Mumbai's rare Scotland connect will be gone this morning

Updated: Mar 08, 2020, 07:57 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Foot overbridge at Vidyavihar station, declared unsafe in 2019, was made and imported from Lanarkshire, a county in Scotland.

Hammy Jardine, a former employee of Lanarkshire Steel Company, said the way brand's name was printed was done by cutting the letters into the last pair of rolls; (right) While records state that Vidyavihar station came up on August 16, 1961, sources said the bridge could probably be older
Hammy Jardine, a former employee of Lanarkshire Steel Company, said the way brand's name was printed was done by cutting the letters into the last pair of rolls; (right) While records state that Vidyavihar station came up on August 16, 1961, sources said the bridge could probably be older

A rare Mumbai connection with a county in Scotland will be severed on Saturday night with the Central Railway bringing down the hammer on one of the last few remaining foot overbridges made and imported from Lanarkshire, a historic county in the central Lowlands of Scotland.

"The old foot overbridge at Vidyavihar station will be brought down between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Work on the demolition will begin from 11.15 pm and continue till 3.15 am. A new bridge has already been built as a replacement," Central Railway chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said. Sources said that while some Lanarkshire-shipped structures continue to dot the railway line between Mumbai and Thane—the first railway section in India—the foot overbridge at Vidyavihar, whose date of construction remains unavailable, had remained one of the key relics, though it had no artistic or decorative elements, but a plain and practical design bridge.

While Central Railway records state that Vidyavihar station itself came up on August 16, 1961, sources said the bridge could probably be an older one at the site that would have existed here before the station came up and was later integrated into the station. The bridge was declared unsafe in the IIT audit of 2019 and hence was put on the demolition list.

Railway archives state that Lanarkshire Steel, Scotland, a company that started in 1897 as a public company in Scotland was nationalised in 1951 under the Iron and Steel Act to become part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain.

Other old structures from Lanarkshire steel include a smaller foot overbridge in Dadar, the popular Tilak Bridge in Dadar and the station structures at Bhandup station, all along the first line section.

This journalist had spoken to Hammy Jardine, then 83 years old, a former employee of Lanarkshire Steel Company, in 2013. Jardine said, "The way our brand could be read on rolled steel bars was in raised letters. The method used to create this was by cutting the letters into the last pair of rolls to form the final section, thus leaving the imprint of the brand. We had two girder shops at one time, where we fabricated buildings to modernise our own works. We also processed orders for private customers. We would get a direct order from a company in India, or a subcontractor, to manufacture railway material." He said the last workshop closed around 1955.

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