Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world. The architect was F.W. Stevens. Construction began in 1878 and took a decade to complete. It had the offices of Great Indian Peninsula Railway and now is the headquarters of Central Railway. CST has 18 platforms of which 7 are for local trains on the west side of the station and 11 are for long distance trains. The building has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2004.
On 26 November 2008, two terrorists entered the passenger hall of CST. They opened fire and threw grenades at people. The attackers tragically killed 58 persons and injured 104 others,
Central Railway conducts heritage tours of the building (Monday to Friday). Tickets cost Rs. 200. Students pay Rs. 100. Tours are not held on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Tickets can be bought at the entrance to Heritage Museum which is located to the right of the fore court. Please see the picture below. An ID proof will be necessary. There is no online booking. For more information, the contact number is +91 90 04 411438.
The tour lasts for about 60 minutes and is led by a knowledgeable guide It begins at the Heritage Gallery on ground floor. The route is as shown above. Photography and the use of flash are permitted. CST is the second most photographed monument in India, next only to Taj Mahal.
I found this replica of a steam locomotive on the corridor outside the museum. Steam locomotives have been replaced by diesel and electric locomotives. The exception probably is the line between Ghum and Darjeeling stations on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. I was reminded of the famous song Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu in the film Aradhana. The song was extensively picturised on the heritage train.
Glimpses of the history of Indian Railways can be seen in the museum. A model of the locomotive which was used in 1853 to haul India’s first train from Bori Bunder to Thane is exhibited here.
Among the exhibits is an advertisement by GIP Railway announcing the inauguration of Deccan Queen. The deluxe train was flagged off on 1 June, 1930. She was the first long distance electric-hauled passenger train in India. The Deccan Queen was the first to have a Ladies Only coach, and among the first to feature a dining car.
She now has eleven second class coaches, five AC chair car coaches and a dining car. The dining car has a restaurant-like seating arrangement. The travel from Mumbai CST to Pune is completed in 3 hours 15 minutes.
During the British Raj, the rail lines were owned by individual firms. In 1951, all the units were nationalised, leading to the formation of Indian Railways.
The railway lines had to pass through tough terrains. The first railway bridge in India over Thane creek was commissioned in 1854. Parsik Tunnel was completed in 1916. The tunnel is between Thane and Mumbra.
A cash box used in GIP Railway can be seen here. It is a wooden box with metal reinforcements. The box is in good condition even after the passage of many years.
A grandfather clock, made by John Walker & Company of London, is on display. This is a pendulum clock which had to be manually wound every week. When the railway lines were being laid in India in 1853, precision timekeeping devices were specifically bought from England.
The dining hall is spacious and air conditioned. The floor is laid with ceramic tiles. On one side are wooden bookcases which are filled with official-looking files and folders.
The video will give you an overview of the room. The hall has washrooms which may be used by the visitors.
On leaving the dining hall, we moved on towards the main gateway of the building. At the entrance are ornamental wooden doors. They are probably made of teak and have been maintained well.
You can read about the rest of my visit to CST in my next post.