Nagpur railway station is heading for paradigm shift in train operations

NAGPUR: With the Central Railway expediting work on platform No. 8 at Santra Market (east side), the Nagpur Railway Station is heading for paradigm shift in train operations.

As the passenger and freight train traffic is increasing day-by-day, there is huge congestion at Nagpur. The Railways is facing complexity of operations with criss-crossing of Central Railway and South East Central Railway (SECR) trains at T-junction towards Itarsi and Gondia end causing conflict.

“The platform number 8 (home platform) is a bigger part of the strategy to see that there is no conflict and SECR trains coming from Howrah are admitted here overcoming congestion at Nagpur. These trains will straightway head for Ajni through the present Engine Line, which had a speed potential of only 10 kmph and is now being upgraded to 100 kmph without using much additional resources,” said divisional railway manager of Central Railway Brijesh Dixit.

Dixit further said apart from starting and terminating some originating trains from Nagpur, the dedicated platform will prove to be a boon for passing trains to west and south. These trains, at times, have to be kept waiting at the outer for want of space at platform No. 2, 3 and 4, causing inconvenience to passengers.

As complex operations are impacting train movement, the Central Railway now will take up work on Nagpur-Kalamna double line. “However, as the project belongs to SECR, our job will be confined to junction only. It will include installing points and crossings for entry and exit of trains,” Dixit said.

The Rs21 crore Nagpur-Kalamna double line project was sanctioned in 2009, but encroachments have stalled it. SECR ADRM Saibal Bose said that almost 90% of the work has been completed except laying of track in one-km patch which full with encroachments. He said that Central Railway will do doubling work and removal of encroachments in its jurisdiction.

As SECR is unable to complete the project, Central Railway has pitched in to provide dedicated facility for arrival and departure of its trains by taking up doubling work at junction. The high-level platform would accommodate trains with 24 coaches.

“The best part is that the same line which will join the main line at Ajni will be integrated as the third line between Nagpur and Wardha. Survey work for third line is already in progress in certain patches,” said additional DRM Uday Borwankar.

The paradigm shift is being brought about by combining various works like creation of home platform, doubling of Kalamna-Nagpur and Godhni-Kalamna lines, two works of replacement of mechanical lever frame signalling and replacement of signalling panel at Ajni ‘A’ Cabin. By executing all these works simultaneously in tandem with each other, not only an additional line (third line) has been created right from Kalamna end of Nagpur station to Ajni ‘A’ cabin, but also conflicting movements of goods and mail/express trains towards Howrah will be avoided, which was never a possibility otherwise.

The four-km Engine Line already exists between Ajni and Nagpur. The line has been upgraded from 10 kmph to 50 kmph now and will further be upgraded to 100 kmph in next three months to ready it for passenger traffic.

Borwankar said the seven age-old lever frame cabins en route, which once used to manually operate train movement, will be replaced with two central panels one each at Ajni and Nagpur.

“At least, a dozen passenger trains from Howrah direction and freight trains will benefit,” Borwankar said.

On the issue of lack of infrastructure at Santra Market side, Borwankar informed the station area will be rearranged by providing enhanced parking for cars, two-wheelers and autorickshaw stand. The railways have plan for an executive lounge, waiting rooms, food stalls, heritage lamps, drop and go facility at the train’s doorstep among other things.

Work on home platform started in October 2012. Although it looks challenging, plans are afoot to open the platform by October this year with almost 50% of the work already completed.