Decongesting The Trivandrum Central Railway Station
On paper, Trivandrum Central Station has the distinction of having two satellite stations; but reality is a far cry from what’s on the paper | By Mukesh Venu
On Feb 24, 2012


When the Trivandrum railway station was opened in 1941, it was designed to handle just two trains a day. The station handles the arrival and departure of over 40 trains today. It is safe to say that demand has outgrown the station and that Trivandrum is in need of satellite terminals to decongest the Central Station and bring more trains to the city. At present, the station is managing trains twice that of what it was designed to handle. Consequently, most of the trains allocated to the city in the annual budget during recent years have had their terminal stations at Tamil Nadu. The excuse for doing that is the acute lack of space and facilities in the Central Railway Station to operate more trains from here.



The Central Station at present has five platforms, which is grossly inadequate to accommodate the increasing number of trains and passengers on an annual basis. But the number of platforms cannot be increased right now as the pit lines beyond the platforms is needed to 'park' and do maintenance work on long distance trains. To solve this problem, the Kochuveli station, claimed to be the satellite terminal to Trivandrum Central Station, was opened in the year 2005 to handle long distance express and superfast trains. The plan was for the fully developed station to have 12 platforms on various levels. It was to be the first multi level railway station in South India. The station was renamed Vikram Sarabhai Terminal recently.



However, the current picture of the place is a far cry from the 'multi level' station envisaged for Kochuveli. At present, the station has two platforms, of which only one can be used since the platforms are yet to be connected with a foot overbridge. The station building and the premises lie devoid of any activity expect when a train leaves or arrives at the station. There is one pit line, with two more under construction.




The station does not have even the basic facilities for the staff posted there. Construction work on the water tank is yet to be completed. Water is now being supplied through temporary tank systems and the staff say that the water available is hardly potable.



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[removed][removed] t;p>It is more or less assured that it would be a long time before the station would actually become something resembling the grand plans that have been drawn for it. The station itself is situated in an unsuitable area, in the neighbourhood of major factories like the East India Clay Ltd. and the Travancore Titanium Products. Consequently, the area is highly polluted and it is doubtful whether even the development of the station would bring a corresponding development to the economy of the region, as investors tend to shy away from the vicinity of factories. The station is not preferred by commuters either, if given a choice.



Train rakes are brought here from the Central Station for light maintenance work The lack of development of this satellite terminal means that commuters and the railways will have to continue depending on the already exhausted Central Station to bring in more trains. One way of doing it is to expand the Central station in the limited space available by moving the maintenance and repair work to the Vikram Sarabhai terminal, taking the rakes back to the station only at the needed time. There is enough space for the Central Station to have 10 or even 12 platforms at present, if the pit lines could be removed from there to make way for more platforms.



Another option to decongest the Central Railway station is the development of the Nemom Railway Station in the Kanyakumari line. The shifting of the operating centre to Nemom and developing the station to a satellite terminal with 5 platforms and 10 pit lines could make it the ending point for all trains arriving in the city from the north. But right now, the Nemom railway station is a small crossing station, with stops only for the few passenger trains that run along the route. And the station hardly makesRs. 1000 per day in the form of collection from rail commuters, as the number of people depending upon this station is drastically low.



While there is enough of land for the railways to develop the station and bring down the operating center, the fact remains that nothing much has been done in the place, except for marking down the land where the  operating center is to come up.



Compared to Kochuveli or Vikram Sarabhai Terminal, Nemom station is located in a reasonably populated area and provides ample scope for being developed into a major hub for the railways. Making Nemom the terminal point for trains arriving from the north would certainly go a long way in decongesting the Central Railway station along with handling the repair works on the coaches. At any rate, either the traffic, or the facilities offered, or both have to be taken out from the Central Station if the state is to get more long distance trains including, the 'durunto'. Developing the Central Station exclusively as a station for arrival and departure and turning toNemom or the Vikram Sarabhai Terminal for repair and maintenance work seems to be the current feasible solution to retain the importance of Trivandrum as the second most important railway hub in South India.

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