Waiting no longer a chore at the station

Waiting no longer a chore at the station

New Facility

Waiting no longer a chore at the station

Travelling by the Indian Railways is fun but full of hurdles. As soon as one steps on a mess called the railway station one is greeted by innumerable crowds, hawkers, people running to catch trains, safai karamcharis attempting a clean-up job.

Add to this travellers who make the platforms their makeshift home when trains get delayed.

Imagine yourself in the middle of this chaos in case your train is late and the love for travelling is likely to vanish soon! But this wait, at least at the New Delhi Railway Station is likely to be more pleasant if you were to visit the IRCTC’s latest initiative, the Executive Lounge, located on platform 16.

The lounge is reminiscent of nothing less than a five-star lobby, where you can settle down comfortably and spend time until your train chugs in. At the entrance, you will be photographed and asked for identity proof for security purposes. Pay Rs 300 for initial three hours and enter the lounge spread over two floors and 300 square meters, with a smart card that needs to be recharged with Rs 125 (from every fourth hour).

The lounge has two cloak rooms, one on each floor for heavy luggage. There is a sitting area, a dining area and a WH Smith store for shopping along with printing, phone, fax, scanning and wi-fi facilities available at nominal charges at the business centre on the ground floor.

The first floor is more of a relaxing area with a TV set, a private dining area and washrooms besides four comfortable recliners that have become a favourite with travellers. “Passengers often come upstairs and keep their luggage to book their recliner before they go to the dining area to enjoy their meal or beverage,” informs Yogesh Dora, Head Operations of SSP Catering India Pvt Ltd, which has bagged the tender for running this lounge.

The charges include one of the three buffet meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – along with snacks and a round-the-clock beverage counter. A charge of Rs 175 can also provide the travellers with a wash and change facility. “The penetration for bath is high,” says Yogesh and adds, “Since the lounge provides clean and hygienic toilets which are otherwise difficult to find on the station, it is attracting a lot of crowds. Also, if a group of seven or eight needs the place, we have private areas, one on each floor for them to enjoy their privacy.”

The place has become a hit among passengers who need to wait for a time frame of three to five hours and has already achieved an average of 130 people in a day since its opening in December last.

Some find it a perfect place to continue their official work when their train is delayed while those with young ones prefer the space that allows kids free and safe run. “The gap between my flight and train made me come here,” said Dr Mohan Singh, a first-time visitor and added, “This is an extraordinary facility especially in the extreme weather of Delhi when waiting for a train on a jam-packed platform can take a toll on health. But I wish there were few more recliners and an escalator to enable an old man like me to carry our baggage upstairs.”

But these are really small worries, for the place has proved to be a boon for those travelling via the Indian Railways! These facilities could well be extended to other stations in the city as well as in the country.

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