Indian Railways’ 1st airport-like world-class railway stations at Habibganj, Bhopal, to be ready by December 2020. Railopolis Hubs at Railway Stations are the places for people to spend quality time at food stalls, and retail shops similar to the airports.
Rail News: Get ready to enjoy airport-like facilities at the railway stations! Indian Railway plans to transform the railway stations into world-class hubs under the redevelopment plan. These redeveloped and modernized stations will be called ‘Railopolis’, and are definitely expected to attract huge investment and business opportunities.
Indian Railways to Levy User Charges to Redevelop Stations
The Railway Board will soon start levying ‘user charges’ as part of train ticket prices for the railway stations that have been overhauled and those with high footfalls to generate revenue to provide world-class facilities for passengers. VK Yadav, Chairman of the Indian Railway Board, also said that once it comes into effect, for the first time, user charges will be levied on rail passengers. The user charges will be significantly less and will be applicable in about 10-15% of the 7,000 stations across the country. According to VK Yadav, when the overhauling works of the stations are completed, the money will go to the concessionaires. Till then, those charges will go to the Indian railways for improving facilities across stations.
Railopolis Projects Under Construction
Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry has the scheme to rebuild around 50 railheads and monetize the area. It will lease the site out for sixty years for commercial purposes. In the year 2016, the station redevelopment scheme was first announced wherein an overall 400 such railway stations were planned to be renovated completely.
Passengers of Indian Railways can get two world-class railway stations by the end of the year 2020. Habibganj station is to become India’s first airport-like world-class railway station.
Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) Ltd. handed over Habibganj station of MP and Gandhinagar station of Gujarat to private parties for development under the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model to complete both the station revamp projects by December 2020. 94% of the work has already been done at Gandhinagar station, while 90% of the work has been completed at Habibganj railway station. Additionally, for the redevelopment of 3 railway stations – Anand Vihar, Bijwasan and Chandigarh stations, commercial tenders have been floated and procurement, engineering, and construction contracts have been awarded.
For the redevelopment of Amritsar, Nagpur, Gwalior, Sabarmati stations, requests for the renovation were invited in December 2019, and overall 32 applications were received till June 26 2020, out of which 29 applications were selected. Indian Railways offered 5 million sq ft commercial space under the reconstruction plan of these four railway stations. For developing integrated facility management, the IRSDC has also taken up 5 stations, and 90 more are in the pipeline. The agency is now working on Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station (CSTM) and NDLS station in the national Capital. The station modernization plan includes redeveloping the existing stations as well as upgrading passenger amenities and facilities by renovations.
Key Features of Redeveloped Railway Station (Railopolis)
Railopolis allows redevelopment of the station buildings, platform surfaces, circulating area to better standards to serve the need of the passengers.
Some of the benefits of Railopolis for passengers:
- The station will be structured as a multi-modal transit hub.
- The station will have central air space equipped with amenities for waiting and seating. It will ensure less congestion and loading on platforms to avoid overcrowding or any mishaps.
- There will be complete segregation between passengers arriving and departing to avoid any chance of mishaps or stampede scenario.
- The railway station will be made “Divyang friendly” and will allow smooth movement of physically challenged as well as ladies, old aged people and children. For those who are visually impaired, Braille guidance will be provided.
- For spending quality waiting time, shops and food courts will be opened, similar to airports.
- The waiting room will be made more comfortable with enough space.
- Stations will have a dedicated pick-up and drop off parking facilities for the users.
- Station shall be maintained and operated by the private sector concessionaire.
- Security systems on railway stations will also be advanced and integrated. There will be an emergency evacuation in case of any mishaps like fire or accidents.
- Stations infrastructure maintenance and train operations will also be modified. There will be signage, maps, and train information systems for guiding travellers.
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