Years of neglect will come to an end when one of the oldest railway stations in the city, at Perambur, gets a facelift.
Work on developing modern facilities, including extension of existing platforms for long-distance trains, and computerised reservation counters has already begun.
A part of Southern Railway’s Improvement of Passengers Amenities Scheme for 2011-2012, the project is aimed to revamp existing facilities and improve basic amenities for commuters.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs. 1.2 crore and the work is expected to be completed in six months from the date of commencement.
“A total revamp is being undertaken after several decades, keeping in mind of the needs of commuters, including long-distance travellers. Once completed, it will give a fresh look to the station,” said station manager S. Murugadoss.
Considered the oldest railway station in the city after Royapuram, Perambur has been one of the busiest stations in the western part of the city, connecting Chennai Central with Arakkonam, Tiruvallur and Tiruttani.
Every day, on an average, more than 40,000 commuters use the station that has at least 140 suburban train services and 29 long-distance trains.
Perambur is the fifth-largest station after Chennai Central, Egmore, Tambaram and Mambalam, in terms of commuter traffic.
At present, work on extension of two platforms (2 and 3) is being undertaken to make it suitable for 12-compartment trains. These platforms are fit to accommodate just nine-compartments trains — mostly, suburban services.
However, long-distance trains too ply on these tracks, making their way to Chennai Central. For years, passengers on these trains, especially those in the last compartments, have jumped onto the platforms as they do not extend all the way.
Many passengers also end up getting hurt in the process.
“The facility needs a major revamp because it is not a mere station but a part of the city’s heritage,” said S. Meenakshi, a commuter from Perambur.
Another major commuter-friendly initiative being undertaken is the construction of two additional entrances on both ends of the railway station. At present, the station has only one entrance.
Commuters, especially those who have travelled long distances, and senior citizens, find it difficult to walk the one-kilometre distance from the last compartment to the single entry/exit point which is at the centre of the station.
The additional entrances will help them exit the station faster and access the bus terminus located a few hundred metres away. Also, an additional five shelters will be built on platforms one and two where most of the long-distance trains halt.
To decongest the traffic chaos in front of the station and allow commuters easy access to the station, dedicated two-wheeler and car-parking facility will be built on 6,000 square metres.
The station will also be equipped with more water taps and coolers, seating arrangement, refreshment outlets and better illumination.
About 140 light sets have been installed so far, and another 80 will be put up soon. The dilapidated Government Railway Police (GRP) station will be shifted to a new building close to the station.
As a security measure, each platform will have a police help desk to assist commuters.