Hubballi station is set to boast of the world’s longest railway platform as part of a major station infrastructure upgrade.
Among the key things that Hubballi can expect are more platforms, better passenger amenities and a modern signalling system that vastly reduces the need for the detention of trains in outer signals.
Increased space for the coaching yard to maintain trains will also become available.
The Longest Platform In the World
But the big-ticket surprise that we might soon see is the plan for a platform that is 1,400 metres long. When commissioned, this will be the world’s longest railway platform. Gorakhpur under North Eastern Railway zone, at 1,336 metres, will move down to the second place.
“Yes, we are extending the existing PF 1 to 1,400 metres,” says Shubham Srivastava, Deputy Chief Engineer, Construction, SWR, rather excitedly. “The Miraj side is too narrow to expand, and we can expand only on the Gadag/Davanagere side,” he reasons.
“With this expansion, effectively the new PF 1 can morph into two, or sometimes three, platforms, says Shrinivas Joshi, a retired railway staffer.
Srivastava agrees, saying, “It is quite possible that the longest platform can see simultaneous berthing of at least two trains at a time.” Obviously, this will need a crossover at the middle of the platform for trains to change over to the through running lines.
The plan is to add three more platforms – 1A, 1B, and 1C as we have tentatively numbered them,” informs Shri Srivastava. We are also constructing another subway for access to these PFs,” he added.
Hubballi Upgrade Necessary for Economic Hub
Hubballi (railway code UBL) is the headquarters of the South Western Railway (SWR) and is a major business centre in Karnataka. The railway station is a junction where lines from Davanagere and Gadag sides merge. On the other side is the line towards Londa, from where the line branches to Goa and Maharashtra.
The station currently comprises 5 platforms and is totally inadequate to handle the increasing number of trains and passengers. Further, both the lines coming in from Davanagere and Gadag are being doubled in a major infrastructure push to these areas. This allows an increase in the number of trains coming into Hubballi from both directions. Existing infrastructure will soon become inadequate.
Bypasses for Goods Traffic To Decongest Hubballi Yard
Even without touching the Hubballi yard, a bypass line is already functional. Goods trains from the Davanagere side headed to Gadag side take this line, thereby avoiding congestion in the Hubballi yard.
Another major step in decongesting the Hubballi yard is the construction of a goods bypass from near Amargol on the Dharwar Hubbali line to near Kusugal on the Hubballi Gadag line. “This line is already functional and goods trains that need not enter Hubballi are routed directly to join the Gadag line,” informs Ms E Vijaya, Deputy General Manager and Chief Public Relations Officer of SWR.
“It is a major remodelling of the yard,” says Srivastava. Work on the Rs.90 crore project has already started. In the first phase, we have already commissioned a 540-metre pitline. This is in addition to the three that exist,” he adds. A fourth pitline will mean three more trains can undergo primary maintenance at Hubballi.
This major remodelling is also necessitated by the fact the lines coming into Hubballi from both Gadag and Davanagere directions are being doubled. “With the massive increase in capacity, the yard, if left unexpanded, could turn into a major bottleneck, negating the benefits of doubling of tracks on all three sides,” explains Shrinivas Joshi.
New Subway For New Platforms
A subway is coming up about 500 metres from the existing subway and towards the Gadag / Davanagere end. “With the Gadag Road entry (the second entry to UBL station), and now this new subway, it will become easier for passengers to reach the station s without crowding the main gate,” says Shrinivas Joshi, who lives right across the main entrance of the Hubballi Railway Station.
However, the biggest talking point of the entire yard remodelling exercise is the planned platform length – at 1,400 metres, the existing platform will become the longest railway platform in the world, displacing Gorakhpur (1,366 m) to the second spot. Next up are Kollam in Kerala and Kharagpur in West Bengal.
Hubballi Plans Upgrade to Electronic Interlocking
This brings us to the next big thing in any project of this nature and size – signalling. “The entire signalling system – currently the Route Relay Interlocking – is being upgraded to the most modern Electronic Interlocking system,” informs the Deputy Chief Engineer. Given the size of the yard that spans almost two kilometres end to end, the signalling system will have a central EI cabin with two auxiliary cabins.
This major yard work will provide a huge capacity boost to the railway station, besides ensuring that there are no detentions at the outer signals, as is the norm at major stations these days. “The track layout is being planned in such a way that it will be capable of three simultaneous receptions and three dispatches,” says Shri Srivastava of the expansion.
So, when the yard work is completed, hopefully in June 2021, Hubballi will not only boast of a totally new and spacious railway station and amenities – it will also wear the tag of the World’s Longest Railway Platform – something that every Hublikar can be proud of.