Vishakapatnam railway station
|Visakhapatnam Railway Station
Indian Railway Station
The Main entrance of the Visakhapatnam railway station
|Address||Gnanapuram, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
|Elevation||5.970 metres (19.59 ft)|
|Line(s)||Khurda Road-Visakhapatnam section
|Zone(s)||East Coast Railway|
|Division(s)||Waltair Railway Division|
|Owned by||Indian Railways|
|Operator||East Coast Railway|
Source:Google maps, India Rail Info 57226
Visakhapatnam Railway Station is a major railway station located in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. The railway station is under the control of East Coast Railway of Indian Railways. It stands on the Howrah-Chennai main line, though the mainline bypasses the Central Station. Consequently a suburban halt on the mainline near Vizag Steel Plant, known as Duvvada, is being developed into a major station to improve services for the city.An escalator was commissioned at Platform No. 4 and 5 of Visakhapatnam Railway Station on Ugadi Day.
The station is a terminal station. Trains must go back the same way as they come. This is a major issue as it takes a considerable amount of time for trains to enter and exit the station. Some trains don't reach the station. They only touch Duvvada. Even though there are many trains passing through Visakhapatnam. Each train takes up to 20 minutes to reverse the locomotive and depart. With many trains arriving at the same time platforms are not always available. In case any train is late, the other trains are stopped at Duvvada or Vizianagaram. The Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) system, an arrangement of signal apparatus that prevents conflicting movements through an arrangement of tracks such as junctions or crossings, is said to be one of the major causes for these trains being held up after Duvvada Station.
There are over 5,000 people travelling between Visakhapatnam and Secunderabad everyday. To clear the rush, there are over 18 trains connecting Visakhapatnam and Secunderabad. The Godavari Express, one of the most prestigious trains of the South Central Railway, is considered the best way between the cities. However, the rush for the train is too high, that tickets have to be booked before two months from the journey. The most troublesome problem with the Visakhapatnam railway Station is the non-availability of tickets due to occupancy of berths by east coast railway.They provide remote location wait list for all the trains which pass through visakhapatnam and extend visakhapatnam originating trains to Bhubaneswar there by reducing the Quota of berths and giving Pooled quota waitlist to those trains. The trains which were extended to bhubaneswar were visakha express, prashanthi express and chennai- visakhapatnam weekly express to bhubaneswar. A separate Railway zone (SCoR or SECoR) with visakhapatnam as HeadQuarters is only the solution for Visakhapatnam as per AP organisation act 2014 .The workers at the ticket counters sell the tickets at prices higher than normal to the local travel agents. Those travel agents then sell the tickets to the passenger at a much more higher rate. Even on the 90th day from the booking, the tickets are not given to the passengers. When people try to book tickets online, that too becomes impossible. The IRCTC website gets heavily blocked during the morning hours, when the Tatkal Booking is opened.
- The beginning
During the period 1893 to 1896, the 1,287 km (800 mi) long tracks covering the entire coastal stretch from Cuttack to Vijayawada, was built and opened to traffic by East Coast State Railway.Bengal Nagpur Railway’s line to Cuttack was opened on 1 January 1899. The 514 km (319 mi) long northern portion of the East Coast line to Cuttack, including the branch line to Puri, was taken over by Bengal Nagpur Railway in 1902. The southern part was subsequently merged with Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway.
On February 1, 1974, the Indian Railways announced the first railway service between Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad, with the Waltair-Hyderabad Express. The train was run on a daily basis and would depart Visakhapatnam at 5:30 PM and arrive in Hyderabad at 6:45 AM, the next morning. On the return journey, it would depart Hyderabad at 5:15 PM and arrive in Visakhapatnam at 6:45 AM the next morning. As the train provides rail connectivity to at nine stations in the deserted cities of East and West Godavari districts, it was officially named Godavari Express. It was regularly hauled by a steam locomotive and had 17 coaches. It reached its highest speed of 50 km/h between Samalkot and Rajahmundry. A slip service was introduced in the train during 1975, and the train was run up to Kakinada. Five more coaches were added, as a result. The train also entered a Rake Sharing Agreement or RSA with the Simhadri Express which ran between Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry. However, in 1980, both the slip service and the RSA were cancelled as the Simhadri Express was extended up to Bhimavaram and the Kakinada-Secunderabad Goutami express was introduced.
The train retained its 5 new coaches and ran with a diesel locomotive end to end. The train was re-numbered as 2727 and 2728 By 1990, the train became very popular and two more coaches were introduced, taking the totals to 24. It then became one of the longest trains in India. As the Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada line and the Vijayawada-Kazipet-Hyderabad lines were electrified, the train started running with the WAP 4 electric locomotive. Soon, the Godavari express became the first train belonging to the South Central Railway to run with 5 Air conditioner coaches. In June 1999, the train met with its first incident, as it derailed at Ghanpur near Warangal. In the year 2000, the Godavari express became the first train in the South Central railway to run with its own air conditionered first class coach. The Godavari express was also the first train in the Zone to have 6 air-conditionered coaches. As a result, the journey time was then reduced by 15 minutes in both the directions and an additional stop was allotted at the Duvvada and Anaparti railway stations.
- Modernization and introduction of Durontos
In June 2010, following the theft of Rs.21 lakhs from the ticket booking counter at the Kacheguda Railway Station, The Deputy Inspector General of Railway Police, Bhavana Saxena announced that the CCTVs, which are video cameras used to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. would be installed all over the station in order to prevent thefts and increase security levels for women and children. To control heavy traffic of Trains and passengers, the Visakhapatnam railway station was given a sixth platform and a second entrance at Gnanapuram in 2008. There was still a gap for construction two more platforms in the middle of platform 5 and 6. In 2010, as the number of trains increased, the gap was filled with the new platforms. The platform at Gnanapuram entrance, numbered 6, was re-numbered as 8 and the two new platforms 6 and 7 were constructed. according to railway officials, these two platforms could be useful in bringing back the diverted trains to the city.
A Duronto express train to Secunderabad was announced in the 2011-12 Railway Budget to meet the demand of passengers commuting between the cities of Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. Around 15 months after the proposal of the train, there were rumors that the old coaches of a Rajdhani Express train would be used. Soon, The Hindu confirmed that the train will be given LHB rakes, as the classic ICF rakes would not be suitable to the speeds of the train. On April 24m however, the old rake of the Bangalore Rajdhani Express was sent to Lallaguda a major overhaul and vinyl-wrapping. Critics said that it sounded more like "Old wine in a new bottle" as the rake sent to Lallaguda was well over 20 years old. The Bharatiya Janata Party often criticized the Railway minister for neglecting the state of Andhra Pradesh. The introduction of the duronto itself was a result of such agitation. However, despite announcing the train in the railway budget, the train is yet to start. This resulted in the Party going on strike again and campaigning against the Ministry of Railways. Soon, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also joined the strike and burnt an effigy of the Union Minister of India stating their dissatisfaction regarding the neglect of the region. The Party stated the budget as a "letdown for Visakhapatnam" and claimed that "it was a reflection of the indifference of the Central Government towards Visakhapatnam".
- Controversies due to non-introduction of Duronto
On May 27, nearly five Air conditioned ICF coaches in Duronto livery were spotted outside Secunderabad Junction. They belonged to the South Central Railway but the windows of the AC II tier compartments had smaller windows, unlike most SCR trains that had large windows in all AC coaches. This made it clear that the rake being used really did belong to the decades old Bangalore Rajdhani express. The Indian Railway finally delivered old coaches 18 months after the train was proposed. Critics claimed that the passengers would enjoy if they survived a ride in an old, dirty rake at an average speed of 74 kilometers per hour. They claimed that the Indian Railway wasn't allotting LHB coaches on this route because the demand was so high that the train would be full despite how old the rake was. The bitter truth, however, is that the Indian Railway has been lying all throughout. The LHB rake for the Bangalore Rajdhani was ready months ago. The rake procured for the Duronto need not be allotted to the Rajdhani. The fact is that the rake for this Duronto was never made at all. Critics claimed that this rake cannot run at speeds exceeding 110 kmph continuously and hence it would never meet the schedule.