Railways committee suggests new categories for grading stations

Railway stations should be categorised not just on the basis of revenues but on strategic importance and footfalls as well, a committee has recommended to the railway board.

NEW DELHI: Railway stations should be categorised not just on the basis of revenues but on strategic importance and footfalls as well, a committee has recommended to the railway board.  The three-member committee headed by Passenger Marketing executive director B. Prashanth Kumar has recommended in its report that instead of an overall categorisation, the stations be graded as urban, suburban and halt stations.  They should be further categorised under the subheads of revenue, footfall and strategic importance.  It has also recommended that a special category of stations be formed, bringing the top 20 stations in terms of revenue and footfall under one head for enhanced amenities.

At present, passenger earnings, mainly earned through platform tickets, is the main criterion for classification. All stations are clubbed in categories such as A1, A, B, C and D on the basis of passenger earnings. The 75 big stations such as those in Delhi, Mumbai Central, Bengaluru and Chennai Central are in the A1 category.  “Treating all stations according to the same standard was found to be unrealistic. The committee has said that there was a need to rationalise the categorisation and make it more realistic so that problems, be it of infrastructure or passenger amenities, can be addressed in a better manner,” a rail official said.

The grade of a station plays an important role in determining manpower deployment, funds, amenities and infrastructure such as foot-over-bridges, escalators and CCTV cameras. “The railway board has received the report and it is under consideration. No decision has been taken on the matter yet,” said an official of the ministry.

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