Port Trust Railway, R.I.P.

Amid the revelry that topped New Year’s Day and the aftermath, a date that probably went by unnoticed was in fact, a red-letter day as far as Mumbai’s transport history was concerned.

Close up of the Bombay Port Trust insignia on the Port Trust Memorial

No longer in operation, the Port Trust Railway was started on January 15, 1915. It ran parallel to the city’s port, docks and natural harbour and extended from the Port Terminus at Ballard Pier till Wadala Junction that formed the northern extremity of the Bombay (now Mumbai) harbour and Port limits.

The Ballard Pier became the point of arrival for foreign ships and its railway terminal nearby connected passengers entering the Indian sub-continent by rail via the Victoria Terminus.

An aerial view of Ballard Pier area where Port Trust Railway once stood

In fact, on scheduled mail steamer days, the Ballard Pier railway terminus was abuzz with activity, plying special trains to and from Calcutta, Peshawar and Delhi. Today, if one explores the Ballard Estate area, it’s easy to spot a few office of shipping companies that have survived from that era.

A walk down these parts, all the way up to the Port Trust Memorial (read the insignia on the structure) will give one a sense of the importance and relevance that the Railway and the area occupied in the city’s rise into Asia’s commercial hub. 

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