BENGALURU:The City's oldest railway station still lacks a basic amenity, a trolley path, a facility that is provided at stations to ensure easy movement of luggage between platforms. This makes travelling from the Cantonment railway station a tough affair for many passengers, especially those with heavy-weight suitcases , and the differently-abled.
An average of 125 Express and Passenger trains halt at this station every day with the number of footfalls a day averaging 25,000. And on weekends, this number goes up. Yet, the only connectivity between the two platforms at this station is a foot over bridge (FOB) with a steep flight of stairs on either side along the railway line leading to the City railway station. Again, the absence of lifts or escalators in Bengaluru's first railway station (where the first train was run by the British in August 1864 upto Jolarpettai) is confounding.
Passengers or visitors to the station enter through the main entrance on Bamboo Bazaar Road (platform one) or the second entry from the Jayamahal Road side (platform two) and head to their respective platforms. Those who are able, try to jump down and trespass the tracks.
An eyewitness at the Cantonment railway station revealed a pathetic situation which took place here recently, where a differently-abled person was taken on a wheelchair on platform one upto the stairs by an attender. "Another person's help was sought and both of them carried the person seated on the wheelchair up the stairs. The wheel chair was then wheeled on the bridge. Again, to alight the stairs, the wheelchair had to be lifted and carried down." The scene shocked him and provoked him take up the matter with top railway officials.
A railway employee here said, "We have been asking for a trolley path for over seven years now. It is not just the differently-abled who struggle. Even passengers with heavy luggage, and middle-aged and elderly women have a tough time every day climbing up and down these steep stairs."
He adds that another FOB with stairs was needed at the other end of the platforms, along the Baiyappanahalli route. "One needs to walk considerably from one end of the platform to reach the other end. Another bridge is definitely required," the employee said.
An official said, "Installing a lift will help the persons with disabilities easily. An escalator can cater to the needs of other passengers."
Asked about how the disabled who land up at the wrong platform cope with it, an official said, "We tell them to take an auto and reach the other entry of the station."
When divisional railway manager R S Saxena was contacted, he said, "People generally know which platform their train is coming to and reach the correct platform. So, the question of crossing over between platforms happens rarely.
Senior Divisional Commercial Manager N R Sridharamurthy told Express, "We will be creating a Trolley Path here within the next three months. The technical feasibility is under now. Lifts will also be installed within nine months."