BENGALURU: Ducking under stationary goods trains, jumping over the couplers connecting freight coaches, running across railway tracks, entering the station through broken fences is the sight every day at Whitefield Railway Station. The safety hazard claimed a victim three months ago, when a techie was hit by a train while crossing the tracks during peak hours.There is a small overbridge that connects all the four platforms, but it is about 1 km away from the main point of entry. Most commuters enter this station through a larger foot overbridge that connects Kadugodi Bus Stand to Station Road, which leads to the station entrance. The two overbridges are far apart and people – from working professionals and college students to senior citizens and school-going children – would rather run through the tracks or duck under standing trains than walk the distance.
“I come from KGF station to work in Brookefield. If I am getting late for work or it’s an emergency, I run across the tracks to reach Platform 2. At times there are goods trains standing still, so I duck under them to cross. If I had the time, I would wait for trains to pass. It is dangerous and the officials need to correct this,” film projectionist Dewakar Raj tells City Express.
“The foot over-bridge from Kadugodi Bus Stand to Station Road goes over all the tracks and does not touch the platforms, serving no purpose. Though 102 trains pass here, only 32 make a stop causing large crowds of people to run on the tracks, to catch the available train,” software professional and rail commuter, Suhas Narayan Murthy tells City Express.“Around 25,000 to 30,000 people frequent Whitefield Station on a daily basis, with trains coming from Yelahanka, KSR (Majestic) and Baiyappanahalli. People jaywalking don’t realise the speed of express trains like Shatabdi, when they are hurrying to work,” Murthy adds.
Bad design, the culprit
Sandeep Anirudhan opined that the station is badly designed and needs more than a cosmetic change. “The main foot over-bridge is 1 km away from the Railway Station entrance. It terminates a little before the platform, where people could get fined if they don’t have a platform ticket. They have to take a long winding road to reach the entrance as that is the only place to buy a ticket,” Sandeep says.
He adds, ”The trouble does not end here. From the ticket counter, a commuter has to climb a smaller foot over bridge that connects the four platforms. How do disabled, those with luggage and others manage?.” The fact that the station has only one entrance, means a commuter coming from the Kadugodi bus stand would have to do the above, if they have the energy and time. To avoid this exertion, people choose to run across tracks and duck when needed.The opposite side is worse off with no station entry, forcing people to duck under fence gaps to get inside. Ask Divisional Railway Manager RS Saxena and he insists that commuters should not be running across tracks.
‘People need to walk a distance’
“There are two F.O.Bs. It can’t be built every few metres. People have to use it. We need to educate people to use them instead of jaywalking across tracks. The platform length itself is only 500 metres and cannot connect directly to the bridge,” Saxena says, in defence.PRO of Bengaluru Division, Sridhar Murthy talks of plans to increase the Whitefield Station Platform length to around 650 metres in the future. While the design is still on the drawing board, the officials hope to cater to 24-coach trains. Whether this will help the average commuter in terms of pedestrian connectivity to the railway station, depends on the design.
Trains at the whitefield Station
1. Trains come from Yeshwanthpur, Yelahanka, Krantiveera Sangolli Raynna, Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield Railway Station.
2. 32 trains stop here while 102 pass through, on all days (fewer on Sundays).
3. 14-15 train services run on the Bengaluru-Whitefield Section, 2400 passengers in each MEMU train
4. Commuters work in ITPL and EPIP companies near the station
Problems faced by commuters
1.Single entrance to Whitefield Railway Station
2. Foot Over Bridge from Kadugodi Bus Stand does not touch platforms
3. Foot Over Bridge 1 km away from station entrance
4. Commuters duck under/ jump over the stationed goods train to reach desired platform
5. Smaller F.O.B connecting platforms is only near the entrance