The East Indian Railway Company built a single-storey railway station in 1926, which later came to be known as New Delhi Railway Station. The station will soon get a significant makeover as the reconstruction will be completed in three phases this year. The station’s only platform was located between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj when it was first built.
Nowadays, it is considered to be 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 at Paharganj and Platform 16 opens towards Ajmeri Gate.
The station is only two kilometers from Connaught Place, the central business district of Delhi, and is connected to many major cities through over 300 railway lines. A total of 400 trains running from here reach 867 stations in the country. On an average, 36 lakh passengers travel from here daily.
New Delhi Railway Station is the terminal station for most train routes going east and south. The station is connected to the New Delhi–Mumbai Main Line, New Delhi–Chennai Main Line, Howrah–Gaya–Delhi Line and the 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.
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 like Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan On also depart from New Delhi Railway Station. Wheels, and Maharaja Express.
New Delhi railway station has the largest interlocking network in the world and has held the record for the largest route relay interlocking system in the world since 1999.
It was 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 first developed in 2007 just before the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
During that time it was connected to New Delhi by making Ring Railway. In 1926, 20-25 trains used to run from this station and 4000-5000 people used to travel from there. Until the 1950s, Old Delhi Railway Station was the main station of 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 entrance 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. By the 1980s the station had seven platforms, 10 in 1995, increasing to 16 during redevelopment. During this, the new station building towards Ajmeri Gate was upgraded.
A railway official told that according to the redevelopment plan to start in 2023 after about a decade and a half, construction work will be done on platforms 1-5 in the first phase, platforms 6-9 in the second phase and on the platform. 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.
The official said 60 to 100 trains will be affected when the construction work starts as planned in the first phase, during which trains reaching the capital from different parts of the country will be run from different stations in the NCR.
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 platform 6-16, while the construction work is going on in the first phase.
According to sources, the railway’s mail, express, superfast, intercity and passenger trains will mainly run from Old Delhi Railway Station. Along with this, some trains will also run from Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Shakur Basti, Tilak Bridge, Safdarjung, Sabzi Mandi, Bijwasan and Delhi Cantt railway stations.
At the same time, considering the problem of traffic jams in peak hours, the Railway Board has prepared a plan for widening and diversion of roads at small stations.