Oldest CSMT platform to be dismantled

Apr 12, 2018, 20:30 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

The Carnac Bunder siding, full of cobblestone flooring and cast iron pillars, had been virtually untouched over the decades

Workers demolish the British-era platform
Workers demolish the British-era platform

It was the end of an era, when one of the oldest platforms at Mumbai CSMT precinct, complete with cobblestone flooring, cast iron pillars and teakwood doors and interiors, belonging to the time of India's first railway company - the Great Indian Peninsula Railway - started being dismantled for newer railway projects.

CR has promised to salvage as many relics as possible for the heritage museum. Pics/Suresh Karkera
CR has promised to salvage as many relics as possible for the heritage museum. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Railway authorities have promised to salvage whatever they can from this old station and make it a part of the heritage gallery and proposed alley. Known as Carnac Bunder siding, that portion of the station had been virtually untouched by railway authorities for decades, and yet, it continues to stand sturdy - the entire section with a steam crane at one end had almost been stuck in a time warp.

Heritage museum

The railways has now repainted and revived the steam crane to be a part of a heritage museum, but the old station will be lost. Sources said it was in active use till the 1950s.

A slice of history
If old and new maps of the area are juxtaposed, these sheds are roughly located on the same site where the goods sheds of the original Bori Bunder station had been built, before the majestic world heritage building came up. The site of the goods sheds remained the same, though bigger sheds and platforms were built in the 1890s after the construction of Victoria Terminus.

The sheds that one sees today too are old and made of stone, high-pitched roof with antique fittings, built with construction techniques commonly used during the later part of the 19th century, including teakwood furnishings, large metal straps used to bind the six-framed huge doors, windows and vents, and old tracks with cast iron sleepers.

It has two platforms, now completely abandoned. The one adjoining P D'Mello Road - platform number 1 - has several bays at right angles for ferrying cargo by road transport, and the second one facing the west resembles a godown. The entire platform is made of cobblestone and once had various scales, sunk in pits. A rotten wooden board in one corner of the west-facing platform says 'Parcel to Ludhiana'. The rest of the text is illegible.

City's fortune entrances
City historian Deepak Rao lamented the fact that one by one relics were being lost, but appreciated the railways for agreeing to save mementos. "The docks and rail have a glorious transport history in Bombay. These were the places that once brought fortune to the city," he said. Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway, Sunil Udasi told mid-day that they will try and save as many relics from the old station siding as possible.

Also Read: Vintage, Aesthetic 'Spotlight' Around CSMT To Get Brighter

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