Metro will go further north to Noapara from the first week of April with the promise of a shorter daily commute for thousands of people and the threat of unbearable crowd crush in compartments.
Noapara will be the 24th station on the Metro network.
Only 30 per cent of the trains will go to and start from the station initially. Trains are expected to be available at Noapara at an interval of 20 minutes in the first two months.
“Once more people start taking Metro from Noapara, we will begin normal service from there,” said Protyush Ghosh, deputy general manager (general), Metro Railway.
The new station will serve thousands of commuters at Baranagar, Sinthee, Tobin Road, Dum Dum Cantonment and Durganagar, who now have to travel more than half an hour to reach Dum Dum, the nearest station.
Those who live closer to stations and travel by Metro, however, fear that they would struggle to board trains after the latest extension.
“Even with trains starting from Dum Dum, it is very difficult to get a seat. If the train comes from Noapara, I doubt whether I can even board the train at peak hour,” said Sayani Dutta, a first-year student at Calcutta University and a regular Metro commuter.
“We will introduce two special trains that will start from Dum Dum station during peak hour,” promised Ghosh.
According to him, the signal and power testing at Noapara station is complete and the construction work is on the verge of completion. The station will be ready by March 31, as railway minister P.K. Bansal had promised during the railway budget on February 26.
“Noapara has the longest platform among the Metro stations ‘ 180m, whereas the average length of the platform in the other stations is 172m,” said Ghosh.
The new station is three-storeyed, like the elevated stations on the southern fringes, and will have six escalators and four elevators and 31 CCTV cameras.
Noapara, which currently serves as a maintenance shed, will be developed into a hub station, from where trains will operate to and from Barrackpore, airport and Barasat stations, once the new routes become operational.