The station will remain shut to carry out maintenance and renovation work.
DEHRADUN: Dehradun railway station has been shut for next three months starting Sunday to carry out maintenance and renovation work at the station. All trains operating from Dehradun station will now start from and end at other nearby stations such as Haridwar and Harrawala.
According to railway officials, the two superfast trains going to New Delhi — Shatabdi and Nandadevi Express — will run from Harrawala railway station, while other trains will either terminate at Haridwar railway station or have been cancelled till further notice. The train services are expected to resume from February 7 next year.
After the Dehradun-New Delhi Jan Shatabdi Express and Indore Express departed on Sunday, the station wore a deserted look as all the shops on platforms and outside were closed. The hustle and bustle of autos and tempos outside the railway station was also missing. Neither coolie not officials were seen at the railway station of the capital city.
On the other hand, the Harrawala railway station, some 12 km from the city, which hardly got any passengers till now, is being given a facelift as two important trains, Shatabdi and Nandadevi Express, will run from here for next 45 days — till December 24, 2019. The next 45 days, starting from December 25 till February 7, these two trains will start and terminate at Haridwar.
Besides these two, as many as 16 trains (up and down) will culminate at Haridwar or other railway stations. While the New Delhi- Dehradun Jan Shatabdi will remain cancelled from November 11, the Link Express that comes to Dehradun from Prayahraj will terminate at Aligarh from November 10. Similarly, train from Muzaffarpur to Dehradun will terminate at Najibabad.
Trains like Varanasi-Dehradun, Indore-Dehradun, Okha-Dehradun, Mussorrie Express, Ujjain-Dehradun and many others will remain suspended for next three months.
The tourism industry in Uttarakhand fears loss of revenue as Indian Railways announced halting rail movements to (and from) Dehradun at the peak season when large number of tourists visit places like Mussorrie, Dhanaulti, Chakrata during new year and snowfall.
“Usually tourists come to the state capital, spend a day or two here, and then go to hill stations like Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and Chakrata. But now, Dehradun is likely to witness a dip in tourist footfall,” said Sandeep Sahni, the president of Uttarakhand Hotel and Restaurant Association. He added that halting train movement for three months during peak tourist season would hurt the state’s economy badly. “We understand that the project will be beneficial for the state in the long-term, but undertaking the project during this time of the year could have been avoided,” Sahni further said.
Lack of facilities at Harrawala railway station is also a worrying factor. “The railway station doesn’t have a single vendor who can at least sell water to the passengers. The worst part is the conveyance facility. I am taking Shatabdi, so have hired a cab to take me to Harrawala. But I am worried how will I reach home when I come back as am taking Nandadevi on Tuesday which would arrive here around 5 am and there is no local conveyance available,” said Arun Gautam, a local businessman.
The problem of unavailability of public transport at the Harrawala railway station was shared by Tanvi and Prafful Kumar, too, who were travelling to Mussorrie for the weekend and were returning back on Sunday. “This place is the outskirts and passengers travelling in the night should be cautious,” said Prafful.
The shutting down of Dehradun railway station has affected the reservations of Shatabdi Express as most of passengers avoided catching the train from Harrawala and hence the train went almost empty from here. “Maximum reservations are done from Roorkee and Haridwar while earlier, the train used to run almost full from Dehradun itself. Awareness should be spread in this regards that people can take this train from Harrawala too,” said the TT of Shatabdi train who didn’t wish to be named.
To recall, Indian Railways, earlier this month has announced that train services to and from Dehradun railway station will be halted between November 10, 2019, and February 7, 2020, due to renovation work being undertaken at the city station.