Cochin Harbour Terminus has become the first railway station in the country to be given out on rent to host a private function. The decision to allow a private event at the station, where trains no longer ply, was taken as part of the Indian Railway's efforts to find new avenues of revenue.
The first such programme was the national meet of purchase managers attached to five-star and seven-star hotels which earned the Railways Rs 50,000. A railway-themed dinner was also organized in connection with the national meet of managers.
Foliage seems to have overtaken the abandoned station's premise. The Railways believes that hosting of private events would enable footfalls on the station platform and surroundings, preventing further growth of unwanted vegetation.
For the purchase managers' meet, Harbour Terminus was decked up as a functioning station with train announcements, food distribution on trolleys, book stalls and porters. Moreover, shows were staged which explained the history of the Harbour Terminus and that of Willingdon Island, where the railway station is located.
Music and dance programmes with railway as the theme were also presented. The event was managed by director of Greenix Village Stalin Benny and creative director Saritha Babu.
An interesting feature of the meet was the arrival of 400 delegates at the railway station in autorickshaws. Kerala's traditional festival 'pooram' was also later organised for the guests. On each day of the event, different stages were arranged. Each of them highlighted the theme 'Kerala 25 years ago.'
With Railway's Thiruvananathapuram division earning Rs 50,000 by letting out the station for three hours, more such programmes would be allowed in the fututre. For instance, events such as wedding photoshoots, birthday parties, and exhibitions can be held here. Apart from Cochin Harbour Terminus, the Old Railway Station behind the Kerala High Court would also be let out for such events. In fact, similar to Harbour Terminus, no train services touch Old Railway station. With empty platforms, this gives the advantage of having enough space at both stations.
According to Railway's area manager Nithin Norbert, the permission for hosting events at Cochin Harbour Terminus and Old railway station can be obtained from the area manager's office in Ernakulam.