Mumbai: There was no showboating, no cutting of ribbons, and no media glare as commuters took their first steps on the half-a-kilometre long skywalk at Andheri (E) station. Till yesterday, thousands of students, office goers and people in general stared at what appeared to be a waste of public money while traversing the congested and filthy road parallel to the train tracks.
On Independence Day, the skywalk was finally connected to the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) facility on the second floor of the station. After purchasing tickets, travellers will have to proceed down some stairs onto the adjacent railway foot over bridge (FOB).
“We opened this skywalk by connecting it with the FOB last morning,” said a Western Railway official on condition of anonymity. Many people were seen taking advantage of the skywalk while entering the station premises, though in the early hours some bamboo canes were strategically placed, blocking easy access for pedestrians.
People can now use the half-a-km long structure to reach the ticket counters on the second floor of the station.
Best foot forward
“The shops next to the railway station hardly leave room for people to walk freely. This skywalk connectivity was much needed,” said Kailash Verma, member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee.
The foremost reason behind the delay in linking this skywalk with the station was the protracted work on constructing the two-storey station building at Andheri (E). This building will house the stationmaster’s office, railway police office and also a proposed food plaza.
WR authorities on Wednesday also started an unreserved ticketing system (UTS) service – meant for acquiring tickets for local trains – while two others would become operational soon. Three automatic ticket vending machines (ATVMs) would also be established at the station.
Step in right direction
A Thane foot overbridge that was to be opened for public on Wednesday would now see footfalls only on Saturday. Sources in Central Railway said this decision was taken to pay respect to former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh who passed away on August 14.