Shalimar railway station is one of four railway stations serving Howrah and Kolkata, India; the others are Sealdah Station, in Kolkata, Kolkata Station in Kolkata and Howrah Station in Howrah. Shalimar station is situated in the Shalimar area of Howrah. It is located near Shibpur area of Howrah. It is one of the cleanest, most well-maintained and non-congested railway terminals in the Kolkata area.
The place where now the station is situated was formerly a very small rail station, and served by some diesel loco hauled trains. The present platforms were occupied by some goods lines. Those lines were a part of large Shalimar rail yard.
In 2000, the first plan was conceived to use this area as a bigger rail station. The rapidly growing long distance passengers were gradually overcrowding the Howrah station. Due to the limitation of space, new platform construction is restricted at Howrah. Although 3 new platforms (17, 22 & 23) were constructed at Howrah during 2006 – 2008, those were not sufficient. Side by side, due to its almost central position in Howrah, Howrah station is too busy for both suburban and long distance rail traffic. Unlike Sealdah Station, Howrah Station has less suburban trains than long-distance trains. Due to increasing of Eastern Railway trains, many platforms, which were previously built for South Eastern Railway trains, now often occupied by Eastern Railway trains. But many people of Howrah feel that it is much easy to catch a long distance train from Howrah than Sealdah, particularly in early morning and late night. But due to platform limitation, increasing the number of long distance trains was not possible from Howrah for South Eastern Railway.
To overcome this problem, South Eastern Railway suggested to Indian Railway officers to construct another bigger rail station at Howrah, mostly for long distance trains. The many underused tracks of Shalimar yard was the first choice of the authority.
Construction started from 2000. The construction of platforms, station buildings & car parking area were started. After the completion, other tracks were re-aligned. The tracks around platform were completely electrified for passenger coaches shunting. At first, only one express train started. This train stopped later and then other long distance trains started. From this time, diesel loco hauled trains were replaced by EMU trains, which started suburban services..
The station is served by the South Eastern Railway for trains to Amta, Haldia, Kanthi, Medinipur and others. The number of suburban trains is lower than long-distance trains. This station runs some long distance express trains to various destinations. There are two platforms, among them Platform 1 is used by only suburban trains, and Platform 2 is used by long-distance trains. The station is operated by the South Eastern Railway.
- Shalimar - Bhuj Weekly SF Express (Via Tatanagar-Bilaspur-Bairagarh (Bhopal))
- Shalimar Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express (Via Nagpur)
- Shalimar - Secunderabad Express (Via Bhubaneswar)
- Shalimar - Trivandrum Central Thiruvananthapuram Express
- Shalimar - Trivandrum Central - Nagercoil Gurudev Express
- Shalimar railway station - Gorakhpur Junction --- Shalimar (Howrah) Express
- Shalimar Puri Express
- Shalimar - Visakhapatnam Superfast Express
- Shalimar - Udaipur City Weekly Express
- Shalimar - Adra Rajya Rani Express
- Shalimar - Bhojudih Aranyak Express
- Shalimar - Patna Duronto Express
- Shalimar - Chennai Central Weekly SF Express
There is a taxi stand and a bus stand outside the station. The nearest tram terminus was formerly Shibpur, but it was closed in 1971. There are small eateries serving snacks on the platform and eateries serving lunch outside the station.
As a newest rail station, this station is not well connected by public transport. The most direct service to the station is taxi, which is not preferable by poor. Only two West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation's bus routes serve the station directly. Other buses run through College Road, which is 1 km away from the station. It is often impossible to walk this 1 km with heavy luggage for a commuter. Due to the lack of transport link, many people avoid this station. An irregular steamer service from Garden Reach is also present.
There is a plan to transfer part of the Howrah Station bus terminus to the front of the station, mainly for Kolkata bound routes, but nothing materialised.