‘The structure can definitely be restored into a service station’

Following widespread outrage over its ‘negative’ stand on reviving Ernakulam Railway Goods (ERG) station into a passenger terminus, Southern Railway is reportedly having second thoughts on the issue.

Though Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra spoke recently about how reviving the station would be unfeasible, a senior railway official said, “It is too early to say that the proposal to revive the station has been shelved. We would in all probability scale down elaborate plans drawn out to convert the station that is remaining unused for the past couple of decades, into a hub for suburban and MEMU trains. The station can definitely be revived into a ‘service station’ so that there is less strain on platforms and other amenities at the two other stations in the city,” he said.

Following Southern Railway’s unexpected U-turn on the issue over a week ago, a whole lot of NGOs, trade union leaders and others had alleged that the agency was playing into the hands of prominent politicians having links with real-estate groups.

Already, encroachers have set up houses and small shops within the 39-acre premises since Railway did not properly fence the prime land located behind High Court of Kerala.

The Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division had drawn up elaborate plans to optimally utilise space by hosting five platforms, three pit lines and three stabling lines.

The track laid many decades ago up to the main line at Pachalam is largely intact. Surprisingly, the amenities were not utilised though Ernakulam Junction and Town stations are hard pressed for space.

Early this year, the Southern Railway had forwarded a Rs.300-crore project to Railway Board to renovate and revive the station and the adjoining track.

Mr. Misra’s recent statements came as a shock to people who were hoping that the agency would tidy the station premises to begin skeletal service of passenger trains in the project’s preliminary phase, at a cost of Rs.100 crore.

Harbour Terminus

Amenities at Harbour Terminus railway station in Wellingdon Island, which fell into disuse after train services were called off following a dredger ramming Venduruthy bridge, too are unused. The construction of new Venduruthy railway bridge – a crucial link to the station, is suffering inordinate delay. The approaches on either side have to be linked with the bridge portion.

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