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PANVEL AND Bhiwandi Road railway stations on the Central Railway may be in for a major revamp, as the Railways is considering upgrading their category. Panvel railway station could move to the list of A1 category of stations in the city from ‘A’, while Bhiwandi Road railway station, classified under ‘D’, could be considered for the list of ‘B’ category stations. Stations in upper categories, specially those under A1, are eligible for more funds for cleaning contracts and to develop passenger amenities.
Railway stations are categorised between A1 and F depending upon the passengers booked and annual passenger revenue of the station. The parameters of this revenue are changed every five years, with the last revision in 2011-12. So far, those with passenger revenue exceeding Rs 60 crore are included in A1 category, above Rs 8 crore is category A, ‘B’ category is between Rs4 and Rs 8 crore, and all suburban railway stations are classified in ‘C’ category due to their daily utilisation by passengers.
With the revision of station categories due this year, Panvel railway station on the harbour line has recorded an annual passenger revenue of Rs 83 crore and passenger movement of more than three crore for 2016-17. Halt of long-distance trains at the station, its inter-connectivity with other routes and plans proposed for the station are also cited as the reasons for upgradation. “Many long-distance trains have begin to halt at Panvel station in the past few years. The station also sees traffic from the main line due to its Panvel-Karjat route.”
“It deserves the upgradation, considering that major projects like metro corridors, the Navi Mumbai International Airport, the Chhatarapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel elevated corridor and an inbound terminus are planned along it. All these projects could aid in increasing passenger earnings,” a senior CR official said. Bhiwandi Road railway station also recorded an annual passenger earning of Rs 5 crore and passenger movement of almost 28 lakh in the last financial year. Increase in local population around the area and the halting of long-distance trains are cited to be the reasons.
“More retiring rooms, catering stalls and water vending machines are likely at Panvel and Bhiwandi Road railway stations if their category is upgraded. A station classified as A1 has better chances of development,” another rail official added. Other non-suburban railway stations to show improvement are Vapi on the Western Railway and Pen on the Central Railway. While Vapi could move to A1 category from A, Pen could see its place in the list of D category from E.
“The board may revise the specifications of passenger earnings for categorising of stations. But in any case, Panvel and Vapi have a good shot at being slotted into A1,” a senior railway official said. At present, seven suburban stations in Mumbai, including CST, Dadar, Kalyan, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus are classified under A1 category.