The long wait to start the work to make Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station world-class will end on Monday, when automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) will be commissioned and the blueprint for a new booking office will be unveiled.

The railway station is the biggest in the State. “We are preparing to take up the interventions being planned on a massive scale in 2013 and to make the central station world class by 2014,” Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal told The Hindu.

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor will commission the two ATVMs, the first in the State, that are expected to reduce chaos prevailing near the railway booking office at Thampanoor.

One of the 10 ATVMs

The ATVMs are among the 10 being installed at Ernakulam South, Kottayam, Aluva and Thrissur railway stations. For this, ‘smart cards’ will be used for the first time in the State, which has been specially designed and developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems.

The new railway booking office will come up beneath the reservation office.

The existing eight booking counters are congested, and the queues spill over outside the concourse, often affecting the vehicle movement in front of the station.

“This area will be vacated so that the booking counter area can be converted into an executive lounge by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Hotels and Resorts,” Mr. Agrawal said.

The cash office, situated near the entry to the foot-overbridge on platform one, has been vacated for housing the booking office.

Mr. Agrawal said the ground floor would be converted into a new booking office with 12 counters, a lounge area and a walking concourse with shelter.

Being taken up under a special collaborative scheme between the Union Ministries of Railways and Tourism, the attempt is to create modern, world-class infrastructure and facilities.

14 major items

Under this, 14 major items of work for infrastructure development, augmenting passenger facilities and transforming existing levels of customer care, cleanliness and punctuality will be taken up.

Interventions will be particularly in the areas of architecture, ambience and access.

Besides constructing the booking office and an executive lounge, the areas identified for improvement are waiting and retiring rooms, pay-and-use toilets, garbage disposal, cloak room facilities, signage, circulating area and providing access to the disabled. VIP entry from the Nagercoil end, a VIP lounge, and VIP parking, separate parking for two- and four-wheelers and autorickshaws, landscaping, toilet block at the Pettah end, extension of a skywalk to the upcoming KSRTC complex, foot-overbridge at the Nagercoil end, escalators and lifts and integrated surveillance system are also being planed.

Fund outlay

Already, Rs.10 crore has been earmarked for the works to be taken up during 2012-13. Mr. Agrawal said the division was able to manage additional funds for the ATVMs and Rs.5 crore from the State for the skywalk extension.