Asansol is one of the biggest cities in the state of West Bengal. It comes next to Kolkata and ranks as the second-largest city. For such a big city, the railway facilities are also prominent.
The Asansol Railway Station is a significant division of the Eastern Railway Zone and is located on the prestigious Howrah–Delhi prime line. The Asansol Railways Station is the 8th busiest railway station in India regarding train frequency and commuting. Trains from several stations like Kanpur Central, Vijayawada Junction, Old Delhi Junction, New Delhi Cantonment, Howrah, and Patna Junction arrive at this Railway Station. The busiest station regularly witnesses around 171 trains passing through it.
History of Asansol Railway Station
Asansol gained significance during around 1863-64 when Eastern Railway Division looked forward to extending the line further east through this city. The leaders of that time also emphasized developing this city as an industrial area. The Sahibganj Loop was the first railway line constructed from Kolkata to Delhi. The first train through that route started in 1866. However, the shorter line via Asansol and Jhajha was established primarily in 1871. This short line was initially named Chord line, but with time as it gained prominence and more traffic, the route was inducted into the mainline.
After completing the main Sitarampur–Gaya–Mughalsarai Grand Chord line in the year 1901, the Kolkata–Delhi rail distance reduced significantly. Asansol then started functioning as a primary junction station connecting the central and chord lines. This is because the Sitarampur junction near Asansol is comparatively smaller than it. With further developments in West Bengal and the eastern region, more railway connections and lines formed between Delhi and Kolkata, and the Bengal Nagpur Railway extended its tracks to the Asansol industrial belt in 1887. This successfully connected Adra with it. The railway construction and subsequent development of the city into a junction increased its industrial prominence across the country.
Electrification of Asansol Railway Station
The electrification process of railways made progress during the early fifties. Though there were initial installations of 3 kV DC traction, the railways also put up 25 kV AC system lines. The electrification process of the Bardhaman-Mughalsarai line section took place in 1957, and the Howrah-Gaya line was electrified by 1960. The central and industrially wealthy Tatanagar-Adra-Asansol section gained electrification during 1957-1962. The Asansol Electric Loco Shed houses the oldest electric locomotive shed owned by the Indian Railways.
Asansol Railway Division
The Asansol Railway Division was established in 1925 and is one of the oldest railway divisions of the Indian Railways. The Asansol Railway Division’s jurisdiction extends from the Khana junction distant signal to Jhajha distant signal on the busy Howrah–Delhi mainline. Towards the Grand Chord line, the jurisdiction of the Asansol Railway Division extends to the Pradhankhunta distant signal. The branch lines under Asansol Railway Division are:
- Jasidih–Baidyanathdham and
This Railway Division covers 565 route kilometers and includes quadruple lines from Khana to Sitarampur areas. It handles regular 100 trains and daily 212 passenger train commute.
Railway section in the Industrial Zone
The central railway belt under Asansol Railway Station between Durgapur to Dhanbad falls in the industrialized zone. This railway section passes through several industries and mining factories that resonate with busy areas. In addition to factories, the section also covers many coalmines- some of them closed down and some still throbbing with deep fires. The railway section covers more of the mining area around the southern part than the industries. Additionally, a majority of the part of the railway route passes cuttings. Cuttings refer to places where the surrounding area ply higher than the track itself. This section sees masonry bridges constructed to level the portion efficiently.
Passenger movement at Asansol Railway Station
Asansol ranks among the high-ranking and top hundred booking stations of the Indian Railways. A total of 152 trains originate or pass through the Asansol railway station regularly. Some of the major trains that pass through Asansol Railway Junction include:
- Sealdah Rajdhani
- Howrah Rajdhani
- Howrah Duronto
- Sealdah Humsafar Express
- Yuva Express and
- Shalimar Duronto
Only the Sealdah Duronto and Howrah Rajdhani Express pass through Patna.
Amenities at the Asansol Railway Station
The Asansol railway station is a seat of luxury. It has three double-bedded AC lounge rooms, two double-bedded non-AC lounge rooms, and an eight-bedded dormitory set. The station has escalators on platforms 2 & 7. Other amenities available in Asansol Railway Station include superfast WiFi, food avenues, and restrooms. The station also has an air-conditioned Premium Lounge.