Starting on Friday night, one of the country’s busiest railway stations will wear a deserted look for 10 days.
At the New Delhi Railway Station, the stalls at the platforms will remain shut, beggars will vanish and the congested parking lots will be empty. The prominent red uniform of the coolies will also be missing.
In Indian Railways’ biggest such exercise till date, a new automatic signalling system will be installed at the station. Four new platforms will also be added, doubling the station’s efficiency.
The signalling system — Route Relay Interlocking — handles the continuous tasks of platform allocation, arrivals, departures, and other use of infrastructure automatically. The system will handle 1278 routes, nearly double the present capacity.
It is to migrate to this upgraded system that Northern Railways has cancelled 62 mail/express trains and diverted 50 while terminating 126 trains short of New Delhi over the next 10 days. Over 60 local trains have also been cancelled.
“After 10 days, New Delhi will be ready for increased traffic in the immediate future, especially during Commonwealth Games. It will also accommodate 33 per cent more footfall comfortably,” said Shri Prakash, General Manager, Northern Railways.
“Late departures due to lack of platforms or clearing of route will now be avoided. Usual bottlenecks right outside the station near Sadar Bazaar and Tilak Bridge will vanish. Simply put, a Rajdhani will no longer be hauled up outside the station waiting for a green signal to enter,” he said.
Around 3,000 personnel will be involved in the complex work of upgrading the system and running a skeletal service at New Delhi.
As a cascading effect, the diverted trains will operate from Old Delhi, Nizamuddin, Sarai Rohilla, Safdarjung and even Okhla. More security has been deployed, besides transferring 300 coolies from New Delhi to service the smaller stations.
All the 250 black and yellow taxis and the fleet of autorickshaws at New Delhi have been asked to operate out of the other stations.
Northern Railways has requested Delhi Transport Department to run bus services connecting the smaller stations. The Traffic Police have been requested to deploy more officers to tackle the added rush.