In a step to make travel a pleasant experience for the disabled and the elderly, lifts and an escalator will start operating at the city railway station in the first week of September.
The station premises were humming with activity on Sunday with technicians fixing an escalator. Three lifts are already in place on platforms one to three. Safety trials are over and certificates have been obtained.
Senior railway officials say the lifts and the escalator cost about Rs.3.5 Crore, and it is another step towards Railways’ ambition to transform the station into a world-class one.
“The Kozhikode railway station falls in the A1 category as annual income from passenger footfalls is over Rs. 60 crore. As per the Railway Board guidelines, A1-category stations have to offer passenger amenities for the disabled and the elderly, such as ramps and escalators, necessarily to elevate it to a world-class station,” Mohan Menon, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Palakkad Division told.
He said Railways had decided to extend such passenger amenities to A-category stations and had identified 300 such stations across the country.
“We have to take into consideration an ageing population which is continuing to travel. There is a demand on Railways to make travel experience easier and comfortable,” Mr. Menon said.
Railway officials said more surveillance cameras and car scanners were required to check vehicles. “This security measure will be implemented shortly,” he said.
Asked about the state of baggage scanners on the railway station premises as part of the integrated security system, Mr. Menon said though multiple entrances and exits made security checking a challenge, the scanners were used whenever there was an alert or in case of any “doubt.”
During a visit here earlier in the month, Rakesh Mishra, General Manager of Southern Railway, had promised that development works at the station would be completed soon.
Several demands have been made to improve the station infrastructure, including canopies for the platforms, footbridges connecting the platforms, a south-side entry to the station and an international shopping complex on its premises.
The important suggestions raised by the public and trader groups include improvement of the stations at West Hill, Vellayil and Kallai in the city, completion of the doubling of the Shoranur-Mangalore line, installing an automatic signalling system, electrification of the line, and reducing the running time of trains between the two stations. The demand for the Kozhikode-Mysore line has been revived.
Other suggestions were adding more compartments to trains, starting work on the coach factory in Kanjikode, new trains to Bokaro and New Delhi, via Vijayawada and Nagpur, another to Chennai, and a Jan Shatabdi Express between Kozhikode and Tiruchirapalli.