It can be mistaken as a block in Connaught Place but this is the swank, new station building at the New Delhi railway station.
The railway station, which is now ready for the Commonwealth Games, opened on Tuesday to serve as a grand entrance to its range of train services.
It took four years and Rs 25 crore to come up with a building that is designed to provide all the modern facilities available at just about any railway station across the world, amply segregated in three spacious floors at the Ajmeri Gate side.
With this, the Railways kept their side of the bargain in contributing to Delhi’s preparedness for the Games, even as multiple agencies still struggle to meet deadlines for all projects related to the showpiece event now barely a year away.
And as a clever touch of style, the railways’ have replicated the architectural impressions of Lutyens’ Delhi, especially Connaught Place, with the line of typical white round pillars as the building’s façade.
Rail Minister Mamata Banerjee, while inaugurating the building, said the Railways’ would do more in making the Games a success.
“We will run an awareness train across the country called Commonwealth Games Express starting this November,” she said with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on the dais.
“The train will take the message of the Commonwealth Games, its sports, science, Delhi facilities, etc., to the masses across the country.”
Regulars to the station would recall, the Ajmeri Gate side of the station, with a single-storey, eyesore of a structure housing some counters, did not look like it’s part of a mega terminal station like New Delhi.
Passengers had a small waiting room bursting in seams while most people squatted on the road outside with bag and baggage. Facilities that are pretty much a given in stations this big were absent at this side of New Delhi. The new station building aims to more than make up for that.
The spacious waiting lounges on the ground and first floors, the food joints and cafeterias at all three floors, the May-I-Help-You base, the air-conditioned dormitories, toilets, Ladies’ waiting rooms, communication kiosks, and 27 ticket counters together make even the Paharganj side of the station — considered the main entrance — look pale in comparison.
As a touch of warmth, there are also two large wall-fitted aquariums full of exotic, colourful fishes greeting the passengers at the waiting area.
The makers of the buildings have given special stress on the needs of senior citizens and the physically challenged. Two battery-operated cars are ready at the building to ferry the old and the physically challenged to any part of the station with luggage.