Sets benchmark of development for other Railway Stations in India
By: S.K. Lohia, MD&CEO IRSDC
In what can be termed as a giant leap of the Railway Station Re/development Program, India gets its first redeveloped railway station with the dedication of the redeveloped Gandhinagar Capital Railway Station situated in the state of Gujarat to the nation.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” by Neil Armstrong is apt for the station redevelopment as well considering that with the inauguration of Gandhinagar Railway Station, the entire station landscape in the country has been impacted positively. As Santiago Calatrava has said “A station is something which can generate a city”, Redevelopment of Gandhinagar Capital railway station will acts as a city booster and create investment cycle, job opportunities and in general uplift the economy of Gandhinagar, which is the capital of the state of Gujarat.
This is a unique project taken up in partnership with Govt of Gujarat and Ministry of Railways through IRSDC (Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation) forming a joint venture company named GARUD (Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation).
This redeveloped station has a 318 rooms five star convention hotel constructed on top of tracks. This is first of its kind project in India and will pave the way for similar development in land stressed cities like Mumbai and Bangalore. Gandhinagar already has an existing world class convention and exhibition centre – “Mahatma Mandir”, which has been clubbed with the hotel and the railway station so that these facilities work in synergy with each other. This hotel will ease the logistics for the convention center and help better utilisation of the same and vice versa. More events at the convention center will lead to more opportunities for the hotel industry, catering and tourism. Helipad exhibition grounds and Dandi Kuteer, a museum dedicated to the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi are in the near vicinity and are expected to get a boost from the new developments. GARUD and IRSDC also plan to add more facilities in the Redeveloped station as well as surrounding areas to further boost the local area and make it a destination for people from all walks of life.
Two new trains, one weekly superfast to Varanasi and one daily MEMU to Varetha are being introduced WEF 16/7/21. Ministry of Railways has ambitious plans for the area, and as the Gandhinagar area gets a boost in economic activities because of these initiatives of redevelopment of the station, more train services may be introduced.
The redeveloped station follows the principles of seven C’s which are the basic principles followed in planning of redeveloped railway stations by IRSDC.
In order to segregate the passengers, a concourse is planned for departing passengers, and two subways for arriving passengers. The station is future ready, and the concourse will be used for departing passengers when the passenger numbers increase at the station. However, in the near future, it is planned to open retail, food and entertainment outlets in this area to serve the demands of the passengers as well as the local population. Market players such as Big Bazaar and Shopper’s Stop have also shown interest in opening their mini outlets making it convenient for the passengers and local population to shop at the station. The redeveloped station will function like a “city centre rail mall” where travel will be one of the several functions that it will serve.
The station offers an accessible environment for the divyangjan and has lifts and ramps at all locations. Other facilities like tactile flooring are also provided. The station is equipped with modern facilities like ample waiting spaces, through columnless roof to provide protection against sun/rain etc, air conditioned multipurpose waiting hall, baby feeding room, improved signages and modern toilets, interfaith prayer room for the common man. Other amenities like the art gallery, theme facade lighting, etc will provide additional attractions which will not only enhance passenger satisfaction but will also prove to be a matter of pride for all as this station can boast of many firsts in the country. Without the concourse, the redeveloped station has been designed to handle 1,500 passengers in peak hour. With the concourse, the capacity will go up to 2,200 passengers in the peak hour.
The station aims to conserve the natural built environment, through use of sustainable materials like Portland Pozzolana Cement, fly ash bricks etc. and reducing the water, electricity requirements through energy efficient designs, rain water harvesting and recycling of water.
Taken up on the ‘Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC)’ model, Gandhinagar Railway Station is the Indian Railway’s first station to have adopted this model for redevelopment. A one of its kind unique, column free sleek and economical space frame of 99-meter (105 m curvilinear) span over platform (longest such span in Indian Railways comprising of 120 Kg/Sqm steel only) with weather proof seamless aluminium sheeting is provided at the redeveloped station. Providing subways, large foundations to support the tall building and launching the through roof trusses were unique engineering challenges which were addressed successfully during execution of the work. In fact, learnings from this project are going to help us execute such complicated projects in crowded areas of cities and the impact of this project will be far and wide.
Daily changeable theme-based lighting with 32 themes is one of the key highlights of the Gandhinagar station which is the first ever on Indian Railways. The concept behind the theme lighting as planned for Gandhinagar Railway Station is to use the redeveloped station as a big canvas. The LED lights are designed to change the hues everyday to add “colour to concrete” & bring life to the building after sunset!! The dancing lights shall be used to make the place as a destination for common man. When the facade lighting on the station will interact with the Dandi Kuteer situated opposite the railway station, with one of the tallest building in Ahmedabad/ Gandhinagar area at 77m in the backdrop, it will be a sight to behold. The people of Gandhinagar, and tourists who visit Dandi Kuteer, will be able to enjoy in the outdoor ambience from the green belt created in the circulating area of the redeveloped station.
Together, these development works, along with the new 18m wide underpass built to connect “Ka” road with “Kha” road as well as the hotel from the Mahatama mandir and railway station side by the Roads and Building department of Government of Gujarat will convert this area which was hitherto deserted most of the time into a vibrant place, a city center that the population of Gandhinagar will like to visit for a variety of purposes, and not just travel. It is aimed that the entire area around station will get converted into a city center, and a place that people of Gandhinagar will love, and be proud of.
With the dedication to the nation of Gandhinagar capital Railway Station, the Station Redevelopment Program as a whole has gained a huge momentum. There are many more redeveloped stations in the pipeline. As a part of this mission, work on the redevelopment of 125 stations is in progress. Out of this, IRSDC is working on 63 stations, and RLDA is working on 60 stations with two stations being taken up by zonal railways. The total investment for the redevelopment of 123 stations along with real estate development is more than Rs 50,000 crore. We at IRSDC are committed to the Station Re/development program of the Government of India and will steer it with great passion and determination. This program requires innovative approach and solutions to serve the common man who travel by railways, which has been displayed in the recently completed Gandhinagar capital and Habibganj railway Station Redevelopment projects.
This program requires the support and active involvement of the industry players – manufacturers, fabricators, contractors, planners, architects, designers, retailers, advertisers, and most importantly, investors/ Developers in the PPP projects to help transform not only the railway stations but the city and the country at large and move towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
Redeveloped Gandhinagar Capital Railway Station – Pride of India
Sets benchmark of development for other Railway Stations in India