So that Grade I heritage tag of Bandra station shines, Western Railway and BMC propose declutter plan, shifting auto stand
Often called the Queen of Suburbs, Bandra's cottage-lined lanes are given the perfect introduction by its 147-year-old railway station, which is a Grade I heritage structure in itself. Now, the station is set to get a revamp with the help of United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
However, in order to make the station stand out visually, authorities at Western Railway (WR) authorities have proposed to de-clutter the area around the station. This will involve shifting the auto rickshaw stands to outside the station area.
What’s going to change Sunday mid-day had a look at the blueprint:
a) Re-locating the auto stands WR and BMC authorities have decided to create an alternate space on the northern and southern end of the station where autos can drop passengers. This would be a walk from the current stand (right outside the station premises), and eliminates the need for autos to enter the station area.
In order to create space for the new stands, the authorities have proposed the demolition of Type I railway quarters on the south end (which will be rebuilt within Bandra itself), and of the record room on the northern end.
b) The skywalk that leads from Hill Road to the station will also get a landing near the auto stand.
c) The toilet that stands right next to Platform No 1, will get a touch of air-conditioning.
d) Once the station has been de-cluttered of autos, traffic and hawkers, WR has proposed aesthetic changes. The first is a rock garden right in front of the station. The have also planned to widen the pedestrian plaza, close to the ticket booking counter by six meters. "We will keep decorative grills and vintage wooden seats for people to sit," said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Western Railway.
At present, there is a gallery of sorts at the western end of the station which has a few paintings that portray the history of Bandra station and the suburb.
In mid-2015 the Indian Railways and UNESCO entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a revamp of Bandra station. As part of the study, a conservation plan was to be developed to restore the heritage building, as well as crate a strategic plan to redesign the surrounding public space, improve traffic flow, signage, create pedestrian paths, public amenities and cultural vibrancy. A 3D simulation and walkthrough of the main station building, highlighting the heritage aspects and unique features of architectural design too will be created.
In 2009, WR spent R63 lakh to restore the building, including replacing the existing roof with Mangalore tiles. Paint on the stations' wooden framework was removed and the original wood was polished. Stone masonry joints were refilled with lime mortar and the doors and windows were fixed.
Senior WR official
Our main concern was access to transport for commuters once they stepped out of the station. This is taken care of by relocating auto stands
Shashank Rao, Auto Rickshaw Union Leader
As long as people and auto drivers are not inconvenienced, we don't mind
Abha Lambah, conservation architect
Exactly 10 years ago, we had worked on a shoe string budget of R40 lakh to revamp the station. It is good that the railways is improving the surrounding area
Prakash Rohira, Bandra-based realtor
We are happy that the government is looking at providing more walking space.