Station chugs to life, 154 years on

Patna ghat prepares for passengers

By Shuchismita Chakraborty
  • Published 21.12.16
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The tracks at Patna Ghat railway station (below) being overhauled ahead of Prakash Utsav. Pictures by Sachin

In a rebirth of sorts, a station unveiled by the East India Company in 1862 will get a new life before Prakash Utsav.

Patna Ghat railway station, where not a single passenger train has halted since the British inaugurated it, will host pilgrims to and from Patna Junction during the Sikh fest.

The railways will run local trains to and from Patna Junction to the Patna Ghat railway station between December 25 and January 8, especially for pilgrims taking part in the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh.

The trains will run to and from every two hours during the day to cover a distance of 13km. The exact timetable will be announced later.

"The railway station (referring to Patna Ghat) was inaugurated on November 17, 1862," said East Central Railway chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak.

Om Prakash, the junior engineer (works) of the East Central Railway, said this would be the first time that the railway station would see a passenger (local) train. "Till 2000, only goods trains halted at the station," he said.

The railways is also constructing dormitories at the station where pilgrims, who are scheduled to reach for the Prakash Utsav, can stay. The place where dormitories are being made were earlier godowns at the station.

"People will have to pay for the dormitory. However, the amount has not been fixed yet. Besides, a small tent city has been put up by the district administration on the railway station land, which can accommodate around 500 people. Facilities such as blowers, hot water and mobile toilets will be made available to the devotees staying in the tent city," said Vikas Kumar, the zonal officer (a post created for the Utsav by the district administration) at the Patna Ghat station.

He said battery-operated vehicles will operate between the railway station and Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib.

Security is being tightened in and around the Patna Ghat station. Rail superintendent of police Jitendra Mishra said a temporary crime control centre will be created in which a sub-inspector-rank police officer and other cops will be deployed to provide round-the-clock service.

Devotees coming for Prakash Utsav would also get something new at the railway station. "The station is being given a gurdwara look from outside. The work to create the dome-like structure for the gurdwara on the railway station building has started," he said.