The East Indian Railway Company constructed a one-story railroad station in 1926 that would later become known as New Delhi Railway Station. The station will soon get a significant makeover because the rebuilding will be completed in three stages this year. The station’s sole platform was situated between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj when it was first built. Nowadays, it is regarded as one of the busiest stations in the country in terms of train frequency and passenger movement, with a total of 16 platforms and 18 tracks, where platform 1 is located in Paharganj and platform 16 opens towards Ajmeri gate.
The station is only two kilometers away from Delhi`s central business district Connaught Place and is connected to several major cities through more than 300 railway lines. A total of 400 trains departing from here reach 867 stations in the country. On average, 3.6 million passengers travel from here every day.
New Delhi Railway Station is the terminal station for most of the rail routes going towards East and South. The station is connected to New Delhi-Mumbai Main Line, New Delhi-Chennai Main Line, Howrah-Gaya-Delhi Line, and Delhi-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor. The station serves as the main hub for the Rajdhani Express and is both the starting and ending point of the Shatabdi Express.
Marking a New Era: Proposed design of the to-be redeveloped New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS). pic.twitter.com/i2Fll1WG59— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) September 3, 2022
In 1969, the first Rajdhani Express left for Howrah from the station, and the country`s first Vande Bharat Express was flagged off from here in 2019. Luxury tourist trains also depart from New Delhi Railway Station such as Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, and Maharaja Express.
New Delhi Railway Station has the world`s largest interlocking network and has held the record for the largest route relay interlocking system in the world since 1999.
It earlier ranked A1 as per the classification of Indian Railway stations of commercial importance and is now a Non-Suburban grade-1 (NSG-1) station. After a long gap, the New Delhi Railway Station was developed for the first time in 2007, just before the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
During that time, it was connected to New Delhi by building the Ring Railway. In 1926, 20-25 trains used to leave from this station and 4000-5000 people travelled from there. Until the 1950s, Old Delhi Railway Station was the main station in the capital, but after 1956 New Delhi Railway Station became the main station of Delhi.
The station building at Paharganj was the first station building in India to have common facilities for all classes of passengers including a common entry and exit.
Persistent efforts have been made over the decades to reduce the station`s load, including rail traffic, with the station reaching its saturation limit in the early 1970s. The station had seven platforms by the 1980s, 10 in 1995, which increased to 16 in the course of redevelopment. During this, the new station building towards Ajmeri Gate was upgraded.
A railway official said that according to the redevelopment plan to begin in 2023 after almost a decade and a half, construction work will be done on platforms 1-5 in the first phase, on platforms 6-9 in the second phase, and on platforms 10-16 in the third and last phase. A senior Railway Board official said that 300 passenger trains operate daily from New Delhi Railway Station.
As per the plan for the first phase, 60 to 100 trains will be affected when the construction work starts, during which, trains reaching the capital from different parts of the country will be run from different stations in the NCR, said the official.
However, there will be no restriction on the operation of premium trains like Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express, and Vande Bharat Express, and they will run from platforms 6-16, while the construction work in the first phase is underway.
As per the source, the railway`s mail, express, superfast, intercity and passenger trains will be run mainly from Old Delhi Railway Station. Along with this, some trains will depart from Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Shakur Basti, Tilak Bridge, Safdarjung, Sabzi Mandi, Bijwasan, and Delhi Cantt railway stations.
At the same time, in view of the issue of traffic jam in peak hours faced by the passengers, the Railway Board has prepared a plan for widening and diversion of roads at small stations.
In 2022, the Centre announced that the New Delhi Railway Station will be renovated at a cost of Rs 4,700 crore. The Union Cabinet had approved Rs 10,000 crore for Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad railway stations.
As per the plan of the Indian Railways, the New Delhi Railway Station will have 40-story twin towers, multi-level car parking, and pick-up and drop zones among others once it is developed.
The Railways will get an area of 45,000 sq metres for its office. Besides this, 91 bus bays, 1500 ECS parking, and a skywalk for pedestrians and metro commuters will be developed at the site, read a statement by the government.
According to the model, the office will be in the twin towers, along with a hotel and some retail shops. The station will be decorated in line with historical and modern Indian culture to give it a unique identity.
The built-up area of the station will be around 2,22,000 sq metres. It will also have a six-floor building with two large signature domes in its main complex. No time limit has been set by the Railways for this.
Along with this, according to the modernisation programme proposed by the Ministry of Railways, the New Delhi Railway Station and its surrounding areas will be beautified and equipped with the latest facilities.
The project is ready under the New Delhi Railway Station (NDRS) redevelopment plan and the railway administration is waiting for the green signal from the Delhi Urban Art Commission. The work on this project is expected to be done on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
Under this, armed with private participation, along with the station premises, the railway land adjacent to it will be developed afresh. At present, the process of tendering is underway.
However, one of the hurdles in commencing work on the project is the non-approval of the Railway Land Development Authority`s (RLDA) master plan by the Delhi Urban Art Commission.
With IANS Inputs