The strenuous foot overbridge (FOB) climb at railway stations is soon going to become an effortless exercise.
The FOBs at five stations in the city — Andheri, Borivli, Dadar, Thane and Kalyan — will be fitted with escalators such as the ones shopping malls and airports already have.
The Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) have written to the Rail Ministry for scrutinising their proposal for installing escalators. This proposal was mooted by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the railway budget.
“This proposal is still at a nascent stage,” said Divisional Railway Manager, WR, G. Pillai.
Andheri and Borivli have been chosen because of the high commuter population frequenting these stations. Andheri with its close proximity to the airport will be connected with the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro line. Borivli is in the process of enveloping more outstation trains soon.
“For Thane, this would enhance the scope of developing it into a world-class station. We plan to install an escalator to the FOB that connects the skywalk,” said M. Chauhan, Divisional Railway Manager, CR.
Railway authorities still do not know the feasibility of escalators in the long run and want an assessment to be carried out.
“The number of daily commuters at these stations is so high that there is every chance the escalators would stop functioning due to the load,” said a railway official.
The Railway Board has sanctioned as many as 100 escalators that will be installed on important stations.
The idea is to provide relief to the elderly and ensure faster movement of passengers with luggage and decongestion of stations. Railway officials also expect the number of accidents due to trespassing to reduce.
“It is found that there are many elderly who prefer crossing the tracks as opposed to climbing FOBs. Escalators would help reduce this problem,” added the railway official.