British-era railway treasures being reduced to ruins finally find new home in Mumbai
Thanks to mid-day's intervention, relics belonging to India's first rail company, which were discovered in Bhandup and Mumbra, find a place in CSMT's heritage gallery
mid-day impact The British-era relics found at Bhandup and Mumbra railway stations won't be reduced to ruins. Following mid-day's front-page report on November 11, Central Railway has decided to save these and find them a place of pride at an exhibit in the heritage gallery at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).
The GIPR brackets found at Bhandup station, now at CSMT
These hidden gems are being inducted into the exhibit thanks to CR's general manager DK Sharma, a heritage enthusiast himself, who pursued the matter to the logical end after mid-day highlighted their discovery.
Of immense value
"The relics have been safely brought here and will now be cleaned up, treated and kept on display at the heritage gallery among the other artefacts. It was quite a task to transport them, as they are genuine old ironwork. But the things are of immense value as they are parts of the first railway company and central pieces of India's railway history," Sunil Udasi, chief PRO, CR told mid-day. The heritage gallery at CSMT is a ticketed museum open on weekdays for public.
The Victorian-era safe found at Mumbra at the CSMT gallery
From the relics, the ones brought in from Bhandup include brackets of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company (GIPR), the pioneering rail company in India that was later renamed Central Railway. The wrought iron brackets have the logos of GIPR on them. Back in 1853, India's first passenger train made a brief halt at Bhandup.
While Mumbra was sans brackets, it did contain an all-weather and sturdy Victorian-era Tucker and Reeves wall safe, embedded in the station building's structure, which was found intact even after the building was partially brought down. The booking office safe used to be an important feature of the building and was in use till almost 20 years ago, before the new booking office and computerisation came up.
The demolitions were carried out as the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is building a new footover bridge at Mumbra while in Bhandup, the old building was brought down as a new, elevated booking office was built at the site.