Difference between Terminal, Junction, and Central Station in Indian Railways

Central Station in Indian Railways
Central Station in Indian Railways

Train travel in India is a vibrant and bustling experience, filled with chaotic crowds, bustling coolies, and the rhythmic chugging of trains. As we wait for our train at the station, we often notice various boards displaying different names, such as terminals, junctions, and central stations. This raises the question of why some stations are referred to as terminals, junctions, or centrals. In order to understand these distinctions, let us delve into the characteristics of each type of station.

Difference between Terminal, Junction, and Central Station

Central Stations

Most commonly, the oldest station in a city is designated as a Central station. These stations are the busiest and most important among the multiple stations within a city. Central stations are typically large in size, and trains departing from or arriving at these stations serve almost every major route across the country. They play a pivotal role in facilitating travel to various destinations within the country. Some notable Central stations in India include Mumbai Central (BCT), Kanpur Central (CNB), Chennai Central (MAS), Mangalore Central (MAQ), and Trivandrum Central (TVC).

Terminal Stations

The term "terminal" refers to the termination of a track, where each incoming track ends at stop-blocks and does not continue further. Terminal stations are designed in such a way that trains can only enter and exit the station in one direction. The tracks end in the opposite direction of entry, and trains must exit in the same direction they entered. This configuration allows passengers to access all platforms without having to cross tracks. Terminal stations are often located at the ends of specific routes or lines. Examples of terminal stations in India include Anand Vihar Terminal (ANVT) in New Delhi and Bandra Terminus (BDTS) in Mumbai.

Junction Stations

Junction stations are characterized by three or more train lines converging or diverging at a single location. For a station to be considered a junction, there must be at least three train lines that extend from the station, and incoming trains must have access to at least two outgoing train lines. Junction stations are essential for facilitating smooth transfers between different routes and directions. They often have multiple platforms to accommodate trains heading towards different destinations simultaneously, although this is not a mandatory requirement. Some major junctions in India include Howrah Junction, Ambala Cantt, Koderma Junction, Patna Junction, Allahabad Junction, and Agra Cantt.

Central Station in Indian Railways
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