Thane: Historical railway lines face sure death by concrete

Updated: Jul 02, 2020, 07:42 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Historians push for conservation of half-a-century-old rail lines that used to lead to a jetty in Thane East

The railway lines found at Rambhau Mhalgi Road in Thane East may be lost to road concretisation. Pic/Sameer Markande
The railway lines found at Rambhau Mhalgi Road in Thane East may be lost to road concretisation. Pic/Sameer Markande

Over half-a-century-old rail lines found in Thane East are in the process of being concretised even as local history groups are pushing for their conservation given that Thane played host to India's first railway in 1853.

A railway official said these lines do not belong to the railways anymore but are a significant part of the city's history. The lines have been there since the time of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, which is the former name of Central Railway and once went to the jetty that stood there. However, they are not in any way connected to the first train or first line in Thane.

The remains of the single line sidings pass under a road divider today along what was then called the Mithbandar Road and is now named Rambhau Mhalgi Road. The path ends at an old cargo shed along the former jetty. When documented in 2010, the old wooden cargo shed had the remains of an iron weighing scale and cobblestone flooring. Today, the worn-out shed has collapsed and is forgotten like the city's railway history and old lines.

"The place also had a few old buried cannons which we salvaged recently," Thane historian Sadashiv Tetwilkar said. Local corporators and politicians also said they have requested the Thane Municipal Corporation to build some kind of a memorial for this station and save parts of the rail if possible.

"There were 12 large cannons from the British period half-buried here. They were being used to anchor small boats and ships in Thane creek. We restored them on a platform nearby Koliwada. Work was led by Dr Sachin Joshi of Deccan College, Pune, with the help of TMC and Koliwada Jamat Trust with permissions from the Maritime Board, State Archaeology Department & TMC, etc, executive body member of Konkan Itihas Parishad, Pravin Kadam, said.

Thane Mayor Naresh Maresh Mhaske said he will try and see if they can be salvaged. "We will examine the location and see what can be done about this," he said.

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