The railways has re-categorised its stations using new criteria, which also take into account the footfall and strategic importance besides revenues, with a view to plan services and passenger amenities in an effective and more focused manner. The earlier criteria for categorisation of stations were based on the annual passenger earnings only and they were grouped into seven categories: A-1, A, B, C, D, E and F. That scheme has now been revised to include footfalls at the station as a criterion and they have been clubbed into 3 groups: Non-Suburban (NS), Suburban (S) and Halt (H). Further, these groups have been segregated in different grades: from 1-6. Thus, the station may be categorised as NSG 1-6, SG 1-3 and HG 1-3. “Earlier, the number of stations with higher footfalls (handling high number of commuter and pass-holders etc) could not be covered into the higher category of station, which led to these being eligible for lower level of amenities.
“In the new system, the footfall volume has also been given equal weightage and is taken into account as criteria for categorisation of stations,” a ministry official said.
Many stations like Kalyan, Panvel, Tambaram, Thane, which witness higher footfall, now qualify into the higher category and become eligible for higher level of amenities. Presently, according to the new scheme, there are 5,976 Non-Suburban Railway Station, 484 Suburban Railway Stations and 2,153 Halts, thus the total number of stations is 8,613. The categorisation has been done for a five-year period between 2017-18 and 2022-23. It will cover stations where annual footfall is at least 1 lakh and revenue Rs 5 lakh. Amenities earmarked for these stations include foot overbridge, high-level platform, trolley path for movement of wheelchair, escalators, lifts, digital chart display and others.