Lucknow, located on the banks of the Gomti River, is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh and a metropolitan city in the country. A city steeped in culture, Lucknow has always been in the forefront of north Indian cultural and artistic movements. The capital of the Awadh Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries, Lucknow retains its importance in the fields of governance, education and arts even today. It is now a leader in other fields like commerce, aerospace, technology, and tourism. Although Hindi is its main language, Urdu continues to be spoken widely.
Lucknow City has a number of railway stations such as Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station, Lucknow Junction Railway Station, Aishbagh, Lucknow City, Daliganj, Badshahnagar, Gomtinagar, Manaknagar, Malhour, Jugaur, Amausi, Alamnagar, Kakori, Malihabad, Mohibullapur, and Utretia. Extensive bus services and other public road transport connect all the stations with each other.
But Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station and Lucknow Junction Railway Station are two main railway stations:
The Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station : This station is also called Lucknow NR and its station code is LKO. The name comes from the Charbagh area in the southern part of the city, where it is located as the area earlier had four gardens. Lucknow is well-connected with important cities across the country through one of its two main stations.
Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station (LKO) has been constructed on a raised plinth and has several towers and circular Awadh-type domes. As many as 114 pairs of trains of the Northern Railway terminate or originate here. It is also the focal point of the Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway system.
The construction of the Charbagh railway station began in 1914 and was completed in 1923. The lovely building looks like a palace with a large garden in front. Its architecture is a blend of Rajput, Awadhi and Mughal styles. It is a unique building and is said that the aerial view of the Charbagh station looks like a chess board. The building’s domes and pillars seem to be the chess pieces. It is rated among the most beautiful stations in the country.
Charbagh Station is an architectural masterpiece and is one of the attractions of Lucknow. Tourists are greatly impressed as soon as they arrive. Designed by J.H. Hornimen, it cost Rs.70 lakh in those times.
The 47-mile Lucknow-Kanpur railway line became operational in 1867. It then was a part of the Oudh Rohilkhand Railway. The Lucknow division was under East Indian Railway till 1952. Before 1867, there was a large orchard on the land on which the Charbagh Railway Station stands. The impressive present building was built in 1926.
Lucknow Junction Railway Station : Lucknow Junction Railway Station, also known as NER with station code LIN, has six platforms. Two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws and cars can reach its platform No.6 by a cabway underpass. This is the third such cabway after Howrah and Gorakhpur railway stations.
The facilities available at Lucknow NR include waiting rooms, baggage room, dormitories or retiring rooms, refreshments and ATM. Counters and water coolers make pure drinking water available.
The Lucknow Junction NER is almost a continuation of the Charbagh station. People often think of it as an extension of the Charbagh railway station. People continue to call it the “Chhoti Line” as earlier it was the station for NE Railway’s meter gauge trains. Now in the Lucknow division of North Eastern Railway, it is the terminus for broad gauge trains of North Eastern Railway. The trains arriving here have to reverse the direction to leave the station even if the train is going beyond Lucknow. The Lucknow Junction NER station has a separate building made of red sandstone and has its own distinct identity.
As many as 22 pairs of express or mail trains, and 5 pairs of passenger trains start from, terminate at or pass through the LJN station every day, but none of these trains is a Rajdhani or Shatabadi.
Lucknow Junction NER was the meter gauge trains terminus for almost all tracks of North Eastern Railway zone earlier. After conversion to broad gauge, the Lucknow junction has no meter gauge tracks. Lucknow Aishbagh Junction is now the terminus for the remaining meter gauge trains services. The Aishbagh junction has broad gauge tracks too.
The work on the two-stage, Rs12500-crore Lucknow Metro is scheduled to start soon. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2016–17.