With the advent of India’s first Bullet train project, the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor, a revolution in the way the railway stations are conceived & designed is also going to undergo a change. It would only be prudent to say that while with the introduction of HSR the focus is on creating a new infrastructural spine for sustainable transport in India, equal amount of planning & thought is being put in to uplift the infrastructure of the stations to match international standards in convenience, navigation, amenities & aesthetics. The HSR stations will have access to shops, cafes & restaurants, parking lots, retail & commercial hubs, lounge areas, general facility kiosks, an impressive theme based building, provision for multimodal transport integration, and modern yet functional amenities for passengers of all categories like dedicated parking for wheelchair bound travellers, brail tactile flooring etc.
The HSR stations in particular will not only score high on operations and functionality but also become a symbol of modernisation in Tier 2 & satellite towns across Maharashtra & Gujarat. To meet the demands of large passenger traffic, building modern station infrastructure that can smoothly manage such dynamic movements is the next best logical step. Therefore, the HSR station designs will go beyond the traditional function of the normal station and become an active participant in the economic, financial, cultural & social advancement of the areas they are going to be situated in. A destination in itself, these stations will provide travellers and visitors alike with services as well as clean and comfortable spaces to rest or lounge in between their travel. The arrangement of spaces will follow the direction of travel and help passengers navigate the station intuitively resulting in a consistent approach and intuitive way finding strategy.
The interiors of the stations will be designed to meet the international standards in functionality & operations while offering seamless connection & convenience to the daily commuters. Aesthetically, the stations will come alive with the use of soothing colours and will have all the modalities of signage, seating arrangements, lounges, and waiting area etc. in place. But equal and immense thought process has gone into increasing the operational & structural flexibility of these HSR stations spread across 12 locations. To begin with, the Sabarmati and Ahmedabad stations will offer seamless connections to other inter & intra city transport networks like roadways, airways & railways among others. As an intermodal hub, HSR stations will provide passengers with the ease of connectivity and a wide choices at disposal to reach their final destination in a more convenient way.
Since railway stations are looked upon as a significant part of the urban fabric, HSR stations through their logical design plan and better connection between different towns, cities, districts etc., will help relieve congestion on the roads and offer train passengers with amenities and facilities that are at par with HSR trains across the world.
Perfectly unifying building space, technology and material, the HSR station buildings will be designed using utmost advanced technologies representing regional features, to forge the complex of high quality and a long & strong service life. Here’s a quick look at all the innovations that will be introduced at the HSR stations for the convenience of the passengers travelling on India’s first Bullet Train between Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Conceived as a gateway to a new, modern & convenient way of travelling, most of the HSR stations have been designed keeping in mind the architectural and cultural ethos and traditions of the region they will be constructed in. Among the most striking feature of the overall HSR station plan will be the design themes selected for stations like Vadodara, Bilimora, Surat & the Sabarmati passenger hub. Each will feature a theme inspired from the cultural or traditional ethos these places are remembered or recognised by. Example, Sabarmati is famous as the place from where Mahatma Gandhi launched the Dandi March from in 1930 and the HSR railway station at Sabarmati and Sabarmati passenger hub will have few architectural features inspired by this historic movement in India’s freedom struggle.
Similarly, following this pattern of inspired designs, the HSR stations at Vadodara, Bilimora and Surat will feature elements inspired from Banyan Tree, Mango and Diamonds, respectively, which these cities are prominently known for.
New material and technology will be applied for the construction of HSR stations to embody sustainable development concepts like ecology, greening and environment protection. Passive energy-saving measures and active ecological technology combined in the designs effectively will help reduce energy consumption of the buildings, thereby comprehensively improving the demonstration effect of ecological and environmental protection of the stations. All the HSR stations will be equipped and oriented to benefit buildings’ ecological sustainability. Integrated solar panels in the roof, combined with natural light and ventilation will enable some of HSR stations to minimise their energy consumption. In addition to this, provisions for rain water harvesting alongside construction of water rejuvenation pits and conservation pits will be included as a vital design element.
To make travel convenient for our differently-abled train passengers, the HSR stations will have a host of facilities that will not only make them feel safe & secure the moment they’d enter the building but also the confidence of a transport mode that has been designed keeping in mind their needs and requirements. For the convenience of visually impaired passengers brail tactile flooring will be integrated as an integral design element. It will enable the visually impaired passengers to navigate through the station freely and easily. Additionally, for the Divyang passengers, special ramps and parking slots will be introduced so that they can manage their way without any discomfort or inconvenience and reach their destination safely. The stations will be equipped with special enquiry, assistance & ticketing counters for the differently abled passengers where they can seek help and be assured of a comfortable and hassle-free journey onwards. Escalators, lifts, wheelchair will be added for the passengers to stay mobile and reach their point of boarding easily.
These stations will be integrated with public spaces that will become a hub for major commercial, retail and entertainment activities. Both inside and outside the HSR stations, passengers can enjoy facilities like access to restaurants, retail shops, coffee shops other commercial places.
There will be modern, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing waiting lounges available for passengers which will feature facilities like TV lounge, Wi-Fi etc., among others. For business class passengers, a separate lounge will be available that will give them access to facilities like wi-fi, a reading corner, TV, tea/coffee facility etc. Multilevel mechanized parking area is another interesting feature that the passengers will be able to avail when they’d come to pick/ drop a loved one or have plans to undergo same day journey between any of the places falling on the MAHSR corridor. These lounge & parking facilities will be available on pay & use basis.
Security of the passengers is a crucial aspect and for the same robust arrangements will made both outside and inside the HSR stations. Measures like equipping the station buildings with CCTV cameras, emergency help points and well-designed lighting systems across the network are some of the facilities that will be introduced.
Conceived as an architectural expression of the future of train travel in India, the HSR stations will not only feature modern structures, facilities and amenities but also adopt concepts of tomorrow that in turn will set the pace for an infrastructural revolution in the country.