Burdwan: There have been several tales of ghost stations and deserted platforms across the world but rarely have one heard of a station that is fully functional yet without a name.
Welcome to Raina village in West Bengal’s Burdwan district. About 35 kilometres from Burdwan town, the Indian Railways had built a new station here in 2008. But, ever since it came into existence, it has come to be known as the station without a name.
Thus, of the 7112 stations under the Indian Railways, this one stands out of the rest. The story of its nameless existence goes back to a dispute of jurisdiction between present day ‘Raina’ and erstwhile ‘Rainagar’ station.
The yellow-coloured empty signboard on either side of the platform bears testimony to the fight between the locals of two villages – Rainagar and Raina.
Eight years ago, Rainagar was indeed a functional station, but at a distance of 200 metres from where the train halts today. It was then a narrow gauge route known as the Bankura-Damodar railway route.
After the revival of the route as part of the broad gauge line, the new station that was built came under the Raina village and was connected to the Howrah-Bardhman chord near Masagram.
However, trouble arose when adamant villagers refused to name it Rainagar saying it did not come under the said village anymore and insisted the station be named Raina.
The Bankura-Masagram is the only commuting train that runs through the station, six times a day. New passengers who alight at the station always remain clueless. It is only after enquiring from the locals that can one ascertain the exact location that one had arrived.
“It’s very strange that there is no name written on either side of the platform. Only after we got down, the locals at the station said they call this area Raina.” says Ravi, a passenger who had come from Gujarat.
Station master Nabakumar Nandi says the process of naming the station remains sub-judice as locals had challenged the decision of the railways in court.
“Villager went to the extent of moving the district court to have the name changed to Raina after the new station was built here. However, the court ruled against it citing various factors, so the station remains unnamed still,” Nandi says.
Nandi and his son live near the station complex and are in charge of the ticket counter. On Sundays when there are no trains at the station, Nandi travels to Burdwan town to fetch new tickets for sale at the station. Nandi says, the tickets continue to mention the station with its old name – Rainagar.
Villagers at Raina say they just have one request for Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu – to find a permanent solution to the dispute so that passengers do not have to search aimlessly for the name or get down at the wrong station.
“It’s strange how they haven’t been able to solve the issue. I hope they resolve it soon as it creates a lot of confusion for commuters,” says Rani Roy, who visits her cousins at the Raina village every month.
What’s in a name, many would say. But 200 metres and eight years down the line, it is that very name that continues to pull commuters back rather than taking them ahead from this station.