Ayodhya railway station: As per projections of Indian Railways, the Ram Mandir is likely to transform the Ayodhya town into one of the country’s biggest pilgrimage centres like Varanasi or Prayagraj. According to Indian Railways’ Lucknow Division officials, after the Ram temple is opened to the public, the footfall in Ayodhya railway station is estimated to jump at least 12 times from the present 5,000 per day, bringing it on par with Prayagraj and Varanasi. As per Indian Railways’ infrastructure augmentation plan, the nearby Faizabad railway station along with Ayodhya railway station will bear the increased load and Ayodhya will become a local rail hub, according to an IE report.
Following the November 2019 verdict on the Ram temple dispute, Indian Railways has conceived the plan for the second phase of station development in a greenfield project on Ayodhya station’s south side with a 50-year perspective. The national transporter, which has sought land from the state government of Uttar Pradesh for development of additional space of around 1 lakh sq m, wants to create a new railway station on a par with the large railway stations in the country.
According to the report, the greenfield project concept has amenities like sojourn for pilgrims, etc. The first phase of the Ayodhya station redevelopment works are likely to be completed by June 2021 and an estimated amount of Rs 104 crore is being spent on this project.
According to officials, plans were expedited after the SC verdict. It is expected that the Ayodhya pilgrimage circuit along with Bharat Kund, Shrigvraverpur as well as Chitrakoot Dham will attract a huge flow of pilgrims. In order to cater to this, small railway stations, such as Ramghat and Acharya Narendra Dev Nagar, will be included in the larger plan to distribute the traffic load, transforming the city of Ayodhya into a rail hub.
A senior divisional official was quoted in the report saying that the traffic load of Prayagraj is served by the main station as well as by several satellite stations. Indian Railways expects the traffic here to be more than Prayagraj, he added. At present, according to the report, Ayodhya is on alternate railway route between Lucknow and Varanasi and is 238 km long single line from Barabanki to Zafrabad.