A WAIT of three minutes for the arrival of the first north-bound train to Borivli station from Churchgate became unbearable for the impatient commuters at Ram Mandir station who had flocked to the booking office two hours in advance to get the ticket. The train, which was scheduled at 6 pm from Ram Mandir, arrived three minutes late, increasing the banter among waiting passengers.
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“Pehli baar train aai toh bhi late hai (This is the first train halting at this station and still it is late). (But) Finally, our wait is over and now I will be able to get my train after a five-minute walk to the station. My school-going children will also benefit,” said an excited Hema Naulkahe who had rushed to the station with friends to be able to take a joyride on the train.
Like Hema, many commuters staying in the vicinity of Ram Mandir station flocked platforms three and four to be able to take a ride. These people, who had witnessed the construction of this station for eight years, were now able to board train right from there.
“I am so happy that finally the station is ready. I will no longer have to convince an autorickshaw driver to take me to Andheri station or wait for a bus. As I stay near the station, all my commuting woes have been solved,” said Abdul Jabbar, a commuter who wanted to take a train to Churchgate.
The station has come as a respite to the commuters staying between Jogeshwari and Goregaon stations.
“I have been handling the packing of prasad at the Ram Mandir for the last 15 years. On days I finished late, I had to take a rickshaw in the dark. The streets near the stations are also poorly constructed,” said Jayshree Das, another commuter.
Sanctioned eight years ago, the station has been constructed by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Regional parties worked hard on naming it — something that drew enough political attention.
“We are so happy that the station with this name was inaugurated on the suburban network. The 200-year-old Ram Mandir is a landmark of this area and thus naming it so and not Oshiwara, which is at least 4 km away, was a perfect decision,” said Niranjan Pal, Veer Sena leader.
The new stop came as a surprise to many on board the train.
“I got down here from Dadar station as I heard announcement that Ram Mandir station was introduced from today. I would not have to go to Goregaon station now,” said a commuter who got down at Ram Mandir station. Many hoped the spic-and-span look of the new station would stay.
By Thursday evening, 150 tickets were sold from the booking counter at the Ram Mandir station. Officials said a point of sale machine was introduced by evening to handle the cash crunch.