The much awaited escalators at the city railway station might soon be open for use, according to railway officials.
“All the four escalators should be ready within the next two to three weeks, though when they may be open for public use, I can’t say,” senior divisional electrical engineer (Bangalore Division) Deva Datta Mishra told City Express.
The station is to have four escalators - one at platform numbers four and five each and two at platform one.
“At platform four, there’s no elevator that connects to the subway, so we thought that an escalator would probably make it more convenient,” he added.
While the escalators at platform one will enable passengers to get up as well as down the walkway that connects platforms, the other two will operate in one direction.
“They can operate both ways, but as climbing up stairs is physically more taxing, we are planning to focus on setting up those that move upwards,” Mishra further said, adding that the escalators are a facility brought in keeping in mind senior citizens and those with medical conditions, who would find taking the stairs difficult.
“Since this is the railway station, we are aware that there are people who would hesitate to get onto an escalator, but we have the lifts for them,” he added.
The escalators, like the elevators here, will be manned by railway staff ‘to avoid any panic situations’. Apparently, the one on platform five has been completed with a successful trial.
“We’re just waiting to open it with the others. I’m sure that it would help, and why not when there have been no problems in Chennai, Hyderabad and other major junctions,” said Mishra.
However, the one in Pune has been in and out of order and there have been several customer complaints too, it seems.
While this is the first station that is to have escalators within the city, another official said that following the operations of the four set up here, they maybe first replicated on the other platforms and then in other railway stations across the city too.
“In a way, this is a pilot project in Bangalore,” he said, adding that escalators could not be simultaneously erected in other places owing to budget constraints.
Travellers that City Express spoke to too seemed to be enthusiastic about the escalator, or ‘machine’ as many of them referred to it.
“Right now, I can climb the stairs, but over the years, it is sure to be helpful,” said Ere Gowda, a retired contractor from Mysore, adding, “We have it in the main bus stop in Mysore, so we’re comfortable using the machine.”
According to Eshvishwaramber Kolekar, who checks for platform tickets, moving stairways would help older members of families keep up with the younger ones. “We see them panting, struggling, feeling awkward that they’re holding everyone up at the stairs,” said the railways employee.
Sathyanarayana Rao, a retired postal department employee from Malur visits the Bangalore station about eight times a month.
“I think, taking the stairs keeps me fit, so even when the machines come up - I would alternate between using them and the staircase,” he said, adding that he is excited about taking his first ride on the escalator, once the Bangalore station ones are opened for use.