One of the biggest and busiest railway junctions in the country, the Vijayawada Railway Junction, has been ramped up as the new capital’s railway station. Railway officials have completely revamped the station to meet necessary standards, including changing of its outer view.
The modernisation drive included elevation of the station, changing of floor for current booking and reservation counters, sprucing up the platforms and perking up the ambience of the food court and bolstering the parking lots outside the railway station complex.
A direct exit has also being provided from platforms to the parking place behind the clock tower, as part of the modernisation drive. In the parking lot, separate alleys have been provided for auto rickshaws, cars and two wheelers. There is also a provision for private cars to enter the portico of the railway station to pick up or drop passengers.
Besides modernising the existing station, officials are also planning to develop satellite stations at Krishna Canal Junction towards Guntur and Chennai; Kondapalli towards Hyderabad and Kazipet and Gunadala or Nidamanuru towards Howrah to reduce traffic in the station. Railway officials say that these proposals are in different stages and would be grounded once they get clearance.
The modernisation drive has been a regular affair at the station. It is one of the few halts in the country to have escalators for its passengers installed in the mid 1990s. Today it has over four such escalators.
The Vijayawada Railway Junction receives 250 passenger and express trains and 150 goods trains every day, passing through its 12 platforms. The station handles over 1.40 lakh passengers daily making the station active and alive round the clock. The station was given A1 status in 2008 when its passenger earnings crossed the Rs 100 crore mark. As a result additional facilities for passengers on each of the platforms were increased and improved over the period of time.
The railway station was constructed in 1888 and was subsequently developed, connecting it from north to south and east to west. The station links trains passing from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Trivandrum in the south, from Howrah in the east and to Mumbai in the west. This became the divisional headquarters and was initially part of the Southern Railway after the government nationalised railways. Later in 1966, the Vijayawada division was attached to the South Central Railway with Secunderabad as its headquarters.
The first fastest steam-hauled train in the country was introduced by the Indian Railways from Vijayawada to Secunderabad in 1969. This train, Golconda Express, was operated with an average speed of 58 kmph. Interestingly, the country’s fastest Jan Shatabdi Express train is also operated from this station to Chennai.