South Eastern Railway (SER) plans to do away with the unofficial ‘Ektu Dara’ (stop for a while) station between Tikiapara and Howrah once and for all by laying a fourth line. The tendering process for the project has already been completed and the work is expected to start soon. The laying of the 1.5km track will be undertaken by Eastern Railway (ER) and is expected to be completed in 1.5-2 years.
Nearly all trains, whether long-distance or suburban, are detained for 20-30 minutes during peak hours between Tikiapara and Howrah. This happens due to severe congestion. The detention has now become such a regular affair that suburban passengers thought up names for the spots where the trains stop. While one is Ektu Dara, another is Dewal Para (walled neighbourhood).
“Down trains towards Howrah run behind schedule but Up ones start from the station on time. All is well for the Down trains up till Santragachhi. Trouble starts from Tikiapara. The trains are stopped after Tikiapara to make way for the Up trains. Suburban trains get stuck behind the long-distance ones and there is a cascading effect. As Down suburban trains reach Howrah late, we struggle to maintain schedules. This new line will solve the problem. While Down trains will continue to use the existing lines, the Up ones leaving platforms 21, 22 and 23 will use the fourth one,” SER CPRO Sanjoy Ghosh said.
There is a fourth hoods line from Howrah towards Tikiapara but it branches off across a flyover towards the sorting yard. The new line will pass left of the flyover towards Tikiapara. A separate panel will have to be created for the new line as the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) system in Howrah has reached its optimal capacity.
While the detention of long-distance trains is irritating for passengers in a hurry to reach their destinations after overnight journeys, suburban commuters complain that they regularly get late for work and delayed for appointments. On days, when trains are delayed for longer periods, there are agitations at suburban stations and this throws the entire system out of commission.
Source: Times of India