Mumbai Central's old-world charm to make way for Metro-3 project

Plans have been finalised to remove gardens on both sides of its entrance, and relocate the engine on display, to commence work on a metro station

The Mumbai Central rail terminus greets people with two huge gardens on both sides of its entrance, and an old engine displayed there. But the picture will soon change. Metro-3 has threatened this beautiful landscape, as there are plans to do away with the gardens for a metro station. The engine called ‘Little Red Horse’ — which used to chug on the narrow gauge — too will be shifted.

The WR will be paid Rs 70-odd crore for parting with the land. It will be decided where to place this engine (below) that has charmed lakhs of commuters as they stop to look at a piece of Indian rail’s past. Pics/Bipin Kokate
The WR will be paid Rs 70-odd crore for parting with the land. It will be decided where to place this engine (below) that has charmed lakhs of commuters as they stop to look at a piece of Indian rail’s past. Pics/Bipin Kokate

For decades, the terminus entrance has had the beautiful, well maintained gardens on either side, and the engine since 1991 when the station celebrated its Platinum jubilee. But the gardens will go when the railway terminus celebrates its centenary. Sources said that there will be an underground station for Metro-3 right next to the Mumbai Central rail terminus.

A small portion of the gardens will be retained by the railways. The WR will be paid Rs 70-odd crore for parting with the land parcel.

“The formal transfer between the two agencies is complete on paper. Work is likely to begin by April 2016. We will decide where to shift the locomotive,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Western Railway. The final approval has been sent to the Railway Board in Delhi.

The narrow gauge locomotive on display, was manufactured in the year 1928 by M/s Kerr Stuart and Co. of England. The locomotives used to run on the Devgarh-Baria Railway Narrow Gauge line, which was owned by the Princely state of Devgarh-Baria. It was opened for traffic in 1929, and was merged into the BB&CI (Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway) in August 1949 and subsequently became part of Western Railway. “The railways should ensure that no damage is done to the locomotive and it is properly shifted,” said railway expert and author Rajendra Aklekar.

The locomotive was in service for 61 years, and was shifted to Pratapnagar workshop for shunting duties in 1990 and subsequently placed in front of Mumbai Central station in 1991 to commemorate its Platinum Jubilee.

It used to be illuminated in the night in the earlier days for public view.

MMRC’s plot for Metro
MMRC is taking land across 14 plots from the civic body, for the 33.5 km underground Metro-3 project. In actuality, 0.78 hectares of permanent BMC land and 5.3 hectares on temporary basis will be required for construction of Metro-3 which will have 27 stations. The permanent plots required will be at DN Road in Fort, J Tata Road at Churchgate, Hutatma Chowk and opposite Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi. These will be required for ventilation shafts, making entry/exit points and fire exits.

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