Escalator work in progress (above and right) on platforms two and three at Dhanbad station on Tuesday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad station is hopeful of a March beginning to its Rs 90-lakh escalator service.
Work on the moving staircases between platform Nos 2 and 3 is in its final stage and is likely to be over by February-end. This apart, the railway board has also sanctioned two lifts for the station, the tenders for which will be issued in March too.
The lifts will come up at platform No. 1 and between 4 and 5.
“The escalator service, a first-of-its-kind in Dhanbad rail division, will bring relief to passengers, who have to trudge up and down the stairs, heavy luggage in tow. It will also prove to be a boon for the elderly and senior citizens, who find difficulty in climbing stairs,” senior divisional commercial manager, Dhanbad division, East Central Railway, Dayanand said.
The escalators, which will link platform Nos 2 and 3 and move in both upward and downward directions, have been procured from Johnsons Lifts and are being installed near the ramp towards the station’s north-end, a few yards from the main footbridge.
“The location has been chosen strategically, keeping in mind the VIP passengers, who can be ferried near the first-class coaches of luxury trains such as Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express,” Dayanand said.
Another reason behind selection of the location was that rural people usually avoid escalators, Dayanand added.
Work for setting up the moving staircases had started in May 2013.
“There was some delay in the initial stages due to technical glitches, but work is going on in full swing now. We are trying our best to complete the project before March,” senior divisional engineer (general) S.C. Chaudhary said.
As for the lifts, Dayanand said, tenders would be floated in March. “The formalities for the lifts will be carried out by the railway board in New Delhi. We don’t have any role in it, so we cannot tell the exact cost of the project,” Dayanand said.
Notably the new facilities are being added to Dhanbad station in view of the granting of A1 status to the coal town junction by the railway board in August 2013 on the basis of high passenger income.