Without an iota of doubt, the best way to have a glimpse of the incredible transportation system in India is not from an aircraft but from the ground level, and what better than the bustle of Indian railways? This article is an attempt to bring into light the list of the top 10 largest Railway Stations in India by network, but before that let’s just brush up few must-know facts about the Indian Railways shared below:
From Almost 163 years ago when the first train in India ran from Bombay to Thane till now, when the statistics of Indian railways are transcending day by day and also, greatly providing an impetus towards development of nation.
Indian railways, ‘the harbinger of change’ in transportation to the citizens, boasts the third biggest passenger rail network after Russia and China, operating route length of 115,000 km, of track over a route of 65,808 km and almost 8,000 stations through the length and breadth of the country.
The rail map prepared by the Ministry of Railways in India is divided into 17 zones and operates more than 19,000 trains per day, around 12,000 trains are for passengers and 7,000 for freight. It is the biggest in the world in terms of passenger-kilometres too. Rail tours in India cater almost 30 million passengers daily, 1.5 million staff and 17,000 trains operating on per day basis.
In fact, the rail tour not only safe and comfortable but packed with vivid kaleidoscopic experiences.
From the summoning cry of Chai walas coming down the aisle, to picturesque view from the window seat, the fancy kiosks of famous specialty food stalls swarming till the windows bringing food to every coach of a stopped train; all kinds of frenzied sale of act, boarding by passengers takes 5 minute before the train leaves.
Railway stations have always been tryst full of jolly commotions & emotional fervours. This fad remains intact and timeless no matter what.
Apparently, the Indian railways is changing shape after the following observed milestones:
1. ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’ mission, the campaign of making station cleaner, have been started to follow right from the parking space to the platforms and inside the trains.
2. Facility of free wi-fi to be enabled for passengers and visitors in 100 stations has rolled out as of now, and around 400 more stations has been powered by Google-RailTel collaboration is another buzzing news in favour of the commuters.
3. Railways apps have been devised for seamless streaming information and making enquiries upfront, booking and cancellation of ticket are almost on the verge of unleashing soon as another breakthrough in the history of Indian railways and smart card for cashless ticket purchase are now available.
4. Ordering online food at stations with apps like “Railrider”,”Travelkhana” enables commuters to consume food of their choice. Also, one can order food through IRCTC e-catering services.
Many food tenders, self-help groups supplying home cooked food are being roped up to be at the service of passenger for tasty and hygienic meals during their journey instead of depending on food supplied by contractors or pantry cars.
5. Adding up four new trains for convenience of commuters all across India was announced in the recent budget 2016.
6. “Clean my coach service” through SMS facility, hi-tech screens for train information will now be available to all commuters.
7. The most celebrated news of no hike in passenger or freight fares as per the recent rail budget.
Every trivia is so fascinating about the rail routes that it deserves a kudos! With the above and many other flagships initiatives, after the recent rail budget passed, by the Indian railways, a substantial leverage is foreseen with it’s upcoming new technological, infrastructural and other fronts and henceforth, promising to ease travellers to a great extent making their journey happy indeed.
Talking about one of the core area of importance, the railways station have taken huge leaps too.
The stations are now having improved and cleaner platforms, AC waiting rooms, security of luggage with better Cloakrooms, Dormitory, Retiring rooms, ATMs, Refreshment, Wi-Fi, comfy Restroom and Parking facilities, Security, Delicious food stalls and much more amenities are now available to satiate all needs of the travellers at any station.
Here we present you the list of the top 10 largest railway stations by network in India for figuring out more clearly the whole picture from a bird’s eye view.
10) Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) CentralIt is the biggest and busiest railway station located in Kerala, in terms of passenger movement thus, being an important rail hub in South India. It is one of the most profitable stations under Southern Railway.
The building of the railway station, inaugurated in November 1931 and is one of the landmarks of the city ‘Thiruvananthapuram’ and also is one of the oldest station of the country.
The Trivandrum central station was the first to install video surveillance and is also well equipped with modern security gadgets, for improving the security concerns.
9) Kanpur Central Railway StationIt is one among the five “Central” railway stations in India, established way back in the year 1930. Kanpur Central is the busiest station of the North Central Railways. It manages a traffic of over 150,000 passengers, and more than 280 trains pass by the station per day. It has secured the ninth position in the list of top 10 largest railway station by network in India.
Kanpur Central is ranked among the top hundred booking stations of the country. It is a major intercity rail network and commuter rail station in the city of Kanpur.
8) Vijayawada Junction Railway StationIt was constructed in 1888 in Vijayawada city of Andhra Pradesh. Vijayawada Junction is the second busiest railway junction of Indian Railways, with more than 400 trains of passenger and freight passing through it and serving about 1.40 lakh passengers regularly and 50 million annually.
Vijayawada railway station is categorized as an A-1 station. The station has 10 platforms and 22 tracks all of them are broad gauge and electrified. The Vijayawada Junction also houses a Diesel Loco Shed which has the WDM-2 Locomotive and also an Electric Loco Shed.
7) Chhatrapati Shivaji terminusBuilt in 1887, by Frederick William Stevens was erstwhile known as the Victoria Terminus, happens to be one of the most historic railway station in the country, which is situated in Mumbai. It is also known as a UNESCO World Heritage site as, it portrays the High Victorian Gothic style of architecture.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus has a picturesque and eye-catching jungle-themed facade. This railway station serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. Commonly known as “CST “, has 18 bay platforms in total handling, out of which seven are for locals trains and 11 are for long distance. It secures the seventh rank in the list of top railway station by network in India.
The station daily handles commuters of roughly around 3 million. With the efflux of time and due to the convergence of local and outside passengers, CST has become the busiest train station in Asia.
6) Chennai Central Railway StationErstwhile known as Madras Central, is the main railway terminus situated in the city of Chennai. The station building is of Gothic Revival style and Romanesque styles, is about 142-year-old was designed by architect George Harding.
The total length of the station is about 950 meters and a very prominent landmark of Chennai.
About 400,000 passengers use the terminus every day. Chennai Central is 15 bay platforms and handles long distance trains. The station is utmost clean station and hence, renowned countrywide.
About 200 trains arrive and depart at the Chennai Central station daily, including about 46 pairs of mail/express trains, along with 257 suburban trains. The station is a major transit point for shipment of inland and sea fish in Southern India through trains.
“Basin Bridge Train Care Centre”, a broad-gauge coach maintenance depot and train care centre is located at the northern side of the terminus, where trains having 18 to 24 coaches are checked, cleaned and readied for the next trip after they return from round trips made by them.
5) Gorakhpur Junction Railway StationOpened in the year 1930, the station is located in the city of Gorakhpur, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The station has 10 platforms, 26 tracks and it serves as the headquarters for the North Eastern Railway.
The Gorakhpur Junction offers Class A railway station facilities. On 6 October 2013, Gorakhpur Junction became the world’s longest railway platform, with a length of 1,366.33 metres, until recently, Kharagpur in West Bengal was the longest platform. The station handles over 189 trains and about 270,000 passengers daily.
4) Secunderabad Junction Railway StationIt is a major intercity railway station and a commuter rail hub in the urban area of Hyderabad, with total 10 platforms, and 11 Tracks, all broad-gauged and electrified. The historical fort like building grabs the attraction of thousands of tourists due to its exquisite design thus, it is also one of the most aesthetically appealing railway stations in India.
Secunderabad railway station was built in 1874, by the Nizam of Hyderabad State, during the British era. Almost 229 trains arrive at, or depart from, the station with daily commuters over 160,000 travel through this junction across the country. It secures the fourth rank in the list of top 10 largest railway station by network in India.
Secunderabad Railway Station is one of the biggest and busiest railway stations in the Indian railway system. Secunderabad Railway Station is the first railway station to be installed with an automated parking system. It is also one of the cleanest station in the country and well equipped with ultra-modern security and parking including security personnel .
3) New Delhi Railway StationIt holds the record for the largest route interlocking system globally, which made it secure a place in ‘Guinness Book of Record’. The station is situated between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj area.
The station has 18 tracks and 16 platforms, which caters over 5 lakhs passengers with almost 350 trains passing by every day. Hence, making it one of the biggest and busiest railway station of Indian Railways. Train counting ‘over 100’ originates from this station, few of them namely Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express etc.
New Delhi railway station also won the national award as the “best tourist-friendly station” in the recent year.
The station also flaunts a spectacular transit lounge named as “IRCTC Traveler’s Executive Lounge”. The premises of this five-star lounge is within the New Delhi railway station is situated opposite to platform no.16 towards Ajmeri Gate Side and is available at very affordable rates. The lounge provides similar comfort to passengers in a way similar to a hotel suite does.
2) Lucknow Railway StationLucknow is the busiest junction, situated in Charbagh, Lucknow. The station has 15 platforms in total where over 64 trains come in and move out, every day. About 100 trains start from, terminate at or pass through this station.
For more than 100 express trains (or 23 pairs of Mail/Express trains), 18 slow passenger trains, 3 pairs of Garib Rath express, 28 Superfast Trains, and a pair of Shatabdi, started from or terminated at or passed through LJN station. It offers some extra facility of a cab way, Battery Operated Cars.
The station building has a “palace” like view with a garden and is a mixture of Rajput, Awadi, and Mughal architecture. The aerial view of the building resembles a chess board and the domes and pillars resembles the pieces of the game “chess”.
1) Howrah Junction Railway StationThe station is at the pinnacle among the list of Top 10 largest railway station by network in India.
Established in the year 1854 , in Kolkata, is one of the oldest and complex railway station in India, with 23 Platforms and 26 tracks, it handles over 150 trains per week, and 500+ Suburban services per week. Howrah Junction has the highest train-handling capacity than any railway station in India.
Over six hundred trains run each day, having served more than a million passengers thus, making Howrah Junction one of the busiest railway platforms in India in terms of passenger volume per day.
This Station houses the divisional headquarters of the Eastern Railway zone, and is located on the bank of the Hooghly river.
Howrah Junction also has a Diesel and Electric Loco Shed near the station to cater the needs of trains. It is one of the four intercity railway stations serving the city of Kolkata.