BENGALURU: The Bengaluru Cantonment railway station has recently been handed over to the South Western Railway (SWR) Zone and major plans are in the offing for a complete overhaul of passenger amenities here. With the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) in the process of carrying out the formalities of winding down the establishment, the redevelopment of this station entrusted to it will be done by the Constructions Division of the Zone.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, General Manager, SWR, Sanjeev Kishore said enhancing passenger amenities would be the priority. "We are conceptualising a detailed plan for it in consultation with other railway organisations, the state government and other Bengaluru-based organisations. Providing more facilities to public is our priority. The station will have two new platforms, better parking facilities and more space for movement of passengers inside and around the station," he said.
Cantonment has four platforms which of which 1, 1A and 2 can run full-length while platform 1B can run only the smaller sized MEMU/DEMU trains. Another official said, "The addition of new platforms will ensure that more trains can be run from the Division from here as well as the soon to be launched Sir M Visvesvariah Terminal in Baiyappanahalli."
A railway source based at the station said, "The major problem faced by passengers here is the acute shortage of parking space. People need to cross over from the bigger parking lot across to reach our station in the face of vehicles rushing. The ticket booking area is really cramped and the concourse area is small on the main entry side. The back entry too is congested and the roads leading from it are quite narrow. We want to improve all these aspects." It would be a major challenge due to the less space available, he added. "Since we border the main road, the traffic police needs to be roped in and road diversions need to be planned. Co-ordination with other projects like the exclusive Suburban Rail Terminal and the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project have to be done," he said.
Despite being the oldest station in the city, it lacks a few vital facilities putting passengers to hardship. "Passengers need to climb steep stairs to cross over between Platform 1 and 2 as there is no subway or any other form of connectivity. Many end up at the wrong platform and rush over to the other side when they hear about the arrival of the train. We have often noticed the disabled, women and particularly senior citizens struggle to cross between platforms."
Much improvement has happened over the years but there is still a lot of scope for improving quality and choice of food, waiting rooms and medical facilities, he added.