Platform No. 1 of Patna Junction would remain closed from the last week of December to install a washing apron used to clean tracks.
The platform would be closed for 45 days. At present, around 60 pairs of trains, including Rajdhani Express, Magadh Express, Sanghamitra Express, Brahmaputra Mail and Shramjeevi Express depart from platform No. 1.
A senior official posted in Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR), who didn’t wish to be named, told The Telegraph: “The existing washing apron at platform No. 1 has been defunct for the past several months. Therefore, washing the tracks has become a challenge. Heaps of dirt and filth get accumulated on the tracks and it is not possible to clean them manually. So, the railways have decided to install the new washing apron.”
The official said the tracks need to be free from train services during the installation. “Train services on the platform would remain closed for 45 days. The installation work would start from the last week of December. Passengers, however, would not be barred from the platform. They can make use of facilities available on the platform but cannot board trains.”
Once the installation starts, trains would be assigned different platforms. The railways have promised to make necessary arrangements to ensure hassle-free services for passengers during the period.
The official said: “Round-the-clock announcement would be made through the public address system and additional staff would be deputed to guide the passengers. The passengers are not likely to face any problem because of the installation work. They only need to climb the stairs to reach other platforms.”
There has been some improvement vis-à-vis cleanliness of premises too. Manual cleaning system was replaced with systematic machines like ride-on scrubber-dryer, vacuum cleaner and single scrubbers last year.
The official said: “Cleaning the platforms and tracks are different. The machines introduced last year can be used to clean the premises but not the tracks. Water sprayed at high pressure is required to remove accumulated dirt from the tracks. The existing cleaning machines are not enough to clean the tracks. Therefore, the washing apron is the best way to do the job. Installing a washing apron is likely to cost in crores.”
The official also stressed that passengers must get a hygienic atmosphere when they reach the premises.
The washing aprons at the nine other platforms are in working condition.
A passenger at Patna Junction, Umesh Kumar, said: “Though we may face problems for some time, it would ultimately help rid the platform of the foul smell. Sometimes, it becomes unbearable to stand near the tracks.”
Before a formal announcement of the installation work, railway officials would inform people through advertisements in newspapers. A notice would also be pasted on the platform regarding the non-functioning of the train services at the platform.