VIJAYAWADA: The Vijayawada Division of the South Central Railway (SCR) is focusing its attention on the Krishna Pushkarams next year, drawing from the experience it has gained in organising trains and providing facilities to the pilgrims who visited Rajahmundry, Kovvur and other places to participate in the recently-concluded Godavari Maha Pushkaralu.
To begin with, it wants to increase the operational efficiency of the Vijayawada Railway Station by putting in place the route-relay interlocking system by December this year.
At present, even if platform 9 or 10 is vacant, the Howrah-bound trains have to wait until some other platform is available and this is affecting the operational efficiency of the station.
According to Vijayawada divisional railway manager Ashok Kumar, managing trains and providing facilities to pilgrims during the GMP were major challenges. “The state government said the number of pilgrims who came to Rajahmundry and Kovvur and took the holy dip in River Godavari during the ‘Pushkarams’ was about five crore. Our estimates of the number of passengers who used our trains is about 32 lakh and we have provided them all facilities and it was quite a daunting task,” he told newsmen here on Tuesday.
“The toughest part was running the trains as we had announced that we would be operating 508 special trains in addition to the existing 80. We had attached 428 extra coaches to the trains. As train traffic was so much - a train every half an hour - we had to monitor them round-the-clock. We could not allow a train to leave the station until the train that had left earlier had reached the next station. That roughly took half an hour,” he said.
The Vijayawada Division had netted `36 crore during the ‘Godavari Maha Pushkarams’ by way of ticket sales, he said