BENGALURU: Passengers find it very difficult to disembark on Platform One of the Cantonment Railway Station as it is comparatively lower than most platforms. Over 50 trains from across the country have a brief stopover here en route the City Railway Station daily.
Thousands of passengers, especially senior citizens and women, struggle to step down from the trains. Some have to sit on the floor of the train to jump off the first step to the platform, and then get up or take the support of people on the platform or co-passengers.
Almost 100 trains (the number varies daily as some trains are bi-weeklies or weeklies) pass through Cantonment Station on a daily basis and half of them have a stopover on Platform 1, informs a railway official.
An extension of the platform — 1A — also has this problem. This platform is used only for two trains originating from here, Vijayawada Express and Kolar Passenger. Platforms Two and Three do not have any issues as the platforms are of sufficient height.
Muzzammel, a businessman, who got down at the station with his family from the Arakkonam Passenger train said he takes great care each time. “People waiting behind to get down also put some pressure by goading you to get down quickly as the trains have a brief halt here. Something must definitely be done about this issue.”
Rihanna Banu was sitting down at the doorstep before getting down from the Karaikal Express. “The distance between the steps and platform is huge. So to avoid falling down I sit and then get up.”
Also on the same train was a senior citizen couple, Jayaseeli and James, who got down with the help of younger family members. “I was about to slip and fall when getting down today. This is a serious issue for us at this age,” James said.
A local taxi driver here (who wanted to remain anonymous), who waits near the platform scouting for passengers, said he has helped countless people get down.
“The problem is acute with the Chennai-Bangalore AC Double Decker train (which arrives at 12.33 pm on PF1) as the steps in that train are generally at a higher level than other trains. “Some women and senior citizens have to be held on either side by two people before they alight,” he added.
Two railway officials at the station conceded the problem gets acute with the double decker train.
A Government Railway Policeman, a witness to the issue daily, say Platform One was constructed during the Meter Guage days and no improvements have been made since then.
“Youngsters who hastily jump out of the train before it halts too do not expect the platform to be so low and suffer injuries,” a cop said. Another official here said he had seen some people fall and suffer injuries during the last six months and complaints are recorded with the Station Master.
Station Master T Raju flatly denies any issue over the platform height.”I have not received a single complaint and the passengers do not have any problem,” he claims and walks away.
So, is there a solution in sight for this obvious issue? Divisional Railway Manager, Sanjiv Agarwal concedes the lower level of the platform could cause inconvenience to passengers. “Granite flooring can be done here so that the platform gets some elevation. But increasing the height to that of other platforms can be attempted only in the next financial year as works to be done this year have already been budgeted,” he said.
Kinds of Platforms
Three kinds of platforms exist in railway stations across the country. Platforms along the rail height are called rail level and they run along the tracks. They are found in small stations (E category stns) where passenger trains run. Medium platforms touch up to 45 cm in height. High level platforms, present at all important stations, range between 76 and 84 cm in height. At Cantonment station, PF 1 and 1A fall between the medium and high categories, causing inconvenience to passengers. PFs 2 and 3 fall under the high level.