Despite high demand to start new trains to various destinations, the Pune Division of Central Railway was unable to start any new services due to “passenger congestion” at Pune Railway Station. In fact, it recently received a new train that lies unused for want of a time slot due to packed schedule at Pune station.
For several years now, the Railways has not announced new trains from Pune and pointed out that there was a need to improve the infrastructure at the station in order to accommodate new trains. The plans to decongest Pune Railway Station by developing Shivajinagar and Hadapsar stations as terminals, which will host a few trains thereby taking pressure off Pune Railway Station, have also not progressed at the desired pace.
Senior officials said they have received a 16-coach rake, which was lying idle at Khadki railway station for the last two months, and they were waiting for a green signal to use it.
“The new rake has arrived and there is discussion to start it. We are waiting for a nod from the higher authority, including Central Railway and railway board, to allow it to run. There is a demand to start a train on Delhi route via Bhopal or Chandigarh, and also to Darbhanga. But we haven’t got a go ahead,” said a senior officer from the Pune Division.
Commuters have also demanded better connections to closer destinations such as Kolhapur, Daund and Karjat. Also, several passenger groups have requested Divisional Railway Manager to start trains to clear extra rush.
Senior officials said that congestion at circulating area of the Pune Railway Station was a big worry and adding more trains to the station has become almost impossible. That’s the reason, development of Hadapsar Railway Station as a terminal has been planned. “Once Hadapsar takes some load off Pune Railway Station, we will be able to add more trains from there,” said a senior official.
The development of Hadapsar terminal was sanctioned in 2016-17 with an estimated budget of Rs 24 crore. Due to delays owing to various reasons, the cost has now escalated to Rs 34.71 crore. Until May 2019, only about Rs 8.17 crore was spent by the Central Railway.
According to officials, the work on downline and platform is complete while canopy work was on. Work for laying of the track was also in progress and foundation work on overhead electricity too was going on. The work on relay room, panel room has been completed, said officials, adding that the overall work should be finished by March 2020.
Railway Spokesperson Manoj Jhanwar said, “Congestion is high at Pune station… At present, we are not in a position to run new trains. Till remodelling of Pune yard takes place, congestion will not ease.” Jhanwar added that during festival and important occasions, the Railways run special trains to cater to passengers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines