Mumbai's iconic railway station CSMT to shine once again
mid-day Impact: Days, after we highlighted how poorly maintained the heritage structures inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) were, officials begin restoration work at double the pace
Work includes restoring the original flooring with Victorian-style Minton tiles
Over 130 years after it was built, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) no longer goes by the name it was originally given - Victoria Terminus (VT) - but it will soon look the way it used to in its heyday. A month after mid-day highlighted how the heritage building's interiors had fallen into ruin, the Central Railway has finally sped up the restoration process, with a deadline of 2018-end.
The walls are finally getting a much-needed lick of paint, while the flooring has been restored with patterned Minton tiles
Just a month ago, mid-day had reported how the upkeep of the heritage building was just a façade, as the insides of the building had been allowed to rot. The rare teak staircases inside the terminus were crumbling with neglect, and two of them were being used as a dumping ground for old furniture. This, despite the authorities forming grand plans as far back as March, to bring the British-era building back to its full glory.
Work on in full swing
When mid-day visited the building yesterday, the project was finally on in full swing and the decaying base of the teak stairwells had been replaced. Work was on at all three floors, and this reporter spotted workers restoring the original flooring with Victorian-style Minton tiles. The walls were finally getting a much-needed whitewash. Truckloads of old cupboards and files were being discarded as part of the extensive clean-up operation. Most importantly, the ugly partitions and walls were finally being removed - this in itself, have the terminus the open and airy feeling it originally had.
An official involved with the project said that they intend to complete the work in a year, so citizens can expect to see the CSMT shining on the outside and inside by the end of 2018.
Sunil Udasi, chief spokesperson for CR, said, "The cash office on the ground floor of the building has been shut and moved along with all the staff. All the cabins and partitions have been removed, going back to the original state of the building. The teak stairwells have been restored and will soon glow like they did in the days of CSMT's creator, FW Stevens."
He added, "Not only this, we have decided to open the galleries on the bus depot side too, so that there will be free movement, although this area will remain restricted to the public."
Giving more details of the work, another official said, "On the ground floor, refurbishment work has started in the south-end wing, while on the first floor, the walls and wooden and metal panels of the roof are being restored. On the second floor, the Minton floor tiles have been restored, and as have the glorious teak stairwells. This time the building will be spruced up like never before."
You may also like - Throwback Thursday: When Mumbai CST was Victoria Terminus
>> Construction of the iconic building started in May 1878
>> It was completed in May 1888, at a cost of Rs 16 lakh
>> It was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site in July 2004 and has been acknowledged as one of the most photographed buildings in the country
>> The terminus now has 18 platforms
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