KERALA

Second entry to Central rly. station may ease congestion

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MARCH 29. The second entry from the Power House Road to the Central Railway Station, to be commissioned on April 21, is expected to ease the congestion at the station, house a booking office and provide ample parking for 80-odd cars and two-wheelers.

The Union Minister of State for Railways, O. Rajgopal, accompanied by top officials of the railway division inspected the finishing works on Thursday and gave necessary instructions.

The single-storeyed 900-square metre building constructed on the eastern side of the foundation laid for the model railway station is a temporary structure and would house the booking office only, a senior railway official told The Hindu.

Although provision had been provided for four ticket counters, the Railways would be installing only one or two `self-ticket' printing machines as reservation facilities are not available.

The Railways have made provisions for setting up a telephone booth, bookstall and other stalls and has earmarked space for a refreshment stall in the concourse depending upon the response.

The eastern side of the circulating area, has provision for parking of autorickshaws, VVIP cars and the footpath would lead to the foot overbridge.

The western side would have covered parking facilities for two-wheelers and cycles and facilities to park 70-odd cars.

The western side of the new building has been left free and is earmarked for the proposed budget hotel of the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation. A bridge has also been built across the canal in front of the new building.

Railway sources said that 40 loads of silt had been removed from the canal that passes through the Railway premises and now it was up to the State department concerned to widen the arch of the canal.

The foot overbridge (FOB) that has been set up from the eastern side of the circulating area of the second entry, parallel to the existing FOB, connecting all five platforms would enable a passenger to move from the Power House end to the station.

Only the middle portion of the 100-metre long and four-metre wide FOB has to be completed.

However, the Railways have not provided any ramp for the movement of wheelchairs on the FOB.

A senior Railway official said the congested Power House Road would hamper citizens from utilising the second entry to the station properly. One of the gates of the building opens into the mouth of the Pazhavangadi-Central Theatre Road and this is expected to create traffic snarls.

Covering the Amayizhanjan canal with concrete slabs to ensure movement of traffic through it and throwing open the road for two-way vehicular traffic would enable easy access to the second entry, the official said.

The Chief Engineer (Construction), M. Satheesh, said that all the

development works, including steps to introduce trains depends on the popularity of the second entry.

"We are hopeful that the second entry will become popular and will reduce the problems of those coming from the East fort side," he said.

With the completion of the works, the station would have five platform lines with shelters, which can accommodate 22 to 26 coaches, five pit lines, which can contain 19 to 22 bogies and one Engine-Run-Round line, exclusively for the movement of locomotives.

The works implemented in three years had cost the Railways Rs. 23 crores, including Rs. 3 crores for the FOB and second entry building.

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