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The new platform coming up on Kallukuzhi

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Several features being introduced at Tiruchi railway station under special project of the Railway Board

Witnessing a steady rise in footfall over the years, Tiruchi railway junction is going through a major makeover aimed at improving passenger-friendly features.

The bustling station is the originating point for several express trains such as Tiruchi-Chennai Rockfort Express, Tiruchi-Chennai Cholan Express, Tiruchi-Thiruvananthapuram Intercity Express and the bi-weekly Tiruchi-Howrah Superfast Express.

Tiruchi-Palakkad passenger and daily passenger trains to Karaikal, Thanjavur, Erode and Cuddalore Port Junction also originate at the junction. Add to them several other express and passenger trains that pass through Tiruchi every day.

According to a senior railway officer, the average footfall at the junction is about 18,500 per day, which peaks during summer vacation.

Categorised as ‘A’ in Southern Railway Zone, Tiruchi junction is one among the select major stations where the ‘Station Redevelopment’ project sanctioned by the Railway Board is apace. A slew of civil works under the end-to-end redevelopment project is being executed at a cost of ₹27 crore.

Topping the list is construction of an eighth platform at Kallukuzhi second entry. The objective is to reduce the waiting time for incoming trains and de-congesting the main entrance.

The Tiruchi railway division has taken up 14 types of works at the station — built during the British Raj — to improve aesthetics and green cover, say officials. They include construction of a new portico at the main entrance, landscaping at the sprawling circulating area, construction of arches at the main entry and exit, construction of storm water drains and compound wall.

The subway leading to all seven platforms is now well-lit and boasts of tiled walls and floor.

The new platform coming up on Kallukuzhi to a distance of 600 metres with shelter and toilet facilities is designed to accommodate over 20 coaches. The railway administration is spending over ₹7 crore exclusively for creation of the additional platform to reduce waiting time for incoming trains, says the official.

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Authorities have also planned to put in place signages at various spots for easier identification of locations.

Railway officials expect the redevelopment works to be completed in a couple of months.

While travellers appreciate the efforts, they also feel constrained to point out a few flaws.

For instance, the floor tiles on the subway may prove slippery, endangering senior citizens using the facility. This could have been avoided by laying anti-skid tiles, feels S. A. Mubashir, joint secretary, Tiruchi Tourism Federation.

Also, provision of escalators in all subway stairs would have ensured hassle-free movement since trains are operated on different platforms. Then, coach indication boards at all platforms to enable passengers board the compartments without a rush, he adds.

The chaos caused by the renovation work is also a matter of concern. The work should have been carried out in stages in front of the station. Now, passengers find themselves scrambling to reach the platform, Mr. Mubashir points out.

On the positive side, the construction of the eighth platform will help trains to be on time instead of waiting between Ponmalai and Tiruchi Junction for want of platform, he feels.

Echoing him is C. Balasubramanian, honorary president, Tiruchi District Exnora.

He says developmental works are welcome at the junction, but the railway authorities should ensure that public have easy access to the station. Utter confusion prevails during peak hour when passenger movement is heavy, he rues.

He lists coach indication boards in all platforms, adequate seating arrangements and toilets in all platforms as must-have features. More importantly, the developmental works should in no way affect the heritage of the station building, he adds.

(source: The Hindu)

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