|Kolkata Suburban Railway Station|
Shalimar railway station, West Bengal
|Location||Shibpur, Howrah, West Bengal|
|Elevation||4.500 metres (14.76 ft)|
|Owned by||Indian Railways|
|Operated by||South Eastern Railway|
|Line(s)||Shalimar-Santragachi line of Kolkata Suburban Railway|
|Structure type||Standard on ground station|
|Disabled access||Available|
|Zone(s)||South Eastern Railway|
|Previous names||Shalimar rail yard|
Shalimar railway station is one of five intercity railway stations serving Howrah and Kolkata, India. The other stations are Sealdah in Kolkata, Kolkata station in Kolkata, Howrah Station in Howrah and Santragachi in Howrah. Shalimar station is situated at Shalimar, in Shibpur area of Howrah. It is one of the cleanest, most well-maintained and non-congested railway terminals in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area.
The place where now the station is situated was formerly a very small rail station, and served by some diesel loco hauled trains. The present platforms were occupied by some goods lines. Those lines were a part of large Shalimar rail yard.
In 2000, the first plan was conceived to use this area as a bigger rail station. The rapidly growing long distance passengers were gradually overcrowding the Howrah station. Due to the limitation of space, new platform construction is restricted at Howrah. Although 3 new platforms (17, 22 & 23) were constructed at Howrah during 2006 – 2008, those were not sufficient. Side by side, due to its almost central position in Howrah, Howrah station is too busy for both suburban and long distance rail traffic. Unlike Sealdah Station, Howrah Station has less suburban trains than long-distance trains. Due to increasing of Eastern Railway trains, many platforms, which were previously built for South Eastern Railway trains, now often occupied by Eastern Railway trains. But many people of Howrah feel that it is much easy to catch a long distance train from Howrah than Sealdah, particularly in early morning and late night. But due to platform limitation, increasing the number of long distance trains was not possible from Howrah for South Eastern Railway.
To overcome this problem, South Eastern Railway suggested to Indian Railway officers to construct another bigger rail station at Howrah, mostly for long distance trains. The many underused tracks of Shalimar yard was the first choice of the authority.
Construction started from 2000. The construction of platforms, station buildings,. and car parking area were started. After the completion, other tracks were re-aligned. The tracks around platform were completely electrified for passenger coaches shunting. At first, only one express train started. This train stopped later and then other long distance trains started. From this time, diesel loco hauled trains were replaced by EMU trains, which started suburban services.
The station is served by the South Eastern Railway trains to Mecheda, Panskura, Kharagpur, Medinipur and other places. The number of trains on suburban routes is lesser than those on long-distance trains. There are two platforms - Platform 1, which is used by only suburban trains and Platform 2, which is used by long-distance trains. The station is operated by the South Eastern Railway.
There is a taxi stand and a toto (e-rickshaw) stand outside the station. The nearest tram terminus was formerly Shibpur, but it was closed in 1971. There are small eateries serving snacks on the platform and eateries serving lunch outside the station.
As a new rail station, this station is not well connected by public transport. The most direct service to the station is taxi, which is not preferable by poor. All buses run along College Road, which is almost 1 km away from the station. It is often impossible to walk this 1 km with heavy luggage for a commuter. Due to the lack of transport link, many people avoid this station. An irregular steamer service from Garden Reach is also present.
There is a plan to transfer part of the Howrah Station bus terminus to the front of the station, mainly for Kolkata bound routes, but nothing materialised.