CHENNAI: It was in 1908 that No. 1 Boat Mail left Egmore railway station for its destination, Dhanushkodi. That was the first train said to be operated from the famed railway station about 110 years ago, after that there was no looking back.
Egmore railway station has moved forward with time adding various amenities to render better service to passengers. Presently, the station is 110 years old, as it celebrated its 110th birthday on 11 June.
The building of Egmore railway station was constructed in 1908, and it was on 11 June 1908 that the British authorities took over and began running trains, said a senior official at the station. A small extension work was taken up in 1930.
The major extension work was taken up in 1980 on the main building of Egmore station. The first floor holds passenger reservation counter, the ground floor holds a vegetarian refreshment stall and offices of station officials.
The main building had a width of 74 ft and a length of 300 ft in 1908. At present the main building has a length of 198.4 metres, breadth of 21 metres on the west end and 9.8 metres on the east end, said the official. Currently, the station handles about 55 trains per day on an average (both incoming and outgoing).
Presently, the station has a footfall of one-and-a-half lakh people in a day (both long distance and local train). The moment worth recalling was in 1997 – 1998, for that was the time when the tracks were converted into broad gauge for the mainline. It was only in 2004, that metre gauge became history for local trains.
The last metre gauge local train left Egmore after being flagged off by R Velu, the then Union Minister of State for Railways. Metre gauge local bid goodbye after a glorious service of 73 years. Minister Velu also flagged off the first broad gauge service on 1 November 2004.
What was known as boarding point for the southern parts of the State once, after conversion to broad gauge, trains began operating for destinations like Coimbatore, Salem that lie in the western part of the State, reminded the official. Egmore has now opened train services to Hyderabad in the north, Howrah in the east and Mumbai in the west also.
For rendering better service, the station is now witnessing improvements. The two foot-overbridges on the eastern and western side of the station are being widened. Escalators will be provided at platform 7 and platform 8/9. The staircase on platform 10 and 11, where local trains halt, is being widened, and an escalator there will also come up, said a senior official.