The weekend was near and what was more
exciting than visiting a railway station. This
weekend our teachers decided to take us to a
railway station and we were filled with
excitement. I had read about railway stations in
the book; but now I was actually going to visit
one. I heard that it was one of the busiest
places, where throngs of people went to and fro
twenty four hours a day. I was thinking about
the trains, announcements, food stalls, people
rushing down the railway platforms and all the
other activities that I had read about. This
Saturday we would be visiting a railway station
- the Howrah Station.
We all gathered at the school parlour on Saturday at 7:30 am in the morning. After a while, the school bus arrived. All of us were excited and got into the bus hurriedly. The bus left for the railway station at 8:00 am. After travelling for about half an hour, we finally reached the Howrah Station. Our teachers asked us to get down from the bus in an orderly manner and to remain together so that nobody gets lost. The first thing we did was to book the platform tickets. We were twenty in number including our teachers so I was asked to buy twenty platform tickets for entering the station. After I returned with the tickets we all entered the station.
On entering, I observed so many people rushing to and fro around the station. Some passengers were exiting the station; while others were hurrying to catch their respective trains. Some people were also sitting on chairs, benches and on the ground awaiting their respective trains. There were around twenty railway platforms. There was a huge digital board that reflected the arrival and departure schedule of trains. There was also an enquiry section where passengers crowded to enquire about trains. We saw a number of people in black coats standing near entry and exit points of the station. We came to know they were the Travelling Ticket Examiner, in short TTE. Their job is to check passengers' tickets while entering and exiting the station.
Apart from this there were continuous announcements of arrival and departure of trains. On the whole I found the station to be a noisy place buzzing with activity perhaps twenty four hours a day.
Our teacher took us around the station. There were a number of rest rooms meant for ladies and gents. There was also an air conditioned rest room which was meant for passengers travelling by first class. I also took note of the office of the Station Master, the goods' clerk, booking clerk etc. There were a good number of food stalls, restaurants, chemist shops and book stalls at the railway station to help passengers meet their local needs and requirements. Then our teacher showed us some people wearing metal arm-bands and red and white uniform carrying luggage. They were luggage carriers who earned their living by carrying the luggage of passengers. We also saw trains running on electricity as well as those that ran on steam engines. As soon a train was ready to leave the platform, the engine driver gave a loud signal with the guard waving a green flag alerting passengers of the train's departure. People were waving out to their loved ones while trains left the station. Vendors were seen all around the station selling various articles. There was also a prepaid taxi stand just outside the station to take passengers to their respective destination.
We were at the railway station for nearly four hours. Our teacher was really patient with us and we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. The visit to the railway station was really very informative and helped us to learn a great deal. Now, whenever I hear the loud signal of train, it reminds me of my visit to the railway station that was so very enjoyable.