“The railways cater to the middle income, lower income and middle class. We are creating the best facility with government investment. The best designs and construction techniques are being used to ensure that every passenger and our common citizen get world-class facilities created with investment from the Indian government so that there is no extra burden on passengers,” railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at a press conference. He also said it is a conscious decision to redevelop all these stations in the EPC (engineering, planning and construction) mode and the investment will be made from the government budget.
With the abandonment of the PPP route for the redevelopment of stations, this is the second privatisation plan to have been dropped by the railways after it cancelled the tender to allow private players to run trains on select routes.
Officials said the thrust to develop the New Delhi and CST stations in PPP mode did not get the desired outcome for over 15 years, prompting the Centre to take up the project on its own. At least 10 players each had evinced initial interest for both the stations, including the Adanis, GMR and Godrej Properties.
Giving details of the proposed revamp, Vaishnaw said, the designs for all stations include creation of spacious “roof plazas” above the platforms and tracks with all passenger amenities at one place along with spaces for retail, cafeterias, recreational facilities and play areas for kids. He added these will be new “urban space” at the heart of the cities. The minister said this will be the norm for future revamp of railway stations.
According to the approved design, while the revamped New Delhi railway station will have two unique twin domes with four floors of “roof plazas” creating additional space of about 15 acres, CST will have two-floor roof plazas and create additional space of around 5.5 acres. Vaishnaw said the focus of the plan has been to ensure smooth traffic flow and maximum convenience to passengers at the stations.
In the case of New Delhi station, the roof plaza will be 10 metres above the track and there will be complete segregation of arrival and departure to avoid any crowding. Vaishnaw said there will be a network of elevated roads around the twin domes. He added that the passengers will wait in the roof plaza area and will come to the platform only to board a train and similarly after getting out of the train they will exit the station through the roof plaza. “This will ensure no crowding at the stations,” he added.
While redeveloping CST, the heritage structures will not be disturbed. The railways will redevelop the areas around the heritage station and create a new block for long distance trains. Vaishnaw said while planning the revamp of this station, special focus has been given to deal with the large numbers of passengers using the suburban railways and added that the new construction around the existing station will be low-rise .
On the plan for revamp plan for Ahmedabad station, the minister said the iconic design will have a huge arch inspired by the Modhera sun temple and sun-themed architecture has been planned across the station. The station will also have a wide roof plaza above the tracks. Elevated network of roads have been planned around the station for smooth traffic movement. There will also be a stepwell amphitheatre near the station for cultural events.