| Ranchi station on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Going from one platform to another would soon be a cakewalk in Ranchi station.
The walkway from the western end of the station, that at present connects platform no. 1 with 2 and 3, would be extended to reach platforms 4 and 5 as well. Also on the cards is an escalator that would be built alongside the staircase on the western end.
While work on extending the walkway will commence soon, the escalator project is expected to start by April.
Divisional railway manager of Ranchi division Gajanan Mallya said all formalities for the extension of the existing walkway have been completed and the construction would begin in a few days.
It will cost about Rs 80 lakh to extend the footbridge, which would decrease the load on the eastern staircase, Mallya told The Telegraph.
At present, to go from platform 1 to 4 and 5, which were inaugurated last year, one has to take the eastern staircase. On the other hand, the western staircase that begins from outside the station near Birsa Food Plaza, connects to a footbridge that extends only to platforms 2 and 3. Thus, all those passengers who want to go to platform number 4 and 5 are forced to take the eastern staircase.
The extension of the walkway would take around five or six months before it is ready for use.
While most passenger trains arrive and depart from platforms 1, 2 or 3, local trains like Tata-Jharsugda Passenger, Hatia-Bankura Passenger come on platform 4. Nearly all goods trains pass through platforms 4 and 5. However, sometimes, even express trains are shifted to platforms 4 and 5.
The railways also have plans to develop its land located on the southern side, near platform 5.
Walkway extension apart, Ranchi railway division would also start work of setting up of the long-awaited escalator that will connect platform 1 with other platforms.
Setting up of the escalator would cost the railways about Rs 1.25 crore. Work will begin sometime in April this year, said Mallya.
The importance of Ranchi railway station is growing evry year with more and more passengers from around cities the country coming to the state capital. Now that the city has an international cricket stadium and many matches have been lined up here, a large number of cricket fans are expected.
This apart, hockey craze too has picked up in the city after the hugely successful Hockey India League matches at Astroturf stadium. At present, the daily footfall at the station is around 25,000 with around 50 passenger trains passing through it.
Extension of the walkway and setting up of the escalator would help passengers in a great way. The escalator particularly would be of great help for senior citizens, said Ashok Nagpal, vice president of Chotanagpur Passengers Association.