pondicherry Express, apart from many passenger trains.
“Although coach numbers have been painted on the platform, they have worn off. Public toilets are there, but are always locked. Refreshments are available only when the stalls open,” said P Kuppusamy, a businessman selling craft items. There is no prepaid auto stand here, resulting in autorickshaw drivers fleecing the passengers.
The bus stop is half a km away, making it difficult for passengers to catch buses to their destinations.
“The lights were repaired around 20 days ago, after we complained, but now some of them are dysfunctional again. We have also demanded a parking lot, high mast lights and a prepaid auto stand (for which the police have expressed eagerness),” said S Murali, member of Eshanya Maha Vedike, a Federation formed by 25 Residents’ Welfare Associations.
The Whitefield railway station is a relatively new railway station, and has nine express trains stopping over, like the Kanyakumari Express and Jolarpettai-Bangalore express. There are also a large number of freight trains stopping there. The station is also in need of a path or bridge connecting the station to the bus stand, which shares a compound with the station.
A majority of the commuters use a gap in the fencing that leads to the tracks, to get to the platform. This way to the platform is dangerous as commuters have to cross multiple tracks.
A railway official admitted a new path was required, but said they could not block the gap in the fencing, as people would otherwise have to walk two km to reach the platform. There are no regular announcements at this station. There are no porters or trolleys to aid passengers carry heavy luggage. Another major drawback is that the station lacks a phone booth. Although there is enough seating arrangement, there is a lack of shelters for the passengers.
But, other facilities at the station are better maintained and there are adequate restrooms. There are also a good number of shops to purchase food and water at the station. It has parking facilities and ample transport for commuters to go to their destinations, like taxis and autos. There is a hospital in the vicinity to cater to medical emergencies.
The Baiyappanahalli railway station does not meet even the basic requirements for a small station, let alone the world-class station that it is planned to be turned into. Announcements of arrival and departure of trains are not made in the station. The station is also characterised by a dire lack of basic amenities.
The only restroom at the railway station is a common bathroom for men and women. It is also not maintained well.
The waiting room remains locked and unused even during peak hours. There is also a dearth of shops where food and water can be bought at the station. The office that handles medical needs, if any, is also locked. There are no porters or facilities like trolleys to aid passengers carrying heavy luggage. There are no guards at the station and it also lacks an overhead bridge across platforms.
However, despite its shortcomings, the station is visibly clean and it does not reflect the garbage city that Bangalore is turning into. It is also well connected to other parts of the City, with the Metro rail operating over it. There are ample taxi and auto stands, enabling commuters to reach their destinations from the station. It also has parking facilities. Express trains like the Bangalore-Jolarpetti Express stop here. There are 12 other passenger trains that stop at this station.