Nashik (NSK): The railways has decided to temporarily close down the goods sheds at Nashik station and use those to accommodate pilgrims during Kumbh Mela, besides constructing several infrastructure facilities for their benefits.
There are two big goods sheds where cement is unloaded from the wagons and then reloaded on transport trucks for carrying it to different parts of the city and the district. These sheds will form the base for holding the pilgrims, who would leave Nashik to their respective destinations after the Shahi Snan ritual.
“The traffic movement plan of Kumbh Mela shows that the two good sheds will be restricted for free entry during the Shahi Snan period and the passenger amenities on a temporary basis will be created in the areas to facilitate their movement, temporary waiting and departing the city. The trains will pick them up from the platform of the goods sheds, which will act as the additional platform (PF) 1A,” a railway official said.
The project worth Rs 63.24 lakh has been awarded to a contractor and will be started at the earliest with the sheds being closed for loading and unloading of current. The station is getting an overhaul and various amenities for the passengers are being developed. “The passenger amenities include toilet blocks and water posts on the PF 4 which is under construction.
A big holding area has been created on the Sinnar-side of the station, which will serve as the incoming source for the pilgrims leaving Nashik. The construction of a booking office is also on,” an official said.
The booking office on the Sinnar-side of the station will have three booking offices, where a complex with a permanent waiting hall will be constructed. This will help people coming from the Sinnar-phata side.
Since a holding area is being planned at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee at Nashik Road, this entry point will ensure easy access to the station. The work of the foot over-bridge for picking up passengers from outside the station and dropping them at platforms 2, 3 and 4 is also being carried out.
Amenities such as sheds to retain the pilgrims, queue-railings, waiting halls, toilet blocks and tents, bathrooms and booking windows will be done on a temporary basis. “We will raise some temporary infrastructure that will not be required after the Kumbh Mela. These structures will be raised later.
The projects worth Rs 81.93 lakh have been awarded to contractors and will start simultaneously at Deolali, Nashik Road, Odha stations and at Trimbakeshwar from April-end,” an officer said. The administration has also planned public information booths, cloak room, catering arrangements for pilgrims through the vendors.
Platform no. 1 to be extended to accommodate Panchavati Express
The railways has decided to extend platform no. 1 towards Manmad to accommodate the Panchavati Express in its return journey at the Nashik Road railway station, a long-pending demand of the passengers.
“The 490-m platform, which, at present, hosts 18 coach trains, is unable to accommodate the Panchavati Express in either direction. There has been a long-pending demand of the passengers that the Panchavati Express departs and arrives from Mumbai on platform no. 1, as it used to earlier. Once the platform is extended before the Kumbh Mela begins, at least the arrival of the train (from Mumbai) on platform no. 1 will be assured,” a senior railway official said.
The current length of the platform does not accommodate a train with more than 19 coaches, as a result of which, the arrival of Panchavati Express (from Mumbai), with 22 coaches, was shifted from platform no. 1 to platform no. 2. The passengers have long been demanding that the train’s arrival be shifted to platform no. 1 with a double halt facility as is done in local trains in Mumbai, but it has not been possible so far.
During the Kumbh Mela, platform nos. 3 and 4 will be occupied with in-bound and out-bound passenger traffic through special trains, while platform nos. 1 and 2 will be reserved mostly for the daily traffic. Since most trains carry about 22 coaches, they cannot be accommodated on platform no. 1 (coming from Mumbai). So most trains arrive on platform no. 2 and depart (for Mumbai) from platform no. 3.
“Since trains with more number of coaches cannot be accommodated on platform no. 1, they leave (for Mumbai) from platform no. 3 and arrive on platform no. 2. To make more effective use of platform no. 1, its length is being increased and the switches and crossings at the Mumbai-end of the station required for the movement of the goods trains to the Maldhakka (warehouse) are being shifted further down. The work is likely to be completed by April 20, after which, the work of extension of platform will be undertaken,” the officer said.
The sanction from the headquarters is awaited and work will begin soon after that. The work is likely to be completed by May 15 at the most and the railway station will be ready to receive the trains.
“This would be a big aid for the senior citizens, who travel to Mumbai by the Panchavati Express. Though we want the Panchavati Express to depart as well from platform no.1 in the morning as it would help the last-minute passengers to board the train, but we are happy that the train will finally start arriving on platform no. 1,” said Raviraj Jadhav, a government employee, who travels by train to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus daily