Once a sleepy station on the outskirts of Bangalore, the Krishnarajapuram (K R Puram) station is all set for a makeover, in phases.
According to station manager John B Abraham, the changes are a result of informal complaints made to him by travellers. "People approached me saying that they were facing a lot of inconvenience as some bogeys stretched on beyond the length of the platform. Hence, I sent a proposal to the sub-divisional office requesting that the platform be extended to accommodate 24 coaches, which is the standard length for long distance trains now," he told City Express.
A railway spokesperson told City Express that the construction would be completed in two weeks. He said that a 150-year-old bridge that passed through one end of the station had obstructed extension of the platform and had been demolished two months ago.
In anticipation of accidents that could occur due to increasing traffic - as many as 44 trains stop at the station both ways in a day - a foot over-bridge from platform 1 up to platform 4 has been constructed. However, this reporter observed people alighting from platform 1 to cut across the tracks, often hurriedly even as a train was within sight.
When questioned about this safety issue, the station manager said that the gate opening into platform 1 was kept closed most of the time in order to prevent trespassing, for which those who violate the norms are liable to pay a fine of Rs 200. He added, "We also want to give an entry point to the foot over-bridge on platform 1 from inside the station and also extend the barricade between the tracks so crossing that way is harder."
Currently, most of the long-distance trains stop on platform 4, while the incoming trains (towards Bangalore City Station) stop at platform 3. Platform 1, which is long enough only for a mere eight coaches, is used for goods and mail trains.
A passenger said, "The authorities must be told to extend the shelter too as, right now, they only cover a part of the platform. So, it only has to start raining, and everyone gets wet."
This too, it seems, is on its way to being implemented in the second phase of the project. A tea kiosk is to be set up in a fortnight, along with a food court, which is to become functional in a couple of months, according to Abraham.
This apart, Abraham added that water shortage is a problem, with the station having to buy 5 tankers of water on a regular basis to use in the toilets. "A proposal for a prepaid auto stand has been sanctioned and should be functional in about two weeks. People are asking for an ATM now," he added.
A general waiting room too is conspicuously missing. "We have an upper class waiting room, but not a general one. Nor are we planning for one in the near future," said Abraham.